Search engine optimization is one of the more complicated marketing tactics in your inbound marketing program. What makes it complicated is Google and the other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to make search more user friendly.
Local search is a great example of this constantly changing environment. Most business owners, CEOs and marketing professionals have a hard time keeping up with the changes. Most marketing experts are working overtime to stay in tune with all the changes.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you work on getting found on Google and the other search engines.
1. Local search has to start with your Google Places page. This is an excellent tool to get people to your site locally. Not only will your website rank, but it will rank quickly and in Google’s Local Listings page. This gives you more visibility and an inbound link.
2. Use location keywords. This tactic is actually controversial. The information on this is constantly changing. Google has made changes to its search engine so that it now recognizes where you are and provides results without you having to use what we call, “geographic modifiers” like “car wash philadelphia.” If you are in Philadelphia and you search for just “car wash” you are going to get the same results. However, most of the users don’t know this and still search with the geo modifiers—which means it’s still valid to optimize for these keywords. I know—it’s confusing.
3. Focus on smaller geographic areas too. It’s going to be harder to rank for anything with Philadelphia than it's going to be to rank for other areas like Bucks County or Drexel Hill. Don’t skip optimizing on the larger geography, but include the local community keywords too.
4. Set up a blog. You can use different geographic keywords in your blog, rotating around your geographic targets over time. This will help your site index and rank for multiple search areas.
5. Get reviews. Remind your customers that reviews are important. Google+, Yelp and Trip Advisor are key sites and Google is placing a high value on reviews.
6. Don’t keyword stuff your site. Whatever search engine optimization tactics you are adding to your inbound marketing program, don’t let them interfere with the ability of your visitors to read your site or connect with your company.
7. Consider back-end tools like automation software or content management systems. Most tools have wizards and online screen prompts that enforce the use of keywords in the meta tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, image tags and even blog titles.
8. Use keywords in your URL extensions. In addition to the topic of the page, include the location modifiers in your URL extensions for an extra search bang. For example, if you are an IT consultant in Pittsburgh, PA your URL might look like www.ABCITConsulting.com/it-consulting-pittsburgh-pa.
9. Practice the same approach for page names. Page names should read similarly to the url extensions. In our example below, the page name for this page should be Pittsburgh PA IT Consulting. Since these words are visible to the searcher, it should catch their attention when they are doing a search for this type of service.
10. Include location and keywords in your subtitles too. Headings are one of the biggest influencers on local search engine optimization, so make sure the header and subhead of your individual website pages includes keywords with the specific locations.
While local search engine optimization is more complex than ever before. These tips will help your business get found more quickly, especially where local search is important. Remember: getting found is the first and most important step in generating leads for your business. If your prospects can't find you, they can't hire you.
Start Today Tip – Run a few searches for your business. Are you getting found? If not, start with the list above. Make one change a week for the next two months and your business will start to see a change. Local search is one of the more dynamic tactics. This means changes you make today could help you be found tomorrow. Other search tactics like on-site and off-site SEO typically take longer to impact results.
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