Getting the word out about your small local business in today’s digitally driven world can be challenging. Gone are the days when people would find you using a telephone book and simply dialing your phone number for more information about your business. Did you know that in 2013, the average number of searches performed on Google topped 2.1 trillion? With that many people turning to Google for just about everything, how do make sure your customers can find you in local searches?
The following tips will hopefully give you some ideas and insights on how to pave the way to gaining the ground your business deserves in the local search engine results:
Does Your Site Need an SEO Audit?
If your website is not performing well on local searches, the first thing to consider is a website health check (aka SEO site audit) to see where you stand. It’s nearly impossible to get to the bottom of why your website is performing poorly without seeing what exactly is broken. The good news is Google provides a free tool called Google Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools gives you a great snapshot into the majority of the issues that could be holding back high search rankings. Some issues include broken links, website errors, plus much more. If you are located in the Boulder and Denver area then I invite you learn more about the “Getting Started with Google Webmaster Tools” class I’ll be teaching for BVSD Lifelong Learning this October 1st.
A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words
Major search engines like Google and Bing are shifting their emphasis to more image rich content. What does this mean for your local search strategy? If your competition has more photos embedded in their local search results, the search engines are potentially more likely to pick them for their higher search rankings. A pictures speaks a thousand words so make sure to include high quality and eye-catching pictures as part of your overall local search engine optimization strategy.
Claim Your Local Business Listing
Chances are that if you have been in business for longer than a few months, you already have search engine generated local listings tied to your business. This may seem like a good thing, but there is a catch. It’s important to make sure that all of your listings are streamlined across the web. A good way to check your local listings is through a free scan from Yext. Also, Google My Business recently replaced Google Places for Business and here are some instructions on what you need to do.
Conduct SEO Keyword Research
What key words and phrases do you think people may search for when conducting a search for your business? Keyword research is the foundation for your SEO campaign. Even though Google releases new algorithm updates on a regular basis, the one thing you can count on in the world of SEO is keyword research. Below are a few free resources to help you along the journey of generating your keyword list:
- Google Keyword Planner: Mainly designed for users who want to run ads on Google, but even if you are running an organic SEO campaign, this tool is great to find the most accurate keyword data.
- WordTracker: This tool pulls web meta data to support your findings from Google’s Keyword Planner.
There are a ton of other keyword research tools out there and I encourage you to go online and explore a bit. I recently discussed SEO keyword research in a webinar and hopefully the recording of this session will give some ideas on how to go about this task.
Additional Help with Your Local Search Engine Optimization Campaign
There’s a lot more when it comes to local search but hopefully these four points will help in the ultimate goal of achieving higher search rankings on a local level and you are always welcome to contact me if you’d like to discuss your local SEO needs.
Also, I’ll be teaching quite a few SEO and digital marketing workshops and classes in Boulder and Denver this fall and maybe one of these trainings is right for you. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn and to join our mailing list to learn about upcoming events.
About the Author
Chris Raulf is founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique SEO training and consulting agency located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Chris and his team assist local, national as well as international clients with all of their SEO, social media and content marketing needs.
Chris has 15+ years of digital marketing expertise under his belt and The Online Marketing Institute recently added him to their “Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014” list.