Do you know that 46% of all Google searches are done to find local information? In fact, “near me” and “close by” type searches have grown by more than 900% in the past couple of years. These stats are a testament to the fact that local SEO plays a bigger part than what the initial insights have suggested earlier. And if you want to boost the visibility of your small, local business on online searches, you need to focus on local SEO of your website in 2019.
However, local SEO is also affected by the continuous Google algorithm updates. While some of the updates may be in your favor, some can make it difficult for you to get a top rank in local search results. Although you should always stay vigilant about the changes in SEO requirements, it is also important that you learn what to do and what to avoid while working on the local SEO for your website. This article is going to be your guide.
Assess keywords before you use them
If you are into digital marketing for quite some time now, you must be aware of the fact that you cannot simply pick any keyword and build your content around it. It is absolutely important to choose the right keyword that can help you achieve your SEO goals.
Interestingly, you can measure certain keyword metrics before choosing to work with a keyword. A number of tools allow you to learn information such as the search volume, return rate, average clicks, etc. SEMRush or Moz are great tools to evaluate your keywords.
Focus on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords have already proven their worth in search engine optimization (especially for small businesses) by targeting niche areas. Needless to say, it will be a mistake if you do not target long-tail keywords to boost your local SEO in 2019.
Imagine you are running an assignment writing company in Sydney. If you choose the keyword “Australian property for sale,” it may not get you enough hits. However, “2 bedroom houses for sale in downtown Sydney” has a better chance of bringing more traffic to your website.
Create a “Google My Business” profile
“Google My Business” has become one of the crucial factors for local SEO in recent time. It is basically a tool that lets you provide Google all the necessary details that a consumer may look for in a local business. It is one of the many measures taken by Google to make search results more useful for users.
If you look for a specific business on Google, you’ll find all the necessary detail about the business at the right-hand side of the search engine results page (SERP). Of course, the business needs to provide Google with all the necessary details about it. If you create a similar kind of “Google My Business” profile, it can help the consumers to contact your business.
Develop a sitemap
When you build a website, search engine starts indexing all the pages on the website to display them in the relevant SERPs. Google has its own way of indexing different pages on a website. However, you can make it easier for search engines to crawl and further index each page by simply building a sitemap for your website.
If you are thinking about a business-rebrand, then it is absolutely essential to building a sitemap for your website. If not anything, this sitemap will help search engines recognize the site’s brand identity design and then provide it with a rank according to your brand reputation.
Optimize images on your website
You must realize that when a user makes a localized search, it is generally done on a mobile. In fact, Forrester predicts that by 2021, mobile devices will be responsible for more than $1.4 trillion local sales. If the images on your website are still not optimized for smaller screens, you cannot capitalize on these factors.
Most users perform local searches on their mobile while on the go. So, you need to make sure that the images and texts on your website are optimized for mobile devices. Also, ensure that the alt text and file names of the used images are relevant to the page.
“Too much of anything can be bad for you.” And it’s no different for keywords and local SEO. If you overuse a keyword on your website, it does more harm than good to your website ranking for local searches.
You need to maintain a specific keyword density while using a particular keyword and phrase. If you go beyond the recommended density, Google will identify keyword stuffing in the website and will penalize you for that.
Focusing on one location
If you run a large business that is operational in more than one location, you should not put your complete focus on improving the local SEO for a single location. It will restrict your online traffic to just one location of your business.
If you want growth for your overall business, you need to develop landing pages for all the locations you are available at. In the case of small businesses operating from a single location, creating a locally descriptive “About Us” page will do the trick.
Chasing irrelevant backlinks
Backlinks are often considered a crucial element for search engine optimization of a website. And most of SEO experts will suggest you gather high domain backlinks to boost your search rankings. However, if you put irrelevant backlinks in your content, it will do exactly the opposite.
For example, if you are writing a blog on “How to develop your WordPress website,” and you forcefully use a backlink for “Disney’s real estate properties”, it will not just look out of place but can also be the reason why you will lose your ranking on the Google search. Moreover, if a reader finds your website link to be irrelevant on a different website, it may increase the bounce rate of your site. And that’s not good for your SEO either.
Inconsistency in the NAP information online
In order to improve your visibility on the local searches, you will have to fill in different local directories (like yellow pages). This will definitely help you get more response from local customers. However, you need to make sure that your NAP information (Name, address and phone number) is the same throughout all online directories.
Having inconsistency in the NAP information in different sites can not only confuse the consumers but can also affect your online reputation. It is recommended to use a single template that includes all the correct information for this purpose.
Not linking your content internally
If you are uploading fresh content frequently on your website, it is ideal to link these articles with existing articles, so that new readers may get redirected to old posts. This is a fine idea to boost the traffic on your old work. If you are not doing that already, maybe it’s time to try it.
Internal links help to improve the ranks of existing pages. Moreover, these internal links allow visitors to navigate through the website quite smoothly, as they provide information architecture and help maintain the website hierarchy.
The relevance of local SEO will continue to increase for local and small business as we proceed further into the digital age. While this aforementioned guide may help you boost the local SEO activities for your website in 2019, you actually need to remain alert about the changes in Google algorithms to ensure sustainable growth in the future.