SEO for Local Businesses
92% of Google searchers only click Page 1 results. You need to be there.
Search engine optimization (SEO). It is a series on-going efforts to ensure your website ranks high on the results pages of search engines. The majority of searches are on Google. Bing, Yahoo and handful of others also provide search results. Quality SEO will increase your rankings across these search engines.
People search for almost anything they're looking for personally and professionally. If your business isn't on the first page of their search, they’ll find your competitors.
The search engines do not give specific details on their ranking algorithm. Google provides guidance in periodic news releases that covers a number of factors outlined below.
In May, 2019, Google launched a series on their YouTube channel called: SEO Mythbusting. While it is clear a multitude of factors contribute to the ranking, the three top ranking factors are:
We measure the strength of your website against these factors and address any weaknesses so you can climb to the top of Google results.
Marketing you're already doing may help increase your rank on Google.
We synchronize your marketing so it pulls double duty by bringing in new customers and increasing your rank on Google and other search engines. We make sure your marketing works in tandem with the SEO strategy to bring you effective results.
Our philosophy is to build the strength of your website so your business acquires the most leads in your niche by being on page 1 of the search results. All marketing should feed into this strategy to increase the results.
Bringing New Customers To Your Door
Local SEO drives your website to the top of local Google results listings. Your business requires geographically targeted traffic to reach customers in your market. We put into place the correct location signals so Google and the other search engines use your geographic location when feeding search results listings.
Links from local authoritative websites and keywords are queued for geographic location as well as social media profiles and reviews. Each is synchronized so your website is honing in on your target geographic market.
We check your website's traffic sources to evaluate for accuracy and delivery. Citations and links signal the search engines of your location. Optimizing your presence on Google My Business, Google Plus and Google Places is another powerful signal for geography. The keyword strategy for your website will pair your keywords with location.
Local SEO efforts are focused on building consistent, reliable signals for the search engines. We have some other elements in our internal strategy but these tactics lay the foundation for local SEO. Your website is presented as a powerful local presence and your page rank will increase in local search results.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is used to bring visitors to websites from search engines. It is a series of tactics to make your website more readable, more clearly defined, and best able to match search requests through relevant content, keywords and authoritative links. Search engines use spiders to crawl the internet to "read" and analyze every web page.
Websites that are the best match and highest quality for the search are ranked at the top of the results. Also factored in are how popular and relevant the websites are among hundreds of other variables. The spiders then rank the pages and present them as a list in the search results.
"Old" vs. "New" SEO
SEO originally focused on page structure to integrate targeted keywords and efforts to acquire massive backlinks. As Google evolved, and caught onto some of these SEO tactics, their ranking factors began to focus on a good user experience.
New SEO focuses on providing a better World Wide Web through content that offers value to the reader, backlinks through relationship building and short and long tail keywords that occur naturally in the content.
What's The Secret Sauce?
Google and the other search engines have their own algorithm to sort search results. They do not share their ranking algorithm with anyone. SEO is a process of preparing your website for when search engines "crawl" your site to understand its content and rank its relevancy, trust and authority.
Recently, search results ranking factors focus more on:
SEO professionals are guided by the best practice guidelines provided by the search engines and draw from experiences with various techniques. Our goal is to use the most effective practices to get website to rank as high in the search results as possible for as many keyword searches as possible.
How Long Does it Take for Results?
The competitiveness of your niche and population of your location play a key role in the timeframe to see ranking changes. Quality SEO work takes time to prepare and to be read by the search engines.
Citations are one of the very first items we will complete. This takes one to three weeks to identify the sources we want to target, get an account set up for you with each source and upload the data. A few prominent sources want to do mail or phone verification. Data aggregators have schedules for uploading external data and then pushing out to directories. Directories have their own schedule for listing updates. And the search engines have their own timetable for crawling.
Results also depend on the competitiveness of your keywords. Ranking for "plumber" will take longer than "plumber disposal repair johns creek" which may only take a month or so.
And results depend on the scope of work to be done. If you are in a competitive niche where a lot of website content is needed, video creation for a video strategy and very specific link connections, it could take months to create all of the assets required and build relationships with those authoritative sites.
Generally, 3 to 6 months is a general timeframe for SEO results to show but we'll offer more specifics when we outline your custom strategy.
SEO techniques implemented on the website itself are referred to as "on-page" optimization.
Short Tail & Long Tail Keywords
Keyword targeting is a critical component of SEO and has evolved to include longer keyword tails to search. With growing familiarity with Google, users are more demanding. Now instead of searching for "Italian Restaurant" people search "Italian Restaurant Frutti di Mare".
We conduct comprehensive research to ensure all keywords and phrases are found to build an effective keyword strategy of short and long tail keywords.
We'll analyze your top competitors to identify their keywords, review your current website keywords and use Google Analytics to develop a keyword strategy. We never skimp on due diligence. We seek out keyword variations that get the highest number of searches as well as those with decent traffic but low competition. Effective SEO requires thorough, detailed activity but we know that hard work pays off in SEO. We provide monthly reports on keywords and their ranking changes so we can measure effectiveness.
Google has caught onto stuffing keywords into titles and tags and this is often penalized. Providing rich content that naturally incorporates interesting and searched-for terms provides information of interest to your visitors and demonstrates authority to the search engines. Building rich content and using keywords as a secondary method to confirm headlines is a more natural read for the search engines. And effectively disperses keywords throughout the website.
Google states that content is one of the three top ranking factors for its search results. In-depth content provides a natural path to long tail keywords. Providing useful, relevant content for users is rewarded by the search engines. Read more in our Content section.
Solid URL Structure
A shallow link structure makes a site highly crawlable and maximizes the value of rich content. We will create a website hierarchy for you that has logical flow and balance which is favored by search engines.
A hierarchy is the organization for your website content that includes titles, categories/sub-categories, internal links and keywords using good Information Architecture practices. This helps search engine crawlers and visitors understand your website and find what they are looking for.
The crawler's goal is to find information so they can return it in search results but they must understand what it is first. Search engines can access, crawl, index and return data faster with a strong internal structure.
Effective SEO requires thoroughness and attention to detail. We take the time to ensure every step is undertaken with the highest standards and all work is completed by hand, not by a software program.
These steps include:
No one can promise this. Google's algorithm has over 200 factors and never reveals their algorithm metrics. But our techniques use Google's highest factors for ranking and will give you the best opportunity to get there.
Get To Page 1 of Search Results
Organic results are highly regarded because they occur naturally. Our goal is to get your website to page one, so you can be in the prime search engine real estate. We look at your website's digital strengths and weaknesses and those of your competitors. We search for gaps in keywords, targeting and other factors to enable you to dominate. We'll target these opportunities through SEO tactics to bring you to page 1 organically.
Google Map Pack
You'll find the Map Pack in a squared-off section above organic listings. Typically 3 to 5 listings depending on the city and niche, it is highly competitive. Google properties, citations and reviews play a large role in which websites are included.
This is another area in which we'll make sure you compete. We'll give you an assessment of what it will take to get there by looking at your competitors already in the Map Pack. We'll assess their level of SEO strategy engagement to measure what it will take to surpass them.
Google is exploring making one of the placements in the Map Pack paid. We've seen examples of this in the plumbing and HVAC niches in California. Organic listings are the best placement because they occur "naturally" and are highly regarded. There is a place for paid ads and with the right message at the right time, this can have a high rate of return. But you need to have a strong website that converts in place before advertising can achieve its maximum effectiveness.
Whether or not they move in this direction, it only makes organic listings more valuable. All the more reason to give your website a strong foundation to compete.
Is SEO On-Going?
Google makes hundreds of tweaks to its algorithm each year. Some are major with a significant impact on search results.
In addition to keeping up with Google and other search engine algorithm changes, we also monitor what your competitors are doing to try to outrank you. Additional strategies may be required to compete with a large link strategy or other SEO strategy.
After we've achieved ranking goals, keeping the strength behind that SEO is important to maintaining your rank and maintaining your competitive advantage.
We'll provide an outline of strategies and tactics so you know each month what is being done to increase leads for your business. Monthly reports will track keyword ranking charts as well as other factors relevant to your custom strategy. You can call us anytime for questions. We are business owners ourselves and know the importance of client responsiveness. We do not hold you to a contract so you can choose to discontinue services for any reason. But don't lose your momentum.
We produce quality work and know the success of our outcomes. We think you will be so pleased with the results you'll not only want us to continue working for you but help your friends as well!
SEO techniques implemented off of the website are referred to as "off-page" optimization.
The name, address and phone number (NAP) of your business needs to be listed consistently in as many relevant places as possible on the internet. Think of these listings as "votes" from directories, social media and other informational sources that provide confirmation of your business and its relevancy. Learn more in our Citations section.
Google made a strong statement about the need for quality links to your website with the Penguin update. Websites with spammy links were penalized with lower rankings. Google stated that links are one of three top factors contributing to search ranking results.
We build relationships with quality websites that are educational and informational and are strong backlink sources. A significant amount of time and quality work is needed to contribute articles and blogs relevant to a client's website niche including forum postings and business reviews. We build these relationships so we can provide articles and posts to promote our clients and obtain links for them. Read more in our Authoritative Links section.
Reviews not only influence buying decisions they also signal search engines that your website is active. To have consistent signals moving between your website and the review platforms creates strong links and content which is evaluated during the search engine crawls.
We'll choose different review platforms based on your input and existing review pool. Depending on your niche and competition, we'll set up the most appropriate platforms and integrate any reviews you've already obtained.
We offer an easy to use tool to streamline review management that we can set-up for you.
Site navigation plays an important role in the value search engines place on each page of your site. The more often a page is linked within your website, the more Page Rank flow it has and the higher it will rank in the search engines. We put into place a solid navigation for your site according to Best Practices 2018.
We'll conduct an audit of your website's internal structure to make sure your website is sending the search engines the best signals. We'll be checking for site speed, domain health and broken page links. We may find calibrations our web developer can easily address or if you want your web developer to tackle these issues, we'll communicate with them.