When Googling popular keywords for your industry, does your business appear on the front page of search results? Try it again except this time, focus your search results on your geographic location. Is your business appearing now?
Optimizing your company's online presence for local results should have the ultimate goal of increasing leads and generating new phone calls.
Basic Terms That Will Help You Understand Search Engine Optimization
If you don't understand how search algorithms decide which website is at the top of the page, don't worry, you are not alone. Google can seem like magic, pulling up thousands of valuable websites in just seconds. There is no magic involved, only smart marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) wizardry.
- Keywords. This term refers to the identifying words used in a search that lets the search engine understand what the user is looking for.
Example search: "where can I fish in New Jersey"? The user is looking for places to go fishing in New Jersey and the keywords are "where" "fish" and "New Jersey". The "where" lets the search engine know the user is looking for a location and "fish" denotes what activity the user is trying to perform. "New Jersey" is the geographic term that adds specificity to the location inquired about.
Search engines can now seek out websites with the keywords in them and match content to the search query
- Longtail keywords. Search engines become smarter and more sophisticated every year. Instead of only looking for one-word keywords, they search content for entire sentences to match a user's search. If you have an article on your website with the headline "Where to fish in New Jersey", there is a good chance that Google will match your content to the user's search.
- Backlinks. Once you understand keywords, you can begin tailoring your website to popular searches in your industry. You are not alone, every business with a web presence will be competing for views from specific keywords searches. Google needs to have a way to rank each website's authority and only show the most trusted results to their users.
Trust is given to websites who appear as backlinks on other similar pages. A backlink is an embedded hyperlink to a website. The more of these you have, the greater your authority.
- Local results. Search engines can be asked to give local results. This focuses the search and excludes out-of-town brands and online stores from search results. If you are a local business, this is the most important search to rank in. Included in the keywords are the name of the town the searcher is looking in.
Example: "Places to fish in New Brunswick New Jersey". Including the town, name lets the search engine filter out unrelated websites. To be included in local rankings, write your online content in a way that features the name of your hometown prominently. Having plenty of backlinks on other local websites will also help.
Creating a Local Online Presence
There is a difference between national and local search results. If your business is a local bait shop, it will be nearly impossible to rank on the first page for the term "bait shop". Most fishing related terms will show large companies and popular blogs. However, if someone searches for a bait shop in your town, your company needs to show up. If you are not ranking locally, most people will not know you exist.
50% of consumers who search a specific store visit it within 24 hours. This is a huge number and one that highlights just how important your rankings are.
Being the Local Authority in Your Niche
Is there another person or business who knows more about your niche than you do? Probably not. Use your knowledge to your advantage and make your website's authority. Your overall click-through rate will increase the more value is added to your site. Let potential customers know everything there is to your business and the overall industry. The more trust you can garner, the more sales you will make.
More content also gives you more opportunities to use keywords and rank your site higher in search results. Cultivate backlinks, increase views and ultimately, grow your business.