Search Engine Optimization (SEO) offers both a wide net and a local net approach. If you pull from the local population for the majority of your business, you will want to consider adding some additional profile work and listings to ensure that local people can find you easily.
Who should consider using a local SEO strategy? Single-location service area businesses such as massage therapists, farriers, veterinarians, and saddle fitters. Anyone who is working out of a radius with a dedicated office falls under this category.
Beyond the on-page site optimization and performance guidelines for regular SEO, such as using good keywords in your title tags, clean URLs and indexable menus, there are additional things that should be created.
- Be sure your NAP (name, address and phone number) is indexable and not a graphic.
- Create local landing pages (aka city/service pages) These are key if you are a single-location service provider.
If you pull in business outside of your city, the question becomes then how to best represent this fact. If you travel and work in the area, say between Rochester and Buffalo, you will need to work on organic rankings, not local, to cast a wider net and not lock into one or the other.
One of the recommended ways to do this is to create a top menu link under something like Areas We Serve, or Locations, and build a sub-page under this section for each main city you need to target. This is not as important for your customer to find (although a good thing), but for search engines to register your business for each of these. This way, if someone searches for “Batavia farrier” your business will result in those returns.
When your business casts a state-wide net, say as a specialized equine stable designer that will travel to the customer’s location, you need to build a state-specific page that supports “New York State stable designer.”
3. If you have multiple office locations with a physical presence, you can also create a Google+ page for each of those. Google prohibits using PO boxes or any other sort of virtual address to add locations.
4. Brick and mortar businesses should add Google My Business Page information regarding hours, pictures, map locations, add reviews, your website, and contact information and adjust what people see with a mobile view. Learn how to set this all up here: https://www.google.com/business/
If you have a home office or you are mobile (e.g. farrier or massage therapist) or you work from a physical location and remotely it can be confusing. If you have a real, physical office, use that address. If you work from home, list that address. If you only have a virtual office, do not use this address, use your home address instead.
5. Use schema markup. In non-programmer speak, this is code that you add to your website on the back end to give more dialed-in information to a person searching for your type of business. Schema not only gives the data about your business it explains what the data means and puts it into a context, to narrow down that information even further. There are specific types of code for different kinds of businesses, so work with your programmer to identify what you need to use. To begin setting this up, use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper This tool walks you through collecting and building the key data to be added in just minutes. It will also help to identify areas on your homepage that need work. Add the resulting code to your website.
6. Once your new schema markup is in place, you need to submit your site to the top citation sites that sort by category. Citations are currently thought to be a key element in elevating your SEO ranking by the experts at large. This is a listing in a specific business category (ie. restaurant) in local search sources, such as Yelp, Yellow Pages or Manta. Listing your service with these along with your contact information gives you more chances that someone will see your listing in addition to your regular website. Be sure to update these listings if you move location or change phone numbers. Nothing is more aggravating from a customer viewpoint than finding what you need, but not the current contact information.
7. Now that you are able to funnel more traffic to your site, does your site have compelling call-to-action front and center? Also known as a CTA in the trade, your call-to-action can bring in a good percentage of new business when done well. I love this article from Hubspot on what makes a great and actionable CTA.
And there you have seven key steps in setting up Local SEO and becoming easier to find online in your neighborhood or rural county spread. If you have questions about this topic or just don’t want to deal with this all by yourself, please give me a call!