At American Spirit Technology Group, we get a lot of questions regarding SEO and what's best for one's website. With that in mind, we thought we'd try to shed some light on Local SEO and what it can do for your business.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is a form of Search Engine Optimization that focuses on your local service area to bring in more customers from the search engines, which is inherently helpful for small businesses. For instance, your local Target department store wants to show up in their local area rather than across the whole nation, so they take a targeted approach (pun intended) with local SEO. On the other hand, a national business such as LiveEdit wants to show up across the nation, so we focus on overall SEO instead.
Local SEO takes a "website first" approach by making sure all of your content is optimized with local area keywords, proper pages titles & descriptions, proper use of header tags, image tagging and more. That's not to say it's all you can do to improve your local SEO, but by following these steps listed below, you should see an uptick in organic traffic (website traffic that flows in from the search engines) and a better ranking locally.
Use Relevant Keywords
Search engines rank and index your website based on keywords and keyphrases that exist within your content. For example, if you run a hot yoga studio in Miami, FL, your customers might search for “hot yoga Miami.” Consider what words that your customers may be using to find you and apply them to your website. Use them as often as possible in headings, body copy and alt text on your website’s images. Don't be afraid to reference surrounding cities in your copy as that can help you show up more in those areas. If you want to rank for something, you need to talk about it!
Page Titles & Page Descriptions
When you create pages on your LiveEdit website, you need to populate the page titles & page descriptions. Make sure that you title your page with a relevant keyword that describes the page. When our SEO Specialists write these tags, they follow a simple format of "PAGE KEYWORD | BUSINESS NAME | LOCATION." Try to write this using 60 characters or less.
The page descriptions are the short blurbs that you see in search results that describe the page. Consider writing up a summary of that pages contents in 156 characters or less. It may be difficult to fit all you want, but it's well worth the trouble!
Be sure that each of your website’s pages include a relevant page header that’s set as an H1 (Header 1). Header 1 is the most important header of the 6 and should be used only 1 time at the top of the page. The Header 1 tag carries the most SEO weight of the headers, and using it more than once will only dilute it's power. Once you use that H1 tag, follow it up with Header 2 or Header 3 tags depending on your content. Some pages will only have a H1, some will have an H1, H2, and H3 tags. It all depends on the content and how it's formatted on the page.
Submit Your Website to the Search Engines For Quick Re-Indexing
Once your site is launched, you should submit it to search engines. Doing so sends them a request to crawl your website’s information and signals them that there’s new content on the internet for them to find. You can submit your site to Google here. Google Webmasters Tools/Search Console can give you valuable insight into what pages your customers are visiting, as well as gives you tools to submit sitemaps, set international targeting for your website and more! If you'd like to get a more in-depth look at your web traffic, create a Google Anayltics account.
Use Your Location To Your Advantage
If your business has a physical location, you want to attract customers there, right? Search engines can help with that too! Be sure that your address and phone number appears on every page of your site (an easy way to make that happen is by placing the content in the footer of your website). This helps search engines connect the dots and associate your business with a locale. You can also submit your website to online listing sites like Yelp!, Google My Business and the like to help boost your search ranking and results.
You might be telling yourself… “this all sounds great, but I have no idea what I’m doing!” That’s OK.
Keep educating yourself and take it one step at a time and remember that every little bit really does help in promoting your website. We have helpful guides the education portal so be sure to check those out and it you still have questions or concerns, reach out to our support team or schedule a one-on-one SEO consultation! A member of our SEO team will review your website with you and give you guidance on the the steps you should be taking with your site specifically.