Technology is always changing, and your business needs to evolve with it. It can be hard to stay abreast of the ever-shifting tech landscape. In the past three years, alone, changes to Google search algorithms have changed the game for local businesses. Google users don’t have to include their whereabouts in the search bar these days – coffee houses “near me” suffices. Now, it is simpler than ever to locate businesses, items, and services nearby.
These three starting points for local SEO strategy are impactful elements. Integrating them into your business’s webpage will ensure your local SEO strategy is on point.
1. Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
These elements sound deceptively complex. In reality, they are just tech-talk for the underlined blue header (title tags) and subsequent description snippet (meta descriptions) you see on a search engine results page (SERP).
Title tags and meta descriptions are coded into your site by developers specifically to be read by search engines. When formatted correctly, they will boost the effectiveness of your local SEO campaign. Title tags should be between 40 and 50 characters, and meta descriptions max out at 160 characters. It is imperative you preview changes in title tags and meta descriptions to ensure all text is visible. If your text is cut off by ellipses, reword and shorten your text to adhere to best practices. Utilize tools like Yoast’s SEO plugin or SEOmofo to get a glimpse of how your title and description will appear in SERPs before publishing.
Search engine crawlers are only one consideration in creating titles and meta descriptions. Search engine users – potential visitors to your site – are the other major population to cater to. The best titles will include the keyword(s) your business is aiming to rank for, but also the locality of your business’s offerings. For example, this blog would also rank well with the title “Local SEO services in Chicago”, but might not promise interesting enough content for users to click through to. For this reason, it’s important to craft titles and meta descriptions for your local SEO campaign with the human condition in mind.
2. Targeted Keywords PLUS Geotags
Targeted keyword research is at the heart of every good SEO campaign – local or otherwise. Masterfully selected keywords can not only generate substantial organic traffic to your business’s site, but also increase your ranking in SERPs. So, what makes the best keywords for your business? Those which represent words and phrases your potential customers are most likely to use to find the goods or services your business provides.
Specific to local SEO strategy are geo-modified keywords – names of places or locations – paired with terms associated with your business. A gastropub in Chicago would want to target the keywords “bar” “beer” and “restaurant” along with “Chicago”. This increases the odds those searching for “bars in Chicago” as well as Chicagoans searching “bars near me” would see the pub on the SERP.
Not all keywords are created equal, so it is worthwhile to take the time to select the proper keywords for your business. First, brainstorm terms customers might associate with your business or product/service offerings. Then enter them into a service like Google Keyword Planner or Keyword.io for related keyword suggestions. You will also receive information on each keyword’s monthly search traffic data.
3. Local Structured Data
(Image Credit : fslocal.com)
Similar to title tags and meta descriptions, structured data – also known as “schema markup” – are coded into your website to give the user a more detailed picture of a webpage. The more data-rich a page’s preview on SERPs, the higher the click-through rate. For example, in-depth schema markup might include information on the price range of your products or services ($$), customer reviews (5/5 stars), number of reviews, etc. You can also categorize your business type, list upcoming event dates, and highlight your location. As you can imagine, this last optimization option is particularly useful for local SEO.
Research shows less than a third of websites are capitalizing on the value-adding information structured data brings to any local SEO campaign. Thus, integrating schema markup will set your business apart from competing business pages. Structured data results will draw eyes to a different kind of content than the 70% of results with basic title tags & meta descriptions. Additionally, Google sees the value in schema markup, and is rewarding pages that implement it. Local structured data will increase your ranking by helping search engine crawlers better understand the content of your website. In turn, search engines will be able to better tailor SERPs to a user’s query.
Take a look at Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to find out if your business’s website has integrated schema markup.
These local SEO tips are most overtly directed at and effective for brick-and-mortar businesses. However, these SEO rules still apply to you even if your business is an e-commerce-only shop.
Digital marketing data suggests as many as 1 in 3 search engine queries are regarding something or someone in the user’s vicinity. This uptick in local interest is a major opportunity for local businesses to make more sales and gain new customers. If handled correctly. Make sure your company’s site is optimized to take advantage with a local SEO campaign.
Contact KitelyTech today to discuss the details of how we can add value to you and your online business.
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Featured Image Credit : Sangfroidwebdesign.com