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SEO Strategies for Local Businesses

June 22, 2019
Posted in SEO
June 22, 2019 hilartech

SEO Strategies for Local Businesses

Local SEO Strategies for Businesses

WHO NEEDS SEO?

You, the business owner.

This informative article is for the ambitious business owner who wants their website to perform better. From our experience, business owners don’t use fundamental SEO concepts correctly. We hope to change that.

HOW MUCH OF THIS ARTICLE SHOULD YOU READ?

Well, all of it! If you are serious about your business and the exponential value a website can bring. Then it is imperative for you to read every chapter we publish every month.

Failure to Launch

Most websites underperform due to poor SEO

If you are reading this Beginners Guide to SEO then there is a solid chance your website is failing right now.

Why do I know this? You have most likely built your website yourself.

Is this true? If you have not and you are one of the lucky ones that had a website design correctly from the beginning, then, I would commend you letting the technical experts handle one of the most important sales tools that help acquire new clients, your website.

Ideally, business owners should stick to running their business instead of trying to be a Digital Marketer & Web Design expert. Just because there are cheap DIY website services such as WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify, Sitebuilder, and many others, doesn’t mean your website will perform well.

I know, these DIY website services only cost around $10 a month, which makes the web design process very affordable.

But, this is where most business owners fall into this vortex of trying to become a web design expert overnight by thinking that they can build a website.

This wild idea that customers will automatically flock to their website to purchase their products and services. Wrong. This is a work of pure fiction.

This is unrealistic because most people do not know to understand web design theory and technical search engine optimization (SEO) requirements and cutting-edge Google ranking techniques like On Page, Off Page, and Technical SEO. I will talk about these in great detail in the next few chapters.

Why am I saying this?

I am not trying to offend or cast judgment, but if I wanted to start an electrician business. I wouldn’t put an advertisement in the paper that offers electrical services without having a complete understanding of voltage theory and electrical design. More importantly, there are certain industry level certifications required before one can call themselves an Electrician.

This is very similar to the backbone of your website. Integrating the three pillars of SEO is critical to whether your website succeeds or not. If you do not have your website built on a solid foundation, it will under-perform every time.

I cannot stress this enough; SEO is an absolute must-have for a website to perform correctly in today’s online ecosystem.

Would you trust an amateur to design your website?

Well, from my 20 plus years of SEO & web design experience, I have yet to meet a business owner who designed their own website with one of these DIY website design platforms and is currently crushing their competition.

Now, I am not saying that these mainstream DIY website design services are bad, I am saying that I have not met a single business owner who knows how to incorporate each aspect of SEO fundamentals required by Google that ensure their website will be competing against their respective niche market.

There are three main reasons why business owners don’t see the results they imagined:

  1. The website was put together without the understanding the fundamentals of web design theory (Websites have a specific layout that Google bots love. If your website’s structured data is not formatted correctly, Google will not index or recognize the content on your website)
  2. The website’s code is not optimized for correctly for Google & Bing search engines (I will talk more about this later in the article)
  3. Most of all, the website does not have On Page & Off Page SEO, you will likely not get any traffic to your website. This process is more of an art form. This will be discussed in detail in the next few chapters.

“Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results.”

Google

On Page SEO Strategies.

Why should you care…

The perfect webpage is next to impossible because whether the content is quality or not is completely subjective to that current reader. This is why On-Page SEO is so important because users come and go, but your content must perform to the best of its ability each time as well.

You may ask, how do I get my content to perform well? Well, there are many factors that enable a web page to perform well.

Seven core elements of a well-optimized page

Inspired by Moz’s Rand Fishkin

One: Uniquely Valuable.

Your content must be valuable to the reader. If it doesn’t capture the reader’s attention then that piece of content is basically useless.

There are several factors that help boost the value of the content, like high-quality images, catchy titles, shared throughout social media with actual comments, and those that find your content and don’t leave because it is of high value to them.

Two: Provides Phenomenal UX.

Now don’t get fired up or defensive, but your website should not be insanely ugly. It has to be attractive and appealing to the eye.

A lot of websites I visit today are bogged down with unnecessary graphics and misaligned text. Not to mention the horrible user interface, affectionately called the UX.

The UX must be responsive to different devices with varying screen sizes. Plus, your website must load fast. For myself, I despise waiting for a web page to load.

There are many factors that a web page to load slow, but I won’t get into that now. I will cover this in Chapter 3, Technical SEO Strategies.

Three: Keyword-Targeted.

This is obvious for most, targeted keywords. This may simplistic, but I can assure you, it is not.

There are countless hours spent on keyword research in order to maximize the impact of the search term or phrase used by the end user.

When structuring your webpage or blog post, it is imperative to incorporate your keyword phrase in the URL, in the Title of the page, and the content.

More importantly, using latent semantic indexing (LSI) phrases within the content. As you read on, you will learn more about the dynamics of LSI phrases and how valuable it is to use.

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Four: Built to be Shared through Social Networks.

I know what you are thinking, “I have sharing buttons on my blog article, isn’t that enough?” Well, the answer is, that is one factor, but it isn’t the whole package.

Your URL must be descriptive so when it is shared on Social Media, the words within your link capture the reader’s attention. The main factor that most people overlook is Twitter and Facebook Open Graph meta-structure.

There are simple SEO plugins that make this very easy to create the right tags, descriptions, and high-resolution images. Yoast SEO plugin is what I recommend. I will discuss Open-Graph more in detail further down this page.

Five: Multi-Device Ready.

Have you ever when to a website on your desktop and it looks perfect?

Atheistically it looks ok. But when you bring up the very same website on your phone, the text is misaligned and the images are either too small or bleeding over the margins?

This is because the website is likely not responsive, meaning the webpage does not render to various screen sizes or it doesn’t render correctly with that specific web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or DuckDuckgo.

Six: Crawler Accessibility for Google & Bing Bots.

This is likely the area that intimidates most amateur DIY web designers and quite frankly, even those the design websites on a daily basis.

There are many elements that need to be addressed for your webpage to indexed correctly by Google or Bing. That is making sure the Technical SEO (Chapter 3) functionality is working for you instead of against you.

The Bots must be able to crawl your webpage correctly without being blocked by outdated 301 redirects or rel=canonical. Or the URL should have dynamic parameters instead of it being static or does the key page meta tag elements for the Title, URL, and Meta Description exceed the character limit?

I will cover meta tags more in detail further down this page.

Seven: Authorship, Meta Data, Schema & Rich Snippets.

This area is a blend of On Page & Technical SEO, so please do not get intimidated. I know the technical side gets most people nervous. Trust me, I understand why.

For Authorship, it is ideal for the author/publisher in the markup to match the profiles in Google+ for Google to align the right attribution. Along with making sure the meta description is attractive when it is displayed in the Google search results.

More importantly, having the description contain the primary keyword or keyword LSI phrases, to include secondary keywords. I provide some good examples below in the Meta Description section of this page.

TITLE TAGS

Your page titles, or better known as Title Tags, hands down are the important visible SEO practice. When doing a Google search, the title is the group of words which you click. It should be enticing and succinct.

Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of your title tag. It is ideal to keep your title tag below the 60-character count for it to appear properly. I highly recommend using Moz’s title tag preview tool

META DESCRIPTION

This is probably one of the most overlooked SEO technique that is ignored. Meta Descriptions are the visible 1 to 2 lines that describe what your page is all about in the Google search results. This is a critical element for On Page SEO.

Provided by Yoast SEO for WordPress.

Avoid Duplicate Meta Descriptions. Having duplicate meta descriptions on your website will impact your Google Rankings.

META TAGS

These are your keywords or key phrases that tell Google what the topic areas your content covers.

For example, if your niche is landscaping, your typical keywords could be “landscaping”, but using a more logical search phrase, called Long Tail Keyword phrase search could look like this, “landscaping services near me”.

There is a distinct difference. When most people search in Google, they use long tail keyword phrases to conduct their search, not single words. With this in mind, we always use keyword phrases inside of our meta tags.

LONG TAIL KEYWORD PHRASES

70% of all traffic on Google is comprised of long tail keyword phrases. Source: Vizlly.com

The most important qualities that you should pay attention to when researching keywords are:

Competition. Long tail keywords are much easier to target compared to generic “head” keywords. Sometimes, it may be quite enough just to optimize a web-page with properly selected long tail keywords to get into the Top 10 of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), even without getting any backlinks.

Relevancy. Long tail search phrases are highly relevant to specific niches and usually, reflect searcher’s intent more precisely compared to generic phrases. Source: Vizlly.com

Shorter the better.

URL STRUCTURE

But one of the untold factors that impact URL rankings is the location of the keywords. For example:

Yourdomainurl.com/keyword would perform better than Yourdomainurl.com/portfolio/738/consulting-services/financial.

The simple logic is, every time you see a forward slash “/”, this is another folder directory. This adds another layer of complexity for Google to figure out what your page is all about.

But if your URL structure is Yourdomainurl.com/consulting-services, this is succinct and tells Google exactly what your page niche is.

Create Transparent URLs.

Make sure your URLs are simple to read for the end user. People don’t trust URLs that conceal the true nature of the link.

Choose a URL that you think is best?

http://youraddress.com/123456/jekglsognj

or

http://youraddress.com/Abbreviated-Key-phrase

What URL would you choose?

Take a look at these URLs above. As you can see, the first URL is very clear about the topic. The second URL gets a bit confusing, but the third URL may damage your device with malware?

BODY TAGS

In my professional opinion, this is one of the most commonly overlooked On-page SEO technique that is completely ignored.
These are the titles at each new section of your webpage. These tags tell Google which is the Title of the page (H1), and which areas are subheadings (H2, H3, H4, H5, H6).

Formatting your Heading Tags in WordPress, there is a simple way to properly structure your blog article postings with the proper H1, H2, H3 Heading tags. Just use the menu located about your post text input area to select the Body Tag heading you desire.

If you are using HTML code in the text editor, use HTML heading code tags when formatting your blog article post. Pay attention to the opening and closing tag.

KEYWORD DENSITY

Now, this is one of my favorite parts of designing a webpage. This is a true art form. This is more of a creative writing technique than just choosing a simple word that matches your content.

There is a density factor that one must follow in order, not to overdo your keyword usage. The content to keyword ratio is 2-5% according to leading online marketing SEO experts.

This is where the art form kicks in. Using latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords or long tail keyword phrases.

For instance, instead of using the word [Apple] throughout your blog article, use LSI phrases to spread out your keyword phrases, more importantly, it helps Google completely understand your content.

For example – Search engine discovers a page with the word [Apple] on it, how does it differentiate whether the Apple is a fruit, Apple is a named corporate brand or Apple is a name of a household pet?

It uses LSI keywords, if there are words like fruit, taste, flavor in the blog article then it would be easy Google to determine that the article is all about the “Apple, the fruit”.

Hence in this example fruit, taste and flavor can be termed as LSI keywords for keyword “Apple”. Does this make sense? Feel free to leave me a comment and I can into further detail.

Keyword Density Formula

This formula is not an exact science, but more of a guide to follow when writing your content.

Keyword amount can be computed by taking the number of words in the blog article or webpage content and dividing it by the density required.

So in a 500-word text is to keep the goal of 2 to 5% keyword density, your formula would be:
500 x .03= 15

This is very important because you want your content to sound natural by not having a bunch of keywords littered throughout your article.

For example, if your blog article was about “cute puppies“, you would distract the reader by using the keyword phrase, the cute puppies jumped on the couch, or the cute puppies just took a bath, or the cute puppies are so adorable”.

You get the point, this doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t read well and it looks like someone is purposing jamming the phrase “cute puppies” into every sentence they can.

Take my advice, follow the simple rule, only use keyword phrase sparingly. Don’t be excessive, it will cost you rankings in Google.

IMAGE SEO

Images are definitely a must-have when you are creating web copy or a blog article. It is an awesome way to illustrate a story with long content.

In regards to SEO, images provide a lot of value to your on-page content because images have title tags, meta description, and alt-tags that tell Google exactly what the image is about. A great way to boost your content for that page is blending in the different SEO keywords into your images as well.

According to Yoast, follow this image SEO checklist outline because it has important factors one must consider when inserting an image into your content.
Use a relevant image that matches your text.

Pick the right file name for your image. The file name should match the content of the image. This helps Google understand exactly what is within the image.

Make sure image dimensions match the image size as displayed. I know this may seem trivial, but if your image files state it is 200×200 pixel size, but it is actually 1280×670 pixels.

This is will impact your page load speed because everything that happens behind the scenes is based on mathematical formulas and principles.

Image size matters when the UX factors in how much processing power is needed to load your image. If your code states the image is small but it is actually a very large, it will actually slow down the loading speed. This will cause you to lose traffic to your website. Because who likes a slow webpage? I don’t.

Use srcset if possible. This tool optimizes the size of your image when different screen sizes are used to view your content.

Reduce file size for faster loading. There are a lot of tools that can be used to compress the images on your server. Most images don’t need to be massive files in order to view it correctly on a webpage.

Add a caption for easier scanning of the page. This is pretty self-explanatory. Captions are typically a view words in a string that appears to be the title for the image.
Use an image alt text, the title text is optional. I highly recommend adding alt text to every image. This is where you can insert long tail keyword phrases or LSI keywords.

Alignment of your content. Aligning your images correctly will create a better reading experience for your readers.

OPEN GRAPH AND TWITTER CARDS

The hidden secret sauce behind which websites dominate their niche market sector.

Even if you don’t rely heavily on social media, your readers may. So, it is imperative to use a high-resolution image for this function. More importantly, you should write a short description that highlights the key points about your topic.

When your content is shared, you want a stylish graphic appended to the link back to your page or blog article.

Yoast Open Graph for Facebook & Twitter

This is exactly how the Yoast SEO plugin formats the Open-Graph for Facebook & Twitter.

INTERNAL LINKING

Google bots love this technique.

This is a simple technique that should not be overlooked or ignored. More often than not, existing websites that I work on do not have internal links that link to similar content or cornerstone content on their respective website.

There are two very important factors on why internal linking is important. First and foremost, it helps users navigate throughout your website.

Secondly, it helps Google Bots find all of your pages and how they relate to one another.

For example, if you have a five or six pages of blog articles that all relate to one another, it is imperative to cross-link to relevant content.

Then within each of these articles, you can use anchor text with hyperlinks to point to a product or service you are selling.

Congratulations! You just reached the end of this article. By now, if you didn’t already, you should have a certain level of comfort for what is required for On-Page SEO. Just follow the checklist and I am confident you will be fine.

While you are doing your research, I highly recommend using these really powerful tools when conducting your keyword research, SEMRUSH, MOZ, and BUZZSUMO.

After you completed this, make sure you submit your website’s sitemap to Google Search Console for indexing. Also, if you want to take it a step further, you can use ASR Page Ranking Technology.

If you have any questions, please comment below and I will respond as soon as I can.

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