Improving your local business search results can seem like an almost impossible task for small business owners. Especially if you have no experience with search engine content or local online marketing.
The first steps to improving your local business’ search presence isn’t as daunting as you might think. You don’t have to implement some complex search engine optimisation strategy to starting improving how search engines view your local business website.
Start with the simple things.
Now, this won’t get you to rank overnight, but these are the basic elements every local business needs to help search engines look more favourably on their pages and website.
Register with the Major Search Engines
The first step is to make sure that your business, and website, are registered with the major search engines:
These are often steps that are forgotten by small businesses, but how do you expect search engines to find your local business if you don’t let them know about them. The more information and indicators you can give search engines about your business the easier it will be for them to index your website’s content.
While there is much more to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools, registering with them is the first step to improving your business’ searchability.
Get Descriptive with your Headings and Keywords
Keywords are an essential element for getting your pages to the right audience. If the key terms and phrases that your customers use to search for your industry’s product and services aren’t on your website you’ll never be found. Search engines aren’t mind readers, if you don’t provide the right information you won’t appear in the right searches.
However, gone are the days of keywords stuffing your pages over and over again. Search engines have evolved to notice which pages are genuine and which content is providing actual value for the related keywords and search terms.
If you don’t have the time or expertise to carry out detailed keyword research, a simple rule to follow is to use the words that feel most comfortable to you, but related to your industry. What would you search if your were looking for your business’ products?
For example, if you own a clothing store and sell dresses don’t just put “women’s dress”. Focus on using descriptive terms. Use something more targeted like, “short hemline dresses green”.
Why would you do this? While the keyword term “women’s dress” may have a wider search volume per month, it also has greater competition, and from websites that are likely to have much more authority than your site. You could be competing with large brand name stores from all over the world.
Whereas the keyword term “short hemline dress green” is much more specific. The search volume may be lower but the traffic searching for that term are looking for that exact product. A product which you sell. It also opens up the potential for customers to come to your site for the related terms “short hemline” “short hemline dress” and “dress green”.
If you are a local services business, be sure to include the suburbs that you service in the content. This will make sure that the customers who come to your site are in your area.
In short, being more descriptive can get you more targeted traffic while improving your rank for search terms that have less competition.
If you’re you’d like to do some keyword research, the best place to start is with the Google Adwords Keyword Planner.
Include your Keyword in the Title Tags
Now you’ve got your descriptive keywords make sure these are reflected in your page title. A lot of website platforms will automatically grab the title of your content from the article title. However, always check that title tags and the product or article title match.
A title tag defines the content headings that appear in search engine results. It also helps search bots to determine what your content is about.
These are defined in your html by <title> </title>. If you have no understanding of html ask your website manager to place these in, if you’re using WordPress a great plugin that will allow you to easily add these is Yoast SEO.
Title tags should roughly include Main Keyword | Secondary Keyword | Company Name but remember you only have 55 characters to do this in.
Optimise your H1, H2 and H3 headings
These elements are like little signposts to the search engine bots crawling your site, trying to categorise your pages. These headings give a great indication as to what each particular page is about and the content that it relates to.
H1, H2 and H3 headings work in conjunction with your Title Tags. If you can include your focus keyword along with related keywords in these headings it will help search engines regard that page more highly for that search term. Again, don’t go overboard. If it seems unnatural to include those keywords leave them out.
Most web platforms will allow you to add these within the text through a drop down menu, but remember to have only one H1 heading and one H2 heading. You can have multiple H3 headings.
Optimise Your Meta Description
The next step is to write a specific meta description. These descriptions give a snippet as to what your content is about in search results. Search engines will automatically grab the text they feel best suits your page if you don’t provide a custom meta description. Why not take advantage of this and write a detailed description that you specifically want to show in search results.
Again include your main keywords and related keywords, but don’t stuff this description with keywords. Clearly describe what people will get when they visit this page, but remember you only have 160 characters to do this. Try not to go over this character count and be sure to use up as many of those characters as possible.
Improve your Page Content
The number one rule for content is that it provides value to the readers. Describe your product or services in detail, talk about the benefits and go into as much description as you can. If you’ve written great content your keywords will naturally appear within it.
Once again, you don’t want to stuff your content full of keywords. People and search engines aren’t dumb, they can tell when you’re trying to do something dodgy in an effort to rank in the top search results. Even if you got to the top of the rankings through this technique, if the content doesn’t read well, your conversion rate will be horrible and eventually your ranking will drop.
Write your content for people first and search engines second.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your content;
- Be sure to include you main keyword at least once if not more
- Include secondary and related keywords
- Try to write over 300 words to improve the readability and searchability of the content
- Provide as much value to your readers as possible.