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Where to Be in 2021: Conferences & Events to Improve Your Local Marketing


<br /> Where to Be in 2021: Conferences & Events to Improve Your Local Marketing – Whitespark



7 Ways Local Businesses Can Improve Website SEO


Anyone who runs an online business needs to get to grips with search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of working to make your website rank more highly in results pages on search engines such as Google. There are a few strategies you can use to help your site rank better in local search results. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can improve your website SEO through simple WordPress improvements.

Why is ranking well for local search queries so important? According to Business Wire, 67% of Americans prefer to shop with local businesses where possible. Additionally, an estimated 46% of all Google searches have local intent.

Speaking anecdotally, I have seen the importance of local search results first-hand. 80-90% of the business for my web design agency, Lform Design, comes from within our home state of New Jersey. 

Website design makes a big difference in your SEO performance due to a number of factors that we’ll look at in more detail. Fortunately, with a bit of know-how, it’s not hard to create a local SEO-friendly site.  

Have I convinced you? Read on to learn a few easy web design and SEO-boosting tricks that can be applied to WordPress sites in order to give your business a leg up in local SEO boost. 

How Does Web Design Impact SEO?

Whether you’re building your own website or working with an agency, the sooner you get your head around the fundamentals of SEO, the better. Many website owners make the mistake of only thinking about SEO once their site is up and running. However, web design can have a significant impact on SEO if you bear it in mind from the start.

There’s one main reason for this: Google prioritizes sites that are user-friendly. Good web design makes it easy for both search engine crawlers and human users to navigate through your site. Therefore, you should prioritize navigability and user-friendliness at every stage of your website design process. 

Website design factors vary from page load speed to the domain name you choose. Each factor can all have a substantial impact on your SEO, for better or worse.  And, since online businesses and company websites can live or die by their SEO, you’ll want to make sure the impact is positive.

It’s worth taking a look at Google’s Core Web Vitals to learn about these factors in more depth.

How to Improve Your Website Design for a Local SEO Boost

Fortunately, there are several ways to optimize your site for SEO, either at the point of design or by making amends later. Today, we’ll look at seven strategies that specifically relate to local SEO. 

Let’s get started!

1. Optimize Your Homepage

Perhaps the easiest way to optimize your website for SEO purposes is to start with the content on your homepage. This will be where most of your website visitors land when they first arrive at your site, so you must make sure it’s up to the task. 

Your homepage can achieve two important SEO goals:

  • Attract local searchers to your site
  • Keep them on your site longer, reducing your bounce rate

Your homepage should clearly tell your website visitors who you are and what you do. Since you are aiming to attract local searchers, you should be sure to mention your location prominently on your homepage. In addition, it should clearly signpost visitors to help them find the page they need on your site. 

Here’s an example:

Local website homepage example

This is the homepage for Palmer, an advertising agency in San Francisco (and one of the top Google results for the search term “ad agency San Francisco”). Notice how it clearly states what the company is and does, references geographical location in a prominent place, and contains a descriptive menu to help customers find whatever they need. 

2. Make the Most of Metadata

Meta tags are small bits of data about a web page embedded in the page’s HTML.

Sound complicated? Don’t worry, it’s fairly simple and you don’t need any coding knowledge. The easiest way to insert metadata on each of your pages or posts is to use the Yoast SEO plugin, available through WordPress.

Since you’re focusing on optimizing your site for local SEO, your metadata should include a reference to your business’s geographical location. This will tell search engines where you’re located and increase your chances of showing up in local results.

Here’s an example of how working with Metadata in the Yoast plugin looks: 

Yoast SEO Plugin Screenshot

Remember to optimize the metadata for each page on your website. If you have a blog (which you should!), then optimize the tags on each post, too. 

Remember though, tags aren’t just for search engines. Make sure you’re only using a select few tags to group information, rather than spamming them.

3. Use Local Business Schema

Schema, also known as structured data markup, is a kind of code that you can add to each page of your website to tell search engines what the page contains. There is a particular subcategory called local business schema that can have an impact on local SEO. 

Not sure if you have schema on your site? Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check:

Google's Structured Data Testing Tool

You can add numerous different fields to your local business schema. At a minimum, I recommend that you add:

  • Company name
  • Contact information, including telephone number and business email address
  • Physical address
  • Opening hours
  • Company logo
  • A short description of what you do

You can always add more at a later date if you wish. You can also add schema to separate product or service pages. For local SEO purposes, you’ll likely want to focus on local business schema.

4. Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

When I started my custom web design and development agency in 2005, we didn’t think or talk much about mobile-friendly website design. In those days, few people had internet-enabled mobile phones. However, the way we use the internet has changed beyond recognition in the last 15 years. 

Approximately 10.5% of web traffic worldwide came from mobile devices by 2010. In 2020, that figure stood at around 50%. That means that mobile-friendly web design is no longer an afterthought or a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity. By the end of the year, Google will have switched all websites to mobile-first indexing, which means the mobile version of a site will be even more important than the desktop version when it comes to search rankings. 

Mobile-friendly website design is particularly important for those businesses targeting a local market. Why? Because people are extremely likely to search for relevant local businesses using their mobile devices while they are on the go. What’s more, 88% of consumers who do a local search from a smartphone visit a relevant local business within 24 hours. 

The data speaks for itself: you cannot hope to promote your website effectively in local searches if your site is not optimized for mobile users. A high-quality responsive design will ensure your site renders well on all devices. 

5. Ensure Your Site is Fast and Easy to Use

Did you know that 40% of internet users will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less? That’s an enormous amount of traffic and prospective custom you’re missing out on if your website is slow to load! A slow site can also seriously harm your search rankings.

In the context of local SEO, a slow site can destroy your chances of getting a spot in the coveted Google 3-pack

Here are some of my top tips to help you speed up your site and keep your rankings intact: 

  • Choose a great, SEO-friendly hosting service. If you can afford it, dedicated hosting is a better option than shared. 
  • If you mostly want to attract local traffic, choose a local server. This will reduce server response time and speed up your site. Another option is to use a content delivery network (CDN). 
  • Compress images to the appropriate size. You can use a plugin like WP Smush to do this without losing image quality.
  • Optimize your site scripts and remove any that are unnecessary. Plugins like Asset Cleanup are great for this. 
  • Keep your content management system, themes, and any plugins updated. 

As a rule of thumb, I suggest aiming for a loading time of under 200ms for your site across the board. 

Top tip: You can use a free tool like Google Lighthouse to check your site pages’ load times and more key info.

6. Optimize Your Content for Local Search Intent

Creating a steady stream of great content on your website, such as through a blog, has a significant positive benefit when it comes to SEO. If you want to target local customers, make an effort to create local content

Here’s an example. I wrote this post on the Lform Design blog about the best web design companies in New Jersey:  

Local content blog

As a direct result of this post, Lform Design is now the first organic result on a Google search for terms like “best NJ web design”. 

Remember, you can also mention your geographical location in posts that don’t have a specific local theme, as long as it fits in organically. Here’s how we did it recently:

Local content example

This post is about web design amid the challenges of COVID-19. However, it was easy to include a reference to our specific location in a way that fits organically into the piece. 

7. Ensure Your NAP Data is Included

NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. In other words, your business’s contact information. Many businesses include their NAP data in their website footer, but you can go a step further than that. Why not have a separate “Contact Us” or “How to Find Us” page? If you have multiple locations, use a page for each location. 

Here’s how Figment, a design agency based in London, does it: 

Website NAP

NAP on a local business website

The company displays the full address of each of its locations in the website footer, and then also has a separate page for each. 

If you want to use NAP data effectively for local SEO, you must ensure it is consistent. How does your data appear on your website and in your Google My Business listing? It must be identical everywhere. 

Fortunately, Google and search engines have gotten smarter about NAP, recognizing that St. = Street, for example. If in doubt, cross-reference your website and listings with a list of accepted abbreviations

Conclusion

Robust SEO is vital if you want to run a successful online business, and never more so than for businesses targeting local customers. Since such a significant percentage of Google searches have a local intent, you’re likely missing out on a lot of business if you don’t put concerted efforts into local SEO. 

You don’t need to be an SEO expert to lift your business higher in the rankings, though. You just need to understand the basics and apply a few important strategies rigorously. Start with the tips I’ve laid out for you here and you’ll be off to a flying start.

Good luck!



4 Key Tips to Improve SEO for Hotels – ShoeMoney

SEO for Hotels
Guest takes room key card at check-in desk of hotel, close up

Marketing in the hospitality industry is a very competitive task, not only are you up against other local hotels, but you are also fighting for space on the Google results page. According to research, only 0.78% of Google searchers click on the second page of the search results, which means that you need to rock at SEO for hotels, or else you are missing out on potential customers! 

SEO for the hospitality industry is a bit tricky, as you have to know how to excel at both local SEO and international SEO tactics. It is one thing to attract local customers, and it is even better if you can draw in people from around the world.

The problem is, how does SEO for hotels work? Why is it different than marketing for other types of businesses?

Thankfully, we’ve created this article to teach you how to sharpen up your SEO for hotels skills, so you can convert more sales and stay busy. Keep on reading to learn more.

1. Know Your Audience

While it may seem like it, marketing for hotels is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Different hotels have different atmospheres and offer something unique to only a certain crowd. The tourism industry is worth over $1.6 billion, and there is no shortage of clients, so narrowing down on your audience will help you to bring in the right crowd.

For example, if your hotel offers fun activities and parties, then you need to narrow your SEO to target millennials. If you have luxury rooms, you need to target customers who are CEOs and high-class travelers. If you are marketing for a resort, you need to target families and offer vacations. 

2. Use All Forms of Keywords

Keywords are a crucial component of SEO for the hospitality industry, as there are endless ways people search for hotels. Begin by doing a Google search of your hotel area, and jotting down all the related search terms that show up.

Then do some research and include all the long-tailed keywords that align with your hotel. For example, instead of “hotel in Miami”, it could be, “nice hotels near the beach in Miami”. By including all forms of keywords including words and phrases, you are ensuring you are not missing out on any potential customers.

3. Optimize Your Title and Descriptions

Your blog titles, page titles, meta-descriptions, and URLs are very important for optimizing your hotels’ SEO. All of these components must include your primary keywords, location of your hotel, and feel enticing to click on. 

The meta description should be friendly, descriptive, and straight to the point. You do not have many characters, so keep it short and answer any possible questions your audience may have.

4. Use Local SEO Techniques 

Marketing for a hotel must include local SEO techniques to draw in your audience. Some of these techniques include:

  • Listing your hotel in the local business directories
  • Ensuring the hotel is updated in Google My Business
  • Including keywords with the names of your local areas
  • Using social media to include locations for visitors
  • Work with your local community
  • Ask for reviews, especially on Google

All of these techniques will help you to rock your local hotel SEO, so you can raise awareness for the hotel and draw in more customers.

Learn More About SEO For Hotels

There you have it! By following this creative SEO for hotels guide, you are on your way to a busier tourist season. 

To learn more SEO and marketing tips like these, check out the marketing section of our blog. 

5 Ways to Improve WordPress SEO


If you’re running an online platform, there’s a high probability that WordPress is your content management tool, which puts you in one of the largest user groups in the online world. Since most of the SEO score marks depend on various content attributes, it’s important to learn as much as possible about WordPress SEO tools and features that allow you to improve your score.

In this article, we are going to inspect five different ways to improve global SEO results for WordPress-based websites.

Recommended read: Best WordPress Hosting Providers

Carry Out Astute Keyword Research

The most important element of your SEO endeavors is the keyword strategy. You should dig online for chat rooms and forums that attract your user group to understand how they communicate, what issues they face regarding your business interests, and create a keyword strategy based on humans rather than computer algorithms.

Pay attention to keywords that work for your competitors, as well as those a little above your current rank. You can use Sitechecker ranking checker to analyze, not only keywords, but competition rank, long-tail keywords that bring the most value, and many other SEO parameters. If you are not sure how to add keywords in WordPress, there’s a wide spectrum of methods and plug-ins you can use to implement a holistic keyword strategy through the WordPress dashboard.

Review and Optimize Your Theme in WordPress

The choice of the theme has a strong influence on WordPress search engine visibility rate such as load speed, bounce rate, mobile-friendliness, all of which can be easily avoided if we follow SEO best practices and perform a full analysis of our website theme performance and design status. WordPress dashboard offers a series of settings and maintenance tools that allow you to easily, without technical knowledge, adjust your theme to its full capacity and make it lightweight, fast, easy to navigate, and well-structured.

A fully optimized theme mitigates bounce rate elements caused by a broken plug-in, poor visibility on mobile, or slow loading speed.

Optimize your site for speed

There may be some old images you used during past campaigns or leftover plug-ins you rarely use. All this extra content draws back your website speed because it takes more time for the server to load all the images and plug-ins. However, the advent of HTTP/2 protocol allows us to increase the data transfer rate from server to client through the exchange of nothing but essential information packs and a series of features that benefit the speed of your website.

Avoid large image sizes, compress your graphics to a web-friendly format, or use embedded links for videos to diminish the strain on your hardware infrastructure.

Recommended read: How Does Web Hosting Affect SEO

Write good content and write often

It’s not enough to get people to click on your link and leave faster than it took them to get there, which is a Black Hat SEO strategy called clickbait content. In this WordPress SEO tutorial, we’ll observe nothing but White Hat techniques, so our advice is to create such content that brings value to your audience. Make your posts informative and well-written so that everyone could understand the message you wish to convey. Analyze your audience’s interests, goals, and common challenges and show them through blog posts how your brand can help them overcome different challenges or improve their everyday lives and businesses.

It’s also very important to write regularly but don’t consider you should publish five posts per day to get positive results. Two or three long-form blog posts with detailed and well-structured narrative enriched by images, graphs, and other appropriate content to substantiate your claims. This is a direct road towards the establishment of authority within the community.

Set your categories and tags correctly

When search engines index your content, they act the same as users and look for information that explains what a certain page is about. It’s of utmost importance to keep your meta tags descriptive and the crawling process fast to score a high crowability score with search engines. WordPress user interface allows seamless categorization, which allows search bots to scan your website faster. You can create new categories, and even tag posts according to a certain keyword or popular phrase that relates to the topic of your content.

Conclusion

WordPress is such a feature-rich CMS that most of us can’t even imagine the extent of customization and optimization possibilities we have at our disposal and how easy this piece of software makes it. There are dozens of interesting tasks you can take to practice your WordPress skills within the platform’s sandbox section. Search engine optimization is a never-ending process, and it’s smart to automate and facilitate your workflow as much as possible. We hope this article will help you improve your website rank and adopt an interest in WordPress development.

Local Mailbag: Which elements of my website should I improve to increase local rankings?


<br /> Local Mailbag: Which elements of my website should I improve to increase local rankings? – Whitespark



How to Improve Your Content & SEO Strategy in 2020


Creating content with the end goal of ranking higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) has evolved from merely stuffing keywords into articles to today’s more prevalent theme of evergreen content. And while there are still plenty of experts who believe there is a place for leveraging keywords to improve rankings, Google’s continually evolving algorithm now tends to favor content that’s relevant and valuable to end-users.

Here are 10 trends that can elevate your SEO content strategy for 2020.

Trend #1 Optimize for BERT

Google refers to it as its most important update in five years. Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing pre-training. What this essentially means is that BERT can be used to help Google better understand the context of words in search queries.

What does this mean for SEO content professionals?

Primarily, it means taking action on Google’s increased focus on optimizing search results based on user intent as opposed to merely keyword matching content. Content developers need to focus on customer intent to understand where they fit on that path. And by providing the best answers for questions on that path, they have a better chance of more reliably capturing and converting customers.

For marketers, this means having a deeper understanding of how users talk about their issues and needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. This includes going beyond the purchase and touching on things like support, opportunities to advocate, and community building.

Trend #2 Optimize for Voice Search

It’s estimated that half of all searches
will be done through voice, with users performing at least 30 percent of all
searches without using a screen.

Since voice searches tend to be longer than typed searches, you need to identify and use keywords that people use in actual conversations – these are typically seven to nine words, and often contain a question. Content writers, as well as those tasked with on-page SEO work, need to keep this in mind.

Additionally, studies have shown that the average Google voice search is written at a ninth-grade level. This means writers need to keep sentences short. They also need to use easy-to-understand words and get straight to the point.

Trend #3 Use
Featured Snippets

To the uninitiated, a featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user’s query displayed on top of Google search results. This snippet is extracted from a webpage and is shown to include the page’s title and URL.

What is a featured snippet?

As pointed out by Inkwell Editorial, a simple way to incorporate these into your content is by using something like a “You will learn in this post” section at the beginning of a post and/or a “We have covered in this post” section at the bottom. This is also where you can incorporate responses to Google’s “People also ask” and “Searches related to…” sections.

Related featured snippet searches

It’s important to note that when you perform a test search for keywords and phrases, when you use it in your posts, it doesn’t have to be an exact match. So from the examples above, you can include in your “In this post, we will answer the following questions:”

  • The benefits of a featured snippet to SEO
  • How to include rich snippets into your content

Trend #4 Mobile Optimization

Google’s mobile-first index ranks pages based on their versions designed for mobile devices. This means that even if you offer a seamless experience on your website’s desktop version, but it’s comparatively buggy on a smartphone, there’s a good chance your SEO rankings will take a hit.

This means that not only do you need to optimize for mobile, but you also need to ensure that it’s responsive – meaning it works well regardless of screen size or device type. The good thing is that there are plenty of WordPress themes and plugins developed with responsive design in mind. But just to make sure everything’s working, don’t forget to perform comprehensive tests on multiple devices.

Trend #5 Write for Local Search

With mobile searches often performed on-the-go, about a third of all mobile Google searches are related to location. So when a user in Calabasas types in “dry cleaning near me,” they’re most likely looking for something much closer than, say, Santa Monica. Here’s how to go about it:

While Google can generally pick up on where
the user is, if they don’t type in a city, the result might not be as close as
they desire. So when writing for local search, make sure to include in the copy
your business’ city location, the cities surrounding it, and perhaps even a zip
code.

So a good blog post might be “High and Dry: The Best Dry Cleaners in Calabasas, CA.” Additionally, include a line in the post that mentions a major city close to your business like: “Get your fix of High and Dry unparalleled rates in the Los Angeles County.”

Trend #6 Brand Your Content

There are a couple of reasons why branding your content is essential. First, Google uses online brand mentions in its search algorithm. Second, your brand ultimately helps foster trust. The more customers (or your audience) trust you, the more they’d be willing to not only do business with you but share your content and talk about you.

Trend #7 UX & Technical SEO

Again, while the emphasis on user experience isn’t exactly groundbreaking to focus on, it will take on even greater significance in 2020. This means that stronger consideration must be placed on the overall experience – from the initial interaction in SERPs and the landing page experience to the experience when users leave sites. With regard to the latter, this includes things like remarketing, drip campaigns, and personalization for returning users.

When it comes to technical SEO, at the base
level, this means an emphasis on site and page speed, particularly with the
emergence of Chrome’s “slow warning badges” and speed reports in the Google Search
Console. Additionally, experts expect a further shift into more JavaScript
frameworks use, PWAs, and the need for SEO task automation for
bigger websites.   

Trend #8 Link Building = Brand Building

This signals an evolution of link building
toward becoming more brand-focused. This means a heightened responsibility
placed on SEO professionals to build links and media placements that drive
traffic and push branding, as opposed to the more traditional approach of
building links that just help with search rankings.

Essentially, this means building a brand that people trust and want to do business with using elements of link building. As alluded to earlier, as customers become smarter, they expect more when it comes to marketing. The more trust your brand elicits, the more they’ll be willing to share your content, talk about you, and buy your products.

Trend #9 Zero Click Search

First off, a zero-click search refers to how users can get an answer without clicking on a website. For example, when you want to find out what the current exchange rate is, you can get an answer without clicking on a website.

So how does this help you exactly if users don’t need to click on your link? Basically, the type of content no-click searches return is usually what’s considered top-level content. For example, if you had a paywall on your site where users need to pay to read content, top-level content would be the content used to lure users in. Conversely, high-level content is reserved for paying users. This is where the meat of the content can be found, more detailed, long-form content that answers questions more comprehensively.

Again, this comes back to trust. When you
consistently provide zero-click search results, you’re able to establish
credibility.

Trend #10 Semantic Search Intent Optimization

As alluded to earlier, Google has strayed away from using the actual string of words that are being typed in the search box, instead of looking at the query context and analyzing possible search intent. Take a look at the example below from Smart Insights:

Smart Insights

Basically on the fly, Google was able to
surmise that:

  • The user lost their cat, but may be interested in pet and animal control centers, and not just cat facilities.
  • The cat may have gone missing in the town of Halfmoon, but it also provides answers found in nearby towns – Clifton Park and Rensselaer.
  • Google even suggests posting or searching on Craigslist just in case someone already found the cat.

As you can see, Google has become quite
adept at understanding searcher intent. This means that traditional content
creation focused on a single keyword string won’t work as they used to.

Final words

SEO is a constantly evolving game where the job is never quite done. But if you take the above-mentioned trends as you go about your SEO efforts for 2020, you’re putting your brand in a good position to succeed.

About the Author: Naida Alabata is a digital marketer and the editorial-in-chief of Startup Credo. She’s also an entrepreneur who loves to share her expertise and insights on digital marketing, social media, business, SEO, web design and more.



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Where to Be in 2020: Conferences & Events to Improve Your Local Marketing


<br /> Where to Be in 2020: Conferences & Events to Improve Your Local Marketing – Whitespark



How To Improve Diabetic Kidney Disease: High Converting Offer

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A 5-Step Local SEO Audit to Improve Your Business’ Local Marketing


Today, if someone is looking for a food joint, or for a plumber to get their sink fixed, all they need to do is run a simple search on the internet.  Do you know that businesses that appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) gets 33% of the search traffic?

It follows that how well your business ranks in the search engine results will directly translate into how many more new customers your business can get. Approximately 80% of internet users use the internet to find local businesses. In this ever-expanding digital world, appearing on top of the search engine results is vital in making sure that customers find you when they search online.

And to do that, you need to make sure that your business’ local SEO is on point. In this post, we’ll give you a step-by-step instructions on how you can conduct a local SEO audit by yourself.

Let’s start from the top.

What is Local SEO?

As you probably already know, SEO is short for search engine optimisation. Optimising your website for SEO makes it easy for search engines to discover and index your content, your website, and your business. In other words, it helps you get your business in front of the right audience, and increases the amount of traffic that you receive organically.

Local SEO is a more precise form of SEO that applies to the local businesses specifically. One good example is optimising a website for “near me” searches. Local SEO is quite different from the mainstream version in that it uses certain ranking factors that don’t appear in ordinary SEO. This makes a lot of sense because the journey of the buyer is different too.

Local buyers are often looking for somewhere (or something) close by, and they are much more likely to make purchases soon. These customers often search for details such as directions and phone numbers of the relevant businesses to get this done. However, before you set out to become successful in local SEO, you have to know where your website is ranking. This entails auditing your onsite and offsite local SEO, checking that the basics are working, and ensuring that you aren’t carrying penalties.

That’s what local SEO is all about. Performing a local SEO audit for your site will improve your chances of showing up on the relevant local searches that people around you are making.

Step 1: Listings and Citations Audit

Getting your business listed on the various online directories is the first step when it comes to optimising your business for local SEO.

To get a good picture of how this is done, check out the results of a popular search term like “restaurants near me” and check out where it appears in the search results.

As you’ll see, the Google listings are followed by links to TripAdvisor, and Google Maps and your local restaurant or restaurant finder, which are all third party sites that offer data about local businesses.

This means that you need to ensure your business is listed on all the top directories out there for having an effective online presence.

If you think it’s going to be difficult for you to get your business listed manually on all these platforms, you can use an automated business listing platforms like Synup to get the job done. Depending on your industry, you also need to make sure that your business is listed on not only the search engines, but also directories such as TripAdvisor, Angie’s List and Yelp.

Furthermore, you want to make sure your business is listed on Google My Business (GMB), which is ideally the main source for Google’s local business listings. If you’re not listed on Google My Business, you won’t show up on Google Maps, and this is something you certainly don’t want for your business. Google actually says that is uses location, relevance, and prominence to ascribe the local search ranking. Prominence is basically citations.

If you already have a GMB listing, ensure that the information posted there is accurate. This means the phone number; address, postcode, and other information such as working hours are accurate. To make your work easier, search your business name and list all of your citations. Copy your accurate name, address, and phone number from your GMB page and then go through the list making sure each entry is correct.

As a rule of thumb, include anything that could end up costing you a valuable customer.

Step 2: Metadata and Keywords Audit

The content included in the meta description, title tag, and other meta tag have a major role in how your site ranks in the SERPs. Ensure that you include any keywords that you want to rank for in your website’s meta description. To achieve this:

  • Create a list of up to 7 keywords that you intend to rank for. For instance, if you own a plumbing business in Fitzroy in Melbourne, your keyword list may include plumbing repair, plumbing maintenance, Fitzroy, plumbing installation, and other related keywords. Ensure that you use easy-to-read, neat titles and descriptions.
  • Have the city and state of your business in the title tag. This will help to rank your business higher whenever a user searches for a term that contains your locality. A description that contains the search terms that users in your area are likely to use will be helpful as well.
  • The content in your title tag should generally be under 60 characters in length, while the meta description should be around 135 characters. This will help the search engine bots, as well as humans, to gather what your business is all about quickly.
  • Use H2 tags for subheadings and do not forget to add the variations of targeted keywords in the subheadings. H3 tag and other tags should be used for additional subheadings.
  • As you must be aware, page speed is used as a ranking signal by Google. Make sure that your website loads in less than four seconds. Use faster hosting, compress all the images and use a CDN to boost site speed.
  • These may not directly play a role in SEO but more social shares mean more visitors. You’re also likely to get high quality links through social media sharing.
  • Don’t make the mistake of not having any outbound links on your website. Google uses these links to decide on the topic of your website and it also gives a great signal that this page is an excellent resource of quality information. Ideally, there should be 3 to 4 outbound links in each post.
  • You should include high-quality images, audio and videos in the content as it will help in increasing the time on-site which is an important parameter for rankings in Google. If you do not have time to create your own video, find a good video online and embed it. The image file name should include the targeted keyword and it should also be part of the image Alt text.
  • Try to manage keyword density of 1 to 2%. Ideally, it should come naturally but take care to not overdo it. Create curiosity with your first paragraph and sprinkle in as many LSI keywords or alternative versions of your keyword as possible.
  • H1 tag is meant for your headline. Include the targeted keywords in H1. Use H2 tags for subheadings and do not forget to add the variations of targeted keywords in the subheadings. H3 tag and other tags should be used for additional subheadings.
  • Contrary to popular perception, meta description is still relevant. Try to use as many LSI keywords as possible in the meta description. There are several online tools that can help you find LSI keywords for the targeted keywords.
  • Internal links boost the ranking juice for other webpages of your website. Don’t go overboard but try to include at least 2 to 3 internal links in each post.

So, if you want your site to appear in the organic searches, you have to make sure that you do this well.

Step 3: Local SEO Content Audit

Once you have put up your business on the online listing and optimised the keywords and metadata, you need to work on the content on your site. The frequency and occurrence of keywords on your site has a major role in determining your ranking in local searches.

For instance, if you are operating an auto repair shop in Chatswood, NSW, writing about your topic of expertise on your blog along with posting about the various events that are coming up or have held in your area can help improve your local SEO.

This is quite straightforward to do if you’re using a CMS like WordPress, as it lets you optimise the URL, category, title, etc. with ease. There are also WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO that help when writing content to make sure that you are on the right track for generating great results.

Keep in mind that content is one of the major issues for local sites. It’s actually one of the key targets for Google Panda algorithm update, which was aimed at eliminating spammy sites and thin content. Therefore, if you publish thin, aggregated, spun, irrelevant, or duplicated content, your search rankings might suffer.

Audit your content using the Google Analytics tools to track the amount of traffic each post and page is receiving. You are likely to find out that a small number of posts are generating much of the traffic. In case there’s a page with few or bad links that are pointing to it, and doesn’t generate significant traffic, consider killing it off.

It’s generally far better to have fewer posts that are relevant and truly useful to your users than having a large number of duplicated, worthless, keyword-stuffed content. The usefulness of content to the readers is essentially what Google uses to score your content on.

Step 4: Social Media Pages and Reviews Audit

Having a strong social media presence will certainly help you generate more traffic and garner more customers for a number of reasons:

  • Social media platforms like Facebook allow you to post your address on your page, which helps boost local SEO. The review score you get on Facebook will also sync with your Google My Business listing.
  • Twitter typically suggest “People to Follow” depending on the geographic location of the user
  • Platforms such as Pinterest will often show up whenever the user searches for an image.

Social Signals are defined as the collective overall social media visibility. This means the number of shares and likes are included & social media visibility as perceived by search engines. These actually contribute to organic search ranking and are considered to be a form of a structured citation.

Ensure that you have a handle on all of the top social networking sites. If you need to, appoint someone to manage your social media. You will be surprised at how much social media can help with your business’ growth.

Social media essentially provides you with a platform for engaging with your local target audience, and you can even link your social media profiles to your Google My Business listing. Several social media sites also allow customers to leave behind reviews about your product or service. Based on the kind of reviews you receive, your business can pique the interests of more customers, or make them avoid you altogether.

Ensure that you engage with your customers on social media regularly and respond to the reviews that they post on your business listings. Establishing a good rapport with your happy customers will help make them return customers, and responding to the unhappy ones might change their opinion about your business. If needed, use a review generation wizard to help automate this process.

Step 5: Spam and Backlink Analysis

The number of backlinks you generate is be directly proportional to how well you rank in the SERPs. For those who don’t know what a backlink is, it’s simply a link posted on another website (often in the content) that directly links to your site.

Conducting a quick backlink analysis is not difficult, one of the easiest tools to help you do this is the Moz Link Explorer, which is ideally a backlink analysis tool available free of charge. You only need to enter your site’s URL and click on “search”. The tool with then give you a list of backlinks that your site has received from other reputable sites. It will also highlight the exact source of the backlink, the anchor text used for posting the link, along with an authority score (Page Authority and Domain Authority) of the site.

If you have a backlink from an authoritative website, it’s certainly going to boost your ranking on the search engines. Think of the website you know to be most reputable among the internet community of your business. You can then optionally write to them and request for a backlink to your blog or website.

The MOZ OSE tool will also show your spam score. A spam score of under 3 is considered good for your site. It’s quite unlikely that your site will be penalised by Google if it happens to meet this criteria.

Bottom Line

As we’ve outlined, conducting an audit of your local business SEO is quite straightforward, yet vital for your business success. Recent statistics show that more and more users are making local searches now, so it’s crucial to have an optimised local SEO presence to improve your digital marketing efforts.