TOP 10 TIPS FOR LOCAL BUSINESS S.E.O.
Hello Las Vegas, back again with another SEO installment aimed directly at helping you figure out the confusing word of search engine optimization and how to improve your rankings. What business does not want to find themselves on page one for their particular field of expertise? Higher rankings equal more clicks, more visitors, conversions, and it equals to more money ! I am going to tell you point blank that there is a reason that your competition is outranking all of your keywords and getting the conversations on sales that you should be. Even the new guy on the block is siphoning some of your business and you have been around for over twenty years !
I am going to share with you ten quick ways to improve your placement in search engine results that are easy and free to do !
Some of this does depend on what hosting platform you are using as some are easier than others. If something in particular does not apply to what you are using, then it is time to upgrade from that Wix account that you started with and for the love of god at least use a WordPress based website for content and blogging.
Hopefully these are easy search engine optimization fixes that you can apply yourself for a little boost in the rankings
CONTENT AND KEYWORD DENSITY
Mark the contractor has a webpage with 500 words that all relate to his business. Tom is in the same field, and has twenty different pages, all with some type of photo or information relating to what he does. Your website has the basic home page > about us > contact.
Let us take a random stab in the dark and guess who is going to rank in what order. If you want to be on equal footing with Mark there, and you see he has some great new content that has 500 words or more that pertain to his business, then I can guarantee you that is a great place to start. Do not shy away from your competition. Study them, replicate them, then beat them. Do what they do, then do it a bit better.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc, etc. There are not hundreds of these services. Does a like on Facebook in an area of service make a difference? The jury is honestly out on this one. And I am truly on the fence as well. Let us assume that you have a social media account as does your primary industry competitor. You have twenty likes on your page, or post, and they have none. You picked up a few shares, as to where theirs did not. Does this really make a difference ? Some studies and graphs have shown direct correlations to the fact that it does. But correlation does not equal causation in my book. Some social media platforms are so easy to manipulate. You can download free liker programs and apps from the app store and boost up an account like nothing. You can buy followers, and a thirteen year old can pump more fake traffic to a day old page than you probably know how to in a year.
So how does Google really factor these in? I honestly theorize minimally as those results are too easy to alter, and if they did consider it a huge primary ranking factor then the Chinese bot farmers would rule all of the search results. Why would Bing or Google use one of their competitors as the bar for where your rankings should land ? But with their widespread use and popularity, how can they ignore what hundreds of millions of people are now using per day. I say this. If the guy you are going up against in rankings has twenty likes, figure out a fast way to get twenty one likes and just move on.
QUALITY NEW UPDATED CONTENT
Please spend a little bit of time keeping yourself relevant. Use any resources that you can find from your son or daughter to the neighbor who is home with her cats to write an article for you. Make sure it pertains to what you actually do first and foremost. If a website has not had anything fresh for years, it is going the way of the dodo. A small blog or write up, even an update, shows some sign of interest and activity. You do not have to write an epic journey of how you rewired your entire home theater, but the more the better. Just make sure it relates to what you do, include a few pictures, and hit update. You may not think this makes a difference or anyone is ever going to read it, but believe me, it can be worth it’s weight in gold. Especially if another local business is up and coming and they are regularly updating their site. People are always nipping at your heels in the rankings, and a quick ten minute update once a week is not going to kill you. Just make sure that it is original, and you are not copy pasting something that is already out there.
The news is a great source of content which updates by the minute it seems, use that to scour for some fresh new concepts and write your own take and spin on the subject matter. Yes content is king, but something is usually always better than nothing.
Google hates recycled duplicate content you can read a bit more of their specifications but here is a direct quote from their search forums
- Minimize similar content: If you have many pages that are similar, consider expanding each page or consolidating the pages into one. For instance, if you have a travel site with separate pages for two cities, but the same information on both pages, you could either merge the pages into one page about both cities or you could expand each page to contain unique content about each city.
LONG TAIL KEYWORDS
This is probably one of the most important yet difficult to understand tips so bear with me. Let us assume that you are a real estate agent. Or a doctor, or a lawyer for that matter. High paying professional here. Do you know how expensive it can be to get a click from Google by paying for it? Direct targeted traffic is great, but costly. You could spend $12-$24 dollars per click for something like “Top Lawyer in Las Vegas.” This makes sense because they know that for each client that signs up with you could potentially be worth ten thousand or more dollars. We are talking about organic rankings here, so it should be equally as hard on the other end as well. Type in one of those words like “Best Doctor in insert your town here.” and try and outrank those. Gooood luck. Honestly it is just not going to happen. It is going to take so much time, resources, and money that in the end it may be worth it or most likely not.
Yes that search query might mean 20,000 searches a month, and 10,000 clicks per. But let us go after the low hanging fruit. Forget that big bluefin tuna out there and catch a few trouts instead. How can we reword that to “Best doctor in my town for toenail fungus.” See what we did there, that might return 100 results per month and be way easier to edge your way in and taste a piece of the pie. Set obtainable goals for yourself and gather all of the keywords that you can that are possible to get. 100 keywords that get 100 hits a month is far more doable than 2 keywords that get 100,000. Try and be very direct and specific.
ECOMMERCE SALES AND SSL CERTIFICATE
I do not remember if I mentioned free, but let’s put this one under necessary. If you are a website that deals with any type of monetary transactions you need this. Do you accept paypal ? Or even just usernames and login information. Your web hosting provider has an option, sometimes free during specials and promotions, to add what is called a SSL certificate to your site. This is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Your bank uses HTTPS. Go look I am serious. It is that little green color that gives you warmth and security. But more importantly it encrypts your information and is a cryptographic key that allows safe browsing. Do not be cheap, get this.
Nothing is going to drive customers away faster and ensure they never come back than that big warning from Google. You know the one in red letters about how this website is not secure. That is not good. Spend the $30 for the year. You will make up for it in sales x1000
Google loves to see an active web page with a low bounce rate. What is bounce rate? Again one of the two hundred different ranking algorithms that Google uses to determine just where to place you. If people just click on your website to click right off, it is not showing the little spider crawl bots that the information was engaging or pertaining to what they were searching for. The longer a guest stays on your webpage, and the more places they click, sends more positive signals. Ask your friends and family to explore your web pages and be active. Create accounts, login, comment on photos, and just be active. Get a small campaign together and ask all of your friends, family, and business associates to login to your domain and spend five minutes click around and testing out all of the features, and then leave some feedback !
We did a little bit more on Local Search Engine Optimization for Las Vegas businesses on an article that you might want to refer to
Nothing quite kills immersion and user experience like a terribly slow loading website due to the enormous photo sizes that are being processed. It can almost be like your modem is on dial-up from 1992.
That little tiny thumbnail on the bottom of your page that has a profile picture that you uploaded? It could be huge and you did not even realize it. I have seen photos that are upwards of 10 megabytes clogging down a website that should have been in the kilobytes. Pay attention to the size and quality of photo’s that you are uploading. Spend a few extra seconds in whatever photo editor that you use to make sure the picture is not ten times as big as any computer screen ever made. It is ideal that you use the exact size that your website needs. If the box is 500×500 make sure your photo is as well. If it has to take the time to process a 2000×2000 photo and scale it down, this takes time. This reduces your users overall experience, and with the attention span now a days, you want to deliver that content to them as fast as possible to ensure they stick around.
POSITIVE ONLINE REVIEWS
Google Business services, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing Places For Business. Just a small place to start. Try and garner up as many non social media reviews that you can. Start with your friends and family and ask them to leave you a positive review. It took five phone calls to my mother until she finally figured it out, but hey it got done! Get your name out there and reach out to people for some feedback. A business with a hundred 4 star reviews probably is going to do a bit better than yours with 2 five stars. A great method is to make sure to remind people to check out your profile with links going right to it to make it an easy user experience. If there is a button or link to click it is more prone to get done as opposed to someone having to hunt and search for it on their own.
Do not be afraid to hold promotions, reach out, and email customers and clients from the past offering something like a 10% off discount, or free shipping on next purchase of $100 or more or something if they leave a review or positive comment. Get creative and watch those numbers rise.
TOUGH LOCAL SEO RANKING COMPETITION
Sometimes you might just be going up against a juggernaut. If you are in the fashion and retail industry it is going to be a long uphill climb to get any space in that field going toe to toe with the giants of that industry. They have so much history, authority, and linking over years if not more that trying to outrank them is just better left avoided. You must analyse and form a strategy on how you can edge your way in with some tricky keywording. So what if the word ‘fashion’ gets searched 10,000,000 times a month. You are going to be so far down and lost in that query that it is like trying to drown a shark.
Set your goals and expectations high, but also realistic. You are going to get frustrated and burned out with little to no results after months of trying. Set your target audience and keywords into obtainable sights and just crush it. Little league leads to college, which leads to the minors, and finally to the majors. I see people all the time trying to advance far too fast and then fading out.
Let us take Lawyers for example. You are a new local law firm here in Henderson, Nevada. You can bet your ass that the veterans of the industry have been around are putting a portion of their marketing budget into Internet marketing research and development. If you are a doctor, lawyer, real estate agent, franchise broker, or any other profession that makes hand over fist cash with clients that convert, you can guarantee that it is going to be a long expensive haul to the top. If they are pumping in $5000 a month into SEO which is not uncommon for corporate accounts, then you are not going to get top billing for Best Doctor in Las Vegas. Do not expect to beat the results if you are not willing to match the methods. There are ways around this however. . .
AGE OF WEBSITE
Not much a tip, but more of a reminder, that Rome was not built in a day. Why should your two month old website rank higher than a ten year old one in the same field. They have a decade of registered users, content, and have been playing by the rules the entire time. A website does need to mature and age slightly, get indexed properly, and let the search engine gods know that it is a trustworthy site. This is not saying though that old irrelevant websites with outdated content are never going to be toppled. If you can produce new fresh and up to date content that people are thirsting after, clicking, and sharing, then yes it can be done. But do not expect these things to just happen on their own. Good websites age like wine. Or think of it like the stock market, you are going long on this one.
A workout this is to do something such as get famous on Instagram or another platform, and drive your twenty-thousand user base toward your website, and not worry about organic clicks from searches. If you are in a top heavy industry that is expensive in keyword ads, clicks, and the like, then that may be your best option and route if you feel there is an audience out there for you to captivate.
DO NOT FORGET ABOUT BING AND MICROSOFT
With all of the talk and focus around Google, it is easy to overlook and not pay attention to the other search engine out there that comes ready to use and loaded up on all windows operating systems if you run their Microsoft Edge ( formerly known as Explorer )
Bing can almost mirror Google in some ways, with many of the same tools, and is just your personal preference as to what you use and search with. I am not going to delve into all of their differences, but let us remember how many millions of search hits they produce every single hour as well.
You might even be able to get in on some cheaper prices for keywords and CPC. ( cost per click )
I can not tell you as to where to put your resources and energy, as that is entirely dependant upon your individual market, but if you are not getting the Google results that you want, it may be worth it to get easier rankings in Bing or any other service first. Learn the ropes a bit, take what works and what does not, then apply that over for a larger pool.
Good luck to you in your journey, and keep in touch, more updates are on the way