For small businesses across the globe, local SEO is the way to have a fair chance to compete against the conglomerates operating in their locations.
Thanks to local SEO, the times when a big and fancy franchise business would put a hardworking local organization out of business have passed us. Local SEO has leveled the playing field.
With that said, none of this is breaking news. Local SEO and its benefits for local businesses have been known for some years now.
So why is it that certain businesses are able to enjoy incredible benefits from local SEO while others are still struggling to bring in relevant traffic?
If you have found yourself and your business in the latter category, make sure you are not committing any of these SEO mistakes:
Not Having The Basics Right
As the expert in SEO Frederick MD, we have worked with a number of clients that have already engaged themselves with complex SEO tasks like backlink building and technical SEO without getting their local SEO basics right.
Before you start worrying about why your SEO efforts are not making the needle move, make sure you get the following basics right:
NAP Consistency: NAP is short for name, address, and phone number. This information about your business is uploaded on a number of platforms including business directories, social media properties, your own website, and other listing websites. Inconsistency in these information signals will prevent search engine crawlers from associating these mentions with your website.
So, make sure your business’ NAP information is consistent across various platforms and websites.
Google My Business: Creating a Google My Business account is easy and effective. It shows your business in the list of local businesses displayed for relevant keywords and improves visibility.
Listing In Local Directories: Listing your business in business directories like Yelp and local business directories that are relevant to your location is a great opportunity to build some quality links while also becoming visible to the hundreds/thousands of people using these platforms to search for products and services.
Collecting Reviews: If you aren’t collecting reviews, you are not using your online presence to its full potential. People listen to other people with social proof and word-of-mouth still having serious marketing potential. Reviews are one of the easiest ways to tap into this potential and build trust and credibility around your business.
Not Creating Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal buyer, based on educated guesses and real customer insights.
Creating buyer personas can inform various marketing efforts by telling you who exactly you are selling to and how they like to make purchases.
With respect to search engine optimization, buyer personas can help you understand what kind of keywords your audience is using to search for your products/services.
Further, it will help you understand the intent behind these search terms.
For example, we are a Maryland search engine optimization company and one of our buyer personas are local business owners that want to rank better on search engine result pages (SERPs).
Now, we know that when they search with the terms “local SEO guide”, their intent is informational. It means, we know that our clients are looking for a guide about local SEO and not looking to purchase a local SEO service.
Hence, we have produced this blog article.
Knowing who you are selling to, what their process of researching before purchasing is, and how you can add value to the process is the key to selecting the right keywords and producing the right content around those keywords.
Producing Thin Content
Speaking of producing content, if you have been operating a business on the web, you may have already come across several articles and videos talking about the importance of content for SEO.
This is because it’s absolutely true. Content is the lifeblood of any impactful SEO strategy.
However, simply producing content that targets the ‘right’ keywords and intent is not enough. You must also ensure your content is high quality and exhaustive.
If you want your content to truly make a positive difference to the SEO performance of your website, try to do these three things with your content:
- Invest in long-form content
One of the attributes that qualifies any content piece as ‘thin’ is the short length of the content. This is a bad thing because many people, even your potential customers, are using search engines to look for information.
Search engines, in turn, want to improve the experience of users on their platforms by offering them quality information.
While it is not always true, more often than not, a longer piece of content is better at resolving queries and thus, is associated with better quality and positive user experience by search engines and other websites alike.
Why does the opinion of other websites matter? Because you are dependent on links from said other websites in order to rank well on the search engines.
Google’s and other website’s affinity towards long-form articles is not a secret. So, try to produce information-filled long-form articles whenever and wherever possible.
- Make your content exhaustive
Exhaustive content also solves the same problem that long-form content solves. It gives users access to the information they are looking for.
In most cases, exhaustive articles are long-form articles. Besides the now obvious SEO benefits of exhaustive articles that were discussed in the previous point, they provide your website with one other significant benefit- reduced bounce rates.
A ‘bounce’ happens when a user visits your website through the SERPs and leaves without visiting other pages. A bounce is usually associated with users not being able to find the desired information on the website they visited. As a result, a high bounce rate is considered a negative ranking signal and may affect your websites’ search engine performance.
On the other hand, an exhaustive piece of content will not just ensure that the users don’t have to visit other websites to look for the information they desire, it will also mean that they may like your content and feel motivated to check out other articles on your website.
- Sprinkle content with links to other relevant content offers/assets
Internal linking is an incredibly important and surprisingly overlooked area of many SEO strategies.
Internal linking ensures that the backlink ‘juice’ from your backlink profile reaches and benefits pages that don’t have any backlinks. In many industries, building backlinks for product or service pages is a huge challenge and internal linking is a great way to overcome this challenge.
However, that’s not all that internal linking does.
By internally linking your blog posts, you can further reduce the bounce rate on your website while also delighting your visitors with additional information that is relevant and useful for them.
- Make use of visuals
I know producing visuals is a pain when you are not a full-time content creator. However, the online world is becoming increasingly visual, and sharing high-quality visuals with your audience is critical to ensuring success.
Not only do SEO-optimized images allow you to rank your website in the Google Image Search results, but they also improve the user’s experience on your website. For instance, one study proved that when text is accompanied by visuals, it increases people’s desire to read the text-based content by a whopping 80%!
There have been countless studies and surveys that have proven the effectiveness of visuals in all areas of digital marketing, and not just SEO.
Succeeding with local SEO is full of challenges. Not making mistakes like producing thin content or not taking the time to know your buyers will enable you with the time and the energy you need to overcome the real challenges associated with local SEO.
Got questions? Drop them in the comment section. We promise to be prompt with our replies.