Many of our clients ask us for tips on helping small and midsize businesses improve their local SEO. If you are in a particular city or region of the country, let’s say, you’re based in Chicago and have a tight marketing budget, then we recommend honing in on your nearby community to focus your efforts. Here are 10 practical tips to help you succeed.
1. Investigate current conversion rate, optimize website design. Look at your Google Analytics data for website traffic then look at your checking account. Figure out your current conversion rate. Compare it to industry standards (most industries range between .1% and 6%). If you have 5,000 targeted visitors per month and no phone calls, most likely you will need to redesign your website; as it is not effectively selling your product(s) / service(s). Make sure you leverage Google My Business to ensure optimization as well.
2. Identify issues and opportunities. Look at Google Webmasters, and use a variety of SEO tools (ex: SEMRUSH, Majestic SEO etc) to ensure that your site does not suffer from any serious SEO problems. Analyze your top competitors, investigate what exactly they are doing to win the Search Engine game. Define realistic goals.
3. Develop a strategy and identify issues and opportunities for local SEO optimization. SEO is a very sophisticated process. Some things you can do by yourself while others require you hiring an SEO company. Chicago for instance, where Comrade is based, is full of them but you need to be careful in choosing the right agency. Regarding this expenditure as an investment in your future success, and understand that professionals have tools and experience that you do not. You should have realistic expectations and understand that it is a long-term process that will bring you residual results (customers as well as brand exposure) in the future. Whether you are based in Chicago, Illinois or Indianapolis Indiana, you need to focus on leveraging local content as much as general content. And make sure that Google is identifying your business.
4. Local Directories. Most companies have terrible SEO rankings because they have inadvertently neglected to ensure matching: Name, Address and Phone (NAP) in different directories. As a result, Google cannot determine if all your pages truly belong to the same company (for example all three of these names are viewed as “different” by Google: Comrade Web, Comrade Web Inc, Comrade Web Agency). So here are some good local SEO tips: spend as much time as needed to fix your NAP presence on all major directories and online platforms such as Yelp, Google Places, BING, Angie’s List, Facebook, FourSquare etc. Local search optimization is imperative to helping your business grow. Increasing your local SEO ranking factors in many variables, as enumerated here. Be sure not to overlook the importance of marketing in your own backyard. Don’t underestimate the importance of a solid local SEO strategy.
5. Reviews. People will look for your company reviews online while shopping around. Bad reviews significantly decrease your conversion rate. Encourage your clients and partners to leave good reviews on multiple online platforms. Be creative about it. Be responsible. It is a very serious project for your business.
Be sure to seek help on reviews with Google My Business. Request reviews from customers with a short URL. As well, learn how to leave Google reviews, reply to reviews whether good or bad, and verify your business information is accurate on Maps, Search and other Google pages.
6. Content strategy. Google will increase your SEO rankings as a result of you generating quality SEO content on a regular basis. Studies (and common sense) show that your potential customers love to find recent case studies, industry-related articles, relevant, interesting blogs and FAQ’s. Demonstrate that you know your industry, you have experience and you’re successful. Highly recommended to have a smart content strategy.
7. Backlinks and Social Media Marketing. Distribute articles that you create for your website through social media channels. Link them back to your website. Add subscribers, likes and followers. Optimize your micro-sites. Be a Guest-Blogger. Find trusted industry-related sites and figure out methods for placing backlinks to your website. Google increases your rankings when its robots “see” and catalog them. Backlinks can still cast magic!
Local SEO link building and off-page SEO is very important to establishing yourself as a sought-after business in your community. Simply put, local link building is when other websites in your local area link to your website. Using source citations in your blog, online directories, participating in or hosting local events, press releases and local influencer outreach are just some ways of establishing a good blanket of local SEO links. Be sure to sign up for Google’s mentions monitoring system to see when your website and/or business name is being used by other sources.
8. PPC. In many cases paying for clicks is the best short-term marketing strategy Paid clicks deliver visitors to your site, right away. If your offer is good, people will buy. For added success, you can spend more time optimizing your PPC campaign on Google, Yelp, BING, Facebook, etc.
9. Onsite SEO. Must use the following techniques:
Besides common on-page SEO optimization we recommend to improve your on page local optimization features like your local SEO setting. And again, be sure to optimize your Google My Business profile.
10. Be on top, optimize it. Constantly monitor your results (i.e., “targeted“ traffic (- not ”total” traffic), bounce rate, average time on site, ranking reports, conversion rate, SEO stats, new subscribers, reviews etc. If something doesn’t work today, it might work tomorrow, Don’t give up too fast. Learn the process and consult with us. We are local Chicago SEO professionals and an award-winning web development and digital marketing agencies serving not just the Midwest, but businesses all over the globe.
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