On-page SEO Guide for Local Businesses
Technology has changed how people buy things. They used to go into a store and browse for what they wanted, but now it’s easier just to get on the computer or your phone and find whatever you’re looking for right away.
Technology is transforming commerce as we know it by changing both where buyers conduct their product searches (online platforms are first stop) and when sellers should market themselves (local vendors can be reached during off-peak hours).
In the modern age, where we live our lives on and offline, a stable online presence is vital for any business to be competitive. It’s not enough just to have an attractive website anymore; you need your website to rank highly in search engine rankings as well.
As a local business looking to dominate the market in your town or neighborhood, nothing can be as advantageous as appearing on the first page of search engine results for local queries. But how do you get here? It is the magic of on-page SEO. Yes, if you learn to do it right, following the white-hat SEO strategies I’m about to explain, the results could work wonders for you.
How do search engines determine a local website rank?
While there are many search engines crawling millions of web pages every day, Google has the biggest market share with roughly 90 percent of total searches. So ranking with Google should be your primary concern. Besides, I have always found it harder to rank on Google than the others which usually gives you a nice surprise when you can’t get on the first page of Google but are already top of Bing.
Google algorithms including Medic and RankBrain consider multiple factors known as web ranking parameters to deliver the most relevant results for any query and consequently dictate the ranking of sites. Previously, the algorithms would target web content quality, user experience, and mobile usability. However, pinpointing the specific Google algorithms and their corresponding target ranking factors now remain unclear as algorithm updates are shrouded in secrecy. Nevertheless, employing the appropriate SEO strategies continue to bear fruit for local businesses.
What are the white-hat local on-page SEO strategies?
The concept of search engine optimization may sound complicated especially if you’re just starting an online journey for your business. But it doesn’t have to be. To help your business rank higher for local search results, here are relevant SEO tips for attracting organic traffic.
Optimize your meta tags
Meta tags act as the first point of contact between your website and the search engines. They give the search engine bots information about your site, therefore, must be optimized for greater results.
In the Meta title, precisely outline the products or services you offer and the coverage area. The meta description should contain the items you deal in and the region, as these should form your ranking keywords. Noteworthy, the Metadata will always appear right below your website URL in search results. Therefore, as much as you would want to optimize them for SEO, ensure they remain captivating to grab your customers’ attention.
Boost your page loading speeds
In the online world, a difference of milliseconds is enough to draw users or turn them away. Since search engines like Google are committed to enhancing user experience, websites that load slowly and are difficult to navigate can result in low ranking on the SERPs.
To ensure your business is in Google’s good books, optimize your page loading elements including image-rendering speeds, and ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Free tools such as PageSpeed Insights by Google and Pingdom can help you evaluate the speed performance of your website and know what to optimize. Improving web speed improves user experience and attracts a higher ranking for local businesses in the SERPs.
Set up a site-wide schema markup
Schema markup may not be directly visible to the web users but it enhances their experience by helping search engines return more relevant search results. The schema markup is a code that gives Google information on the type of content on your site and forms part of the rich snippets. Google accommodates markups for several types of data that will boost your local SEO.
You don’t need to be a coding expert to set a schema markup, the Google Structured Data Markup Helper can assist you to get the job done without any coding skills.
Update your local address on the website
As simple as it may sound, local businesses intending to reach a wider base of prospective customers often neglect this step. Besides improving your listing in the search engines, including a local address creates trust between the page visitors and adds credibility to your business.
But what do you do if your business is registered in a different location and you don’t want to display the physical address on the website? Consider the services of a virtual office provider in the targeted neighborhood. After setting up a virtual address, list it on the site.
Add your business to the online web directories
Submitting your business to multiple, credible online directories guarantees additional exposure and boosts your local SEO. The only requirement is that the name, address, and phone number need to be consistent throughout the different platforms to ensure that search engines return accurate information to the users.
For a head start, here is a list of web directories you can submit your website to. Remember to keep the login details for every directory so that you can update any future changes in the business as they occur without much struggle. The process of registering and keeping an account of the online web directories is time-consuming but worth undertaking.
Claim Google My Business (GMB) listing for your enterprise
Among the several online directories for local businesses, Google My Business ranks top. A local directory by Google, GMB increases the probability of your business being listed in the famous search engine’s 3-pack. Google 3-pack refers to the top three SERP results for local queries. With the GMB listing and popular reviews, the chances of your business appearing in the Google 3-pack are high which means greater exposure to prospective clients.
The listing on GMB is free and you can begin the process right away by heading to the Google My Business suite. Keep the NAP details in sync with the listings on the other online directories. Every detail should be in the same order as the previous listings and remember to select the right category for your business. Once you register, you will need to verify the site before Google indexes it. Audiovisuals are an excellent way of making your GMB listing more interactive both with users and Google’s crawler bots. I dedicated a whole blog to the Benefits of GMB.
Request for Customer Reviews
As you continue to offer amazing services to your clients, ask some of them to drop their genuine reviews on the various platforms including Trustpilot, Tripadvisor without forgetting Google My Business. Apart from reviews adding credibility to a business, they enhance the ranking on local SERPs especially if they are positive.
On-page optimisation of SEO remains a cornerstone for businesses that want to attract a wider base of clients in their local areas. The aforementioned strategies will help your business gain a competitive edge in this data-driven era. If you would like some help with this, please see my London SEO services page to see all my services.