Jim Reynolds is the CEO of Sofia Marketing, a digital marketing agency specializing in Google Search optimization and paid ad management.
When it comes to local SEO, Google ranking is everything. You could have the most beautiful website and the best products or services, but if you’re not on the first page of Google, chances are you’re not going to get much traffic. When your potential customers are looking for your products or services online, they’re going to start with a Google search. If you’re not ranking on the first page, you’re missing out on valuable traffic that could be going to your website.
How do you get your website to rank higher in search results? As the CEO of a digital marketing agency specializing in Google Search optimization, I’d like to share seven local SEO tips that can help boost your rankings and get you more traffic.
1. Perform Keyword Research
The first step to ranking higher on Google is to do keyword research. Find out what potential customers are searching for when they’re looking for products or services like yours. Use these keywords throughout your website, including in your titles, headings and in the body of your content. For local SEO, here are some tips for finding the right keywords:
• Longtail Keywords
Longtail keywords are three or more keywords strung together that are specific to what you’re selling. For example, “plumber in Seattle” is a longtail keyword. This will improve your chances of ranking higher on Google because you’re targeting a specific location and keyword.
• Free and Paid Keyword Programs
There are free and paid programs that allow you to research keywords and their monthly search volume. These programs will also give you ideas for related keywords that you can target. Some of the best keyword research programs include Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool and Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
• Local Rankings
When you’re doing keyword research, it’s also important to check your local rankings. Use a program like Whitespark or BrightLocal to see where you rank for your target keywords in your city or town.
2. Create a GMB Account
GMB stands for Google My Business. This is a free listing that allows businesses to appear in Google’s Local Pack, which is the box that appears on the first page of Google with maps and contact information.
To create a GMB listing, follow these steps:
• Go to Google.com/business and sign in with your Google account.
• Enter your business name, address and phone number.
• Choose a category for your business.
• Add photos of your business, products or services.
• Verify your listing by phone or postcard.
To improve your GMB listing for local SEO, here are some musts:
• Completely fill out your profile.
• Add photos and videos.
• Get reviews.
3. Optimize for Mobile
With more and more people using their smartphones and mobile devices to search the internet, it’s important that your website is optimized for mobile. Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test that you can use to see how mobile-friendly your website is. If it needs work, there are a few things you can do to improve the mobile experience for your website visitors, including:
• Make sure your website loads quickly.
• Make sure your content is easy to read on a small screen.
• Make sure your buttons and links are easy to click on a mobile device.
• Make sure your website is responsive, meaning it will adjust to any screen size.
4. Publish Relevant Content
One of the best ways to improve your Google ranking is to publish relevant and keyword-rich content on your website. This could be in the form of blog posts, product descriptions or even just informative articles. The more relevant content you publish, the better chance you have of ranking higher on Google. For improved local SEO, be sure to include your city or town in your content as well.
5. Work on Link-Building
Link-building means that other websites link back to yours. The more high-quality links you have pointing to your website, the higher you will rank on Google. There are several ways to build links, including:
• Asking customers and clients to link to your website.
• Writing guest posts for other websites in your industry.
• Participating in forums and online communities.
• Listing your website in directories and business listings.
6. Get Cited on Business Directories
Citations are mentions of your business name, address and phone number on other websites. The more citations you have, the higher you will rank on Google. There are a few ways to get cited, including:
• Creating a listing on Google My Business.
• Submitting your business to online directories.
• Creating profiles on social media sites.
Make sure your business name, address and phone number are consistent across all your listings.
7. Generate Customer Reviews
One of the most important ranking factors on Google is customer reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your Google ranking will be. There are several ways to generate customer reviews, including:
• Asking customers and clients to leave a review.
• Linking to your Google My Business listing in your email signature.
• Providing an incentive for customers to leave a review.
• Responding to all your reviews, both positive and negative. This shows potential customers that you are active and engaged with your customers.
By following these tips, you can improve your Google ranking and get more traffic to your website. Improved local SEO will help potential customers in your area find your business. And by publishing relevant content, you can show potential customers that you’re an authority in your industry. By working on link-building and getting cited in business directories, you can further improve your ranking. And by generating customer reviews, you can show potential customers that your business is trustworthy and reliable.