Whether you’re interested in starting your own SEO agency, or you’re a small business owner who wants an edge over the competition, there are fundamental actions that take place in every SEO campaign. When those fundamentals are known and put in place, increased Google rankings occur.
Here’s a local SEO strategy that covers some very basic, yet essential actions to accomplish that extra boost in business that every small business owner needs.
Every SEO campaign begins with good quality keyword research. Essentially, you want to know what people are looking for. If you’re a plumber, you would want to know how many people are searching the phrase “water heater installation” or maybe “drain cleaning service”. This is the foundation on which the rest of your SEO efforts will be built.
Some businesses will go so far as to purchase a domain name based entirely on keyword research (e.g. if your business located in Nashville, TN, then plumbersNashville.com and beautysalonNashville.com). These are called “exact match domains”. This is a strategy that has been known to produce incredible results for business owners, but it’s also been known to produce over-optimization penalties (so be careful).
Nashville, TN is a bit of a ghost town when it comes to Schema markup. For whatever reason, most local businesses in Nashville aren’t using it.
Although there isn’t any official notice from Google that Schema markup will boost rankings, Schema is pushed by Google and therefore it is speculated as being beneficial to any local SEO strategy.
One of the benefits of Schema markup is that you can tell Google, Bing and Yahoo where you’re located and what kind of business you run. Which is visible in the code, but also on the website in the bottom right corner.
Aside from using Schema to notify search engines of your business name, address and phone number, it is also often used to display ratings, events, book reviews and much more.
Free tools for getting Schema markup for your website can be found on Google search. Simply put the code into the footer of your website, and you’re done!
The next part of your local SEO strategy is to optimize your title tags. This means that the page titles should contain your keyword phrases.
Before you start stuffing every keyword combination into a title tag, you should know that Google doesn’t display more than about 60 characters (give or take a few). A common, safe and effective practice is to target one keyword phrase and add your brand, as in “Nashville Plumber – Example Plumbing Company”.
Through your keyword research you should be able to come up with titles that target multiple search phrases such as with the title “best plumber Nashville TN” which includes the following:
- Best plumber
- Best Plumber Nashville
- Best Plumber Nashville TN
- Plumber Nashville
- Plumber Nashville TN
By using the title “best plumber Nashville TN” your website may show up in the search results for several different search queries.
Note: The more complex the search phrase you are targeting, the more likely you will rank well for that search phrase. The reason for this is that you have much less competition. It’s easier to get a website to the top of Google by targeting “green women’s dancing shoes” than it is for “shoes”.
Content and anchors
By this time you have an idea of what phrases you want to target, there’s Schema markup on your site, you have pages and titles, and now you’re ready to add content. Please note that it is common practice to create content with each page as it is created (rather than simply creating several pages and titles, then adding content).
By content is meant the actual words and images used on a page. Your content should be using the keyword phrases that you’ve selected in your initial research. You should also make sure that you’re not competing for a phrase within your own website (such as by having 3 pages that are all targeting the phrase “Nashville plumber”).
The anchor text is the actual text that is displayed in a link. The anchor text in Nashville Plumber is “Nashville Plumber”. This tells search engines that the website it points to is about “Nashville plumber”.
It’s very important when writing content that pages within your website link to each other, and that you optimize those links with keyword phrases. Don’t use “click here” in your anchor text. The last thing you want to rank for is the phrase “click here”.
Your content needs to be unique! Copying the content of other websites will get you penalized by search engines, and opens the door to potentially having your website banned.
Your content needs to be user-friendly. This means that your writing should cater to humans, not just search engines. You will need to find a perfect balance so that people want to stay on your site and search engines want to rank you higher.
Your content should also contain at least 300 words so as to ensure that it gets indexed. To be on the safe side, try using a minimum of 500 words per page.
Backlinking is one of the top ranking factors for search engines. It establishes credibility and trust. Some refer to it as sort of a “popularity vote”. Websites with hundreds of backlinks are well known and often trustworthy.
The subject of backlinking has been covered in thousands of articles across the web, and in hundreds of courses. There are many strategies that exist to gain backlinks, but for the most part it takes work and dedication.
The easiest way to start getting backlinks is through people you know. Asking a friend or family member to add a link to your website is commonly done by new businesses, or businesses that are just starting an SEO campaign. If you’re a plumber in Nashville, you might pass along work to a water damage repair company who would be willing to link to you. If you’re an interior decorator, you might know several contractors who would be willing to link to you. Whatever the case may be, your warm market is a great place to start.
These steps are executed by SEO agencies around the world to create higher rankings for their clients. RG of Plumbing Solutions in Nashville has reported moving from the 6th page of Google to the 1st and 2nd after making these adjustments, and is thanked for contributing to this article.
The success of your online marketing depends largely upon your local SEO strategy. Be sure to keep SEO on your mind whenever making any website decisions!
Have an SEO tip of your own? Feel free to leave a comment with what’s working for you.