Organic Traffic Isn’t Easy or Fast but it’s Worth the Effort
In 2020 search intent will be more important than ever in organic ranking. Results on the first page of Google receive 92% of all search traffic and traffic drops by 95% on the second page of a Google search.
What keywords do you want your business to be found for when a consumer does a search on Google? When you do the search, does your business come up on the first page or the second page of Google search results? If you’re not coming up on page one, chances are you will never be found.
SEO is no longer a manipulative marketing practice and Google’s algorithm updates have made it possible for a local business to compete with the big brands. When Google rolled out their Pigeon update, it gave local businesses the ability to compete for search rankings on a local level. For example, Google began to give a ranking boost to businesses in close proximity to the searcher in location-specific searches (ex. “Thai food near me”, “UWS dentists”, etc…)
Local SEO has become a critical component for local marketing and the number gets better every year. Create and verify your Google My Business page. An astounding 76% of local searches result in a phone call to the business.
Reviews are important for the business and your SEO efforts. Encourage your customers to review your business honestly. Even negative feedback has value to your business so show your gratitude publicly, positively, and, professionally responding to ALL reviews thanking each customer for taking the time to provide the user feedback.
In 2020, your business will have to have a mobile-enabled web site. Mobile search rankings are more important than ever, and the importance will continue to grow. Increasingly, more searches are done every day on mobile devices than desktops. Just look at these numbers;
- 87% of smartphone users use search engines at least once a day.
- The average U.S. adult spent 3.5 hours on their phones every day.
- 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
- 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase.
- 18% of location-based mobile searches result in a sale within one day
- 40% of mobile website visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
SEO is a key factor in your business’ success online. Here a shortlist of some best practices to start to improve your SEO.
Get Inbound Links with Relevance and Authority
Inbound links are incredibly powerful opportunities to boost your local SEO — every inbound link tells Google you’re a legitimate company, and inbound links can also raise your domain authority. You can get inbound links through partnerships, or guest from credible sites contributing to your blog or mentioning your site or blog in theirs with a link back.
Network with trade associations, resellers, vendors, the local Chamber of Commerce, business improvement districts, and other affiliates. Partner up to do a webinar, building relationships with influencers. Connect with partners and feature each of your respective partner directories with reciprocal links. Contribute something of value to a partner blog and the audience it attracts, your partners for a reason. Be a resource provider for the community.
Given the domain authority of .edu links, earn some links through scholarship outreach.
Add Location Pages to your Website
If you have more than one brick and mortar location, create location pages. Location pages provide readers with your NAP, store hours, unique store descriptions, parking/transit information, promotions, testimonials from happy customers, and more. It’s also important you avoid duplicating content across multiple location pages. For single-location businesses, create a locally descriptive About Us page. With 86% of people searching for the location of a business on Google Maps, add a Google Map to your website.
Engage with Social Media and Add Posts to Google My Business
Google considers content shared on social media more important now than ever before. Now that you’ve carved out a beautiful Google My Business page, post to the account and share the page on social media, further aligning social and search.
Improve Internal Linking Structure
Internal linking structure;
- Distributes page authority and ranking power among pages
- Supports website navigation
- Assists with information architecture and website hierarchy
- Will also boost your SEO rankings
To help improve your internal linking structure reference Kissmetric’s 7 Commandments of Internal Linking
Optimize URL, Headers, Meta Description, Content, and Title Tags
When it comes to content, every new blog post is a new indexed page for your site, a new page on which to target a geographic search phrase, and a new opportunity to get found in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Every time you write a piece of content, you need to optimize the content for search engines by using high-volume keywords in the URL, title, header, meta description, and body. If you’re having trouble coming up with geo-targeted content, consider highlighting customer success stories and case studies.
Create Local Content
Google continues to get smarter, which means content creators are now able to truly write for users, not search engines. Focus the content by writing about your local or industry news to attract that local audience. Be the local authority for your industry by promoting local industry gatherings, news, employees, and other educational content on your blog. Think of top-of-the-funnel content that goes beyond what your business sells.
For example, if you’re a local HVAC company trying to attract businesses that are new to the area, create a helpful resource to get these businesses well-acquainted with your city. A map of local service providers or a calendar of city-wide events could both provide value for your persona and contain highly relevant on-page local signals.
Citations are the pages that provide information on your business to consumers. These 3rd party websites like directories and review sites play a role in establishing your business as credible.
Claiming the pages and updating the information to be complete, accurate, and consistent will help your local SEO. Google looks at the number of citations your business has and the consistency and accuracy of the NAP (name, address, phone) The inbound links to your site also has a positive impact on ranking your business higher for relevant local Google searches.
There are four major data aggregators that provide and update business information for these web sites. Updating with the four can help keep your business information accurate and consistent across a large number of the sites Google considers credible.
Remove duplicate listings you find, consistency is key: if Google can’t determine which information about your business is correct, it may not show your business at all in search results.