8 local SEO best practices that you should consider in 2021
If you want your business to be successful, you need to optimise your website from an SEO perspective. If you don’t do so, you will be missing a lot of opportunities. If your website does not appear on the first page of Google when a user searches for a relevant keyword, you are losing about 90% of the clicks from potential customers. This means that if your website does not appear on the first page of Google, less than 10% of all the people who could have landed on your website will actually reach it.
This basically means that if your website does not appear within the top ten results of Google’s first page when your target keywords are searched, you will become invisible. Because of that, it is essential to optimise for search engine optimisation, and have a good SEO strategy that works.
There are many strategies that you can follow to improve the SEO of your website. If you don’t follow these strategies, it is almost impossible for your website to rank #1 on Google’s SERPs . By having an SEO strategy in place you will be increasing your visibility and, as a result, you will get a number of benefits, such as more visits to your webpages, more people and potential customers will be able to know you, and you will ultimately increase the volume of sales through your online channels.
Here we discuss 8 SEO techniques that you can implement to your online marketing strategy to rank higher on Google, and hence make your online business more successful. If you are a small business, the benefits and advantages that SEO can bring to you will be even more relevant, since a thorough SEO strategy will probably make your business grow.
What is SEO and why do I need it?
SEO or search engine optimisation comprises all the actions directed to improve the positioning and ranking of your website in a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo. By improving the ranking of your website in a search engine, you will get a number of advantages as described earlier. If you don’t have a good SEO in place, your online presence will probably struggle and you might end up being invisible on the Internet.
Thus, your primary goal should be to position your business’ website in the first ten positions of Google when your keywords are searched by a user, because if your site is not at the top ten results, it will be virtually invisible. You will be losing a number of great business opportunities.
SEO should be a key part of your marketing strategy because thanks to it, you will get more potential customers, your business will grow over time, and you will ultimately make more money. If your business is invisible online, the possibilities of success will decrease exponentially.
Another advantage that SEO brings to the table is that thanks to it you will be able to build your online reputation, increase brand credibility, and you will be able to create a relationship of trust with your potential customers.
Another great aspect of SEO is that you don’t need to spend large sums of money on it, while the results will be visible within a few months.
With the SEO techniques described throughout the following lines you will be able to create a successful SEO strategy for your business that will generate great business opportunities for your company.
1. BUILD YOUR WEBSITE IN A WAY THAT IT PRIORITISES USER INTENT
The user intent is the purpose set behind any search query. For example, if a user searches “flights to Thailand”, he or she will probably be looking to find websites in which flights to Thailand are offered, not a website that sells Thai food.
So the first thing you need to do to make your SEO strategy successful is making sure that you choose the right keywords for your site, and ensuring that your website appears at the right times.
There are generally 4 types of search intent:
- · First, you have the informational search intent, which is basically when you are searching for information about something. An example is when your search “What is the colour of a strawberry?”, and the right answer Google should give you is “red”.
- · Then you have the commercial search intent, this is when you are looking for a product to buy, but you haven’t decided yet the specific product you are going to purchase. For example, when you search for “best Bluetooth airphones”.
- · The transactional search intent occurs when your intent is to buy something specific. For example, when you search “buy MacBook pro”.
- · Finally, you have the navigational search intent, which occurs when you search for a specific website. For example, when you search “Instagram login”.
It is very important that you take into account these types of search intents, as your page has to appear in the correct search intent, if your website is a shop, maybe it should appear in the navigational search intent, but if you have a part dedicated to information about the product, maybe, it could appear in the informational or transactional search intents. You need to deeply study the keywords you use, so your page shows up for the correct search intent.
If you don’t do this correctly, you could get the contrary effect: if your webpage shows up when the user doesn’t want to see it, he or she will develop a negative feeling towards your brand.
2. USE THE RIGHT TITLE TAGS AND META DESCRIPTION
Today, the title tags and the meta descriptions are still important tags to get clicks to your website. Title tags are often featured in the search results as headlines and they are clickable. The use of title tags is critical for your SEO strategy. If you include words that are relevant for the performed search query, you will be more likely to get clicks and improve your SEO ranking.
With most search engines you can generally include around 50 to 60 characters in the title tags, so you need to think carefully the words you will add. You should try including your keywords in it, and write a title that matches potential relevant search intents. Moreover, the title should be descriptive, but also concise.
On the other hand, the meta description is the short description that is displayed in the SERP listing below the title tag. The meta description includes a short description of your webpage. With search engines such as Google, you can usually include around 160 characters.
It is advisable that you include your keywords and a brief description to match potential search intents of users in your meta description.
3. OPTIMISE YOUR WEBPAGES
This is fundamental for a successful SEO strategy. If your webpages are not fast, users will end up spending too much time waiting, they will get frustrated and they will just go to another site. Google penalises slow sites and as a consequence, your rankings will drop.
There are a number of actions you can take to optimise the speed of your website. Firstly, a site that has a lot of visual content usually takes longer to load. A solution for this is to compress the images. You can also delete unnecessary plugins, reduce the number of redirects or reduce the server response time.
There are some tools you can use to check your website’s speed, such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights. With this tool you will be able to see how fast your website is, and from that point, you will be able to decide what to do in order to increase the speed.
4. SET UP AN ACCOUNT IN GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Google My Business is a free tool developed by Google, where you can manage your online local presence. It allows you to manage your local presence in Google Search and Google Maps.
If you add your business to Google My Business, when your target keywords are searched by a user your business will be more likely to show up higher than other businesses in Google’s local results or map results. Thanks to this tool, your business will be displayed featuring your physical location and website.
If you decide to go for Google My Business, you need to do it properly and optimise your listing. To do so, you should fill in all the details (location, working hours, business category, website link…). You can also add quick reservations URLs and allow a space for questions, upload high quality images of your business, and finally, update it regularly, whenever you have some new information or something to share.
5. ADD THE PRESENCE OF YOUR BUSINESS TO LOCAL DIRECTORIES
Adding your business to local listing is fundamental, as it is like telling Google that your business is trustworthy and has a good reputation. The more citations you have in directories, the more stronger your business’ local presence will be. Some reputed directories in which you can add your business are Yelp, Citysearch, Manta or YellowPages.
As it happens with Google My Business, it is essential that in these directories you also enter all the information about your business, think of it as a business card, where users can check all the information about your business. Good reviews and comments are always positive, as they increase the trust users have in your business.
6. MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER ACROSS DIFFERENT PLATFORMS AND SITES
Once you have added your business to Google My Business and to local business listings, it is important that you maintain the same name, address and mobile phone for your business, because users will find you thanks to the name, address and phone you have entered.
Having a consistent name, address, phone number and other details will generate the perception that your business is more trustworthy.
7. START A BLOG
Creating a blog about your business or connected to your industry will most certainly improve your SEO efforts. Having a blog shows that you are an expert in the field you are working on, as you will be sharing content related to the field of your business.
Having a blog brings many advantages for your SEO strategy, as it will provide users with useful information, which will increase the trust they have in your brand. It will also allow you to build a relationship with your clients, it will allow you to drive qualifed traffic, and ultimately, to tell Google that your business is trustworthy.
A blog is the easiest and most straightforward way to implement a content marketing strategy for your business. You will also be able to implement some internal linking.
8. MAKE SURE YOUR SITE IS MOBILE-FRIENDLY
Nowadays, most people use their mobile phones to surf the Internet. Because of this, it is vital for your website to be optimised for mobile devices because if it is not, you will be losing all those users who access the Internet from their mobile phones.
You can have a site that is very fast, easy to navigate and interactive in the desktop version, but if the website doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, your efforts to make the website so attractive will not have any reward in the long run.
Finally, you have to make sure that your mobile-optimised website is fast, interactive and easy as well.
If you implement all these techniques to your SEO strategy, your business will grow and will eventually become stronger. SEO might seem a little complicated at the beginning, but in the long run it will definitely be helpful for your business as it can happen to be the main source of qualified traffic for your site. So be patient, because you might be able to see excellent results in the not-so-far future.
The author of this article is Leyre Ínigo Lázaro. She is a digital marketing executive at Gloc Media. Leyre studied a double degree in International Relations and a bachelor in Global Communication at the University Of Comillas in Madrid. She is a very creative and determined person. She always has new projects in mind and love to overcome challenges.