Local SEO isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s the most straight-forward and forgiving SEO out there.
That’s probably why you have far more SEO companies focusing on Local SEO than you do eCommerce or Enterprise-level SEO. It’s more predictable and there are fewer variables to worry about when you’re dealing with a 30-page website than if you are dealing with a 30,000-page website.
That and enterprise clients can typically afford a good in-house team of SEOs too I suppose.
We’re not here to talk about enterprise-level SEO. We’re here to talk about Local SEO. At the end of this post, you should be able to get your clients some visibility within their local market. Let’s get started.
1. Build a good website structure that supports organic visibility
There are a lot of opportunities for a local business to improve visibility only by optimizing its website structure. I’m not going to dive deep into website structure in this post because I already wrote the book on it. Well, the post on it. It’s called the best website structure for local businesses.
Check that post out, implement its practises and you’ll be way ahead of much of your competition.
2. Do basic keyword research
I say basic keyword research because most of the core keywords for a local business are fairly straightforward – at least the high-level service-related ones. I’m not saying there isn’t a wealth of information to be uncovered through good keyword research, but the keywords to focus on largely revolve around the website structure we mapped out above, and boil down to:
a) Who we are (general contractor in city)
b) What we do (garage builds in city)
c) Where we do it (general contractor in suburb)
d) Who we do it for (commercial contractor or residential contractor in city)
e) Educational and supporting how-to keywords (how to finish a detached garage).
Once we have this completed and we understand what keywords we want to target, we’re going to move on to the next step.
3. Website mapping
Again, I have another resource on this post that you can check out for more detail. Keyword mapping is basically the act of taking your keywords from keyword research and mapping or assigning them to specific pages based on their intent.
Once we know what pages we are going to use to target what themes or keyword groups we move on.
4. Page-specific relevance optimizations
The goal here is to make each page with mapped keywords more relevant to those keywords. This is done by optimizing elements of the actual page. These elements can and should include:
- Page title
- Header Tags (H1, H2, H3s, etc.)
- Body copy itself (placement, bolded, italicized, etc.)
- Internal links (linking to those pages with those keywords as anchors)
This doesn’t have to be rocket science, just look at the page and add in a bit of extra content so that the intent of the pages matches the intent of the searcher based on the keywords. But obviously include the keywords a sprinkle as well.
5. Make your website faster
This could probably have been #1 but I’ll put it here. Invest in page speed optimization and a good high-quality web host that focuses on page speed optimization.
Focus on dropping your time to first byte and total download time. This is going to naturally improve other scores in Google’s Page Speed Insight Tool.
You’ll want to skip over this because it can be a bit time consuming and confusing for a novice, but I assure you it’s worth the investment.
6. Build and optimize your Google My Business profile(s)
Make sure you have set up a Google My Business profile for each physical location you have. Tie these into your specific location pages as outlined in the website structure.
Be mindful of the categories you pick and the description your write, and make sure you add a few images so that you round out your profile as best as possible. If you have the data and can fill something out, do it.
There is a bit more insight in an old post we did on the topic of optimizing Google My Business profiles.
7. Create citations around the web.
You can use an aggregate platform like YEXT or SweetIQ, or to be honest you’d be better off doing it through Bright Local as their toolset is much cheaper and can provide a better and more comprehensive list of citation sources.
This is a low friction task as it does not usually require much of a feedback loop to get these citations published. Most of the time it’s a matter of verifying an email address, at most it’s usually a phone call verification.
8. Ask for reviews from real clients
Reviews are definitely a differentiator in the local SEO game, and more difficult to manually create like links or citations. You can use a review funnel service like Grade Us to best manage this process or you can literally just email your happy clients and ask them to leave your a review on your Google profile.
Sometimes automation can be a bit overkill and a couple of emails could really make a huge difference in the number of reviews and score you have on your profile.
9. Build links to your website.
This is the sticky area for most without a lot of experience. The citations we built within step #7 will definitely help as some of those will be do-follow links that help improve overall domain authority and brand relevance.
From here, it’s a great idea to ask any potential business associates, contacts with blogs, etc. if they would mind linking to your website (if you had a great resource section with supporting how-to content as we outlined in step #1 this process is often much easier).
In most local markets you don’t need a ton of links to really make a big difference if you’ve hit on every other area of optimization. A handful or maybe two handfuls of highly relevant and high-quality links will really drive significant growth.
There are a lot of great methods for local businesses to build links. Asking is definitely one. Asking with great content is a better one. Some you can do yourself. I’ll flush this out in more detail in a post coming out soon.
10. Track your success
Make sure you have some sort of reporting platform to track the success of your efforts. Monitor traffic, top-performing pages, and keyword visibility if nothing else to get an idea of how things are going.
We use a tool called Agency Analytics that is quite affordable in doing this.
While you can spot-check yourself over time, it’s much easier to set up some sort of tracking and analytics platform so that you can best monitor how things are moving.
That’s it. That’s all.
Our 10 steps to dominating local SEO.
Honestly, if you follow all of these you’ll kill it in your local market.
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