Is Your SEO Right? A Short Guide on How to Consolidate Your Marketing Efforts with Keywords
As a small to mid-size business owner, how are you using your online content to get to and stay at the top of your local map in search engines? If this question has left you scratching your head, it’s time to pay more attention to your content marketing optimization strategy and how, specifically, local and relevant content can ensure your business comes out tops in local search engine results.
You have probably already noticed how Google has made a move towards providing searchers with localized results. Depending on the search term a person uses and if they include a geographic term, such as a city, they are often presented with a map along with the listings associated with red pins on the map either before or to the side of their search results. (For instance, if you search for “cheesecake in Newark,” you’ll be presented with a map of Newark and red pins on all the locations where you can get cheesecake).
Often, such precise results far outweigh the organic results, instead focusing on relevant and local sites based on Google’s algorithms. So, how can you and your business get to the top of your local map and remain there?
How to Get Ahead with Keyword Research
Keywords are the building blocks of your Google+ Local page and online content. You need to have the right keywords to ensure you show up in front of your target prospects who are searching for you.
Keyword research is all about figuring out which keywords potential customers, or your target audience, are using to find you and even your competitors. One of the most popular keyword research tools is Google Analytics, but there are plenty of others you can use. These tools show you global and monthly search volumes so you can determine which keywords are best for your local optimization efforts both on your website and within your content.
When you conduct local keyword research, you should take care to analysis primary keywords (such as “cheesecake”) along with local identifier keywords (such as “Newark cheesecake,” “cheesecake in Newark,” and even “Newark cheesecakes”).
The more specific you are with your targeting, the better. For instance, as a cheesecake baker, ask yourself, “what are the two most popular flavors of cheesecake that I can help people with?” and focus on those to begin.
As you begin your keyword research, you should aim to monitor as many different variations of the keywords as you can to determine which are most likely to drive traffic to your website. Making use of a keyword tool makes this process much quicker and you can continue to monitor keyword performance and concentrate on the keywords that produce the results you want and need.
The bottom line with keywords is that you should rather start your campaign with your top 20 – 30 keywords, instead of a few hundred, and then build from there.
How to Implement On-Site Optimization
Once you have the right keywords, you can start optimizing your site so that it stands head and shoulders above your competitors in local search results. In fact, on-site optimization needs to be the very next step after you have determined which keywords you want to use.
Take the keywords you found (such as “Newark cheesecake baker”) and use them in front of your title and heading tags, internal links, and the body of your website’s content. Don’t forget to include clear calls-to-action on your site so that visitors know what they need to do next, whether it is call you, order a cheesecake, book a tasting session, or request an estimate.
While meta descriptions don’t play as prominent an SEO role as they once did, they are important when you want to attract site traffic and convert the leads that have found you via search engines. Google still incorporates meta descriptions in search results, so you don’t want to miss out on the chance to include your call-to-action and a means of contact, be it your email address or phone number. Keep this in mind for mobile searches, especially, as mobile users can call you directly from the search results and could lead to a direct sale before they have even clicked on your website.
What’s more, placing your contact details in your meta description makes it easier for your audience to connect with you.
Aim to include search engine friendly URLs for each of your website’s pages, as it encourages better search engine crawling. URLs with targeted keywords tend to perform better.
When writing your content, break it up into smaller sections for easier reading. You can give each section a body tag in the form of H1, H2, and so on.
H1 tags are usually used for a main page title, and the subsequent headings are given the form of H2, H3, and so on. Search engines use the tags to figure out what is important in your content, which is why keyword-rich headlines prove more useful than generic headers.
It’s important to include relevant and local keywords throughout your content, as it helps the search engines work out what the content is about. But, don’t use your keywords excessively. Not only is it counter-productive, but search engines may ban your site. Try to keep your keyword density to 2 – 5%.
Making use of images along with your content is a great way to create a visually appealing site. Images can also help improve your SEO rankings. Treat your uploaded image titles the same way you would your page titles, and include relevant keywords, Alt Text, and Descriptions.
How to Get Google+ Local Page Optimization Right
Google has a local area which is often the first local page prospects are led to within search results. It’s not difficult to set up a page, and as an organization, it is a must.
Your first step is to go to http://www.google.com/places which will be your little red dot on the search engine map. Your Google+ page becomes the first of your online pages that searchers can access on their mobile devices and 48% of consumers reportedly begin their mobile search via a search engine.
While we are looking at figures, take a look at these local SEO statistics from HubSpot:
- 72% of people who do a local search visit a store within a five-mile radius
- 28% of searches for something local result in a purchase
- 30% of mobile searches revolve around location
- 78% of local searches on mobile devises lead to offline purchases
So, when it’s time to set up your Google+ page, make sure a Place Page has not already been created by searching for your business’s name and the name of your location. If you do come across a page, take ownership of it immediately by requesting a PIN from Google to verify ownership of your local page.
Once that is done, you need to update the content on the page. The most important details include:
- The website address on the page must point to your URL and not a directory listing or landing page;
- Select up to five categories for your business;
- Place as much keyword-rich and relevant content as possible on your Local page and remember to include your contact details, business hours, and other relevant details;
- Add your logo and a few videos and images of your products
At the end of the Google+ Local Page, you will see “Related Sites” which could belong to your competition. By populating your page, you can push those sites lower down where others who don’t bother to scroll all the way down will not notice them.
Contact Iris Content for All Your Content Marketing Needs
If you like what you read, you should know we have a full guide ready just for you, that contains a lot more useful tips on how to make your content relevant with SEO.The guide teaches you :
How to get ahead with keyword research
Why on-site optimization matters
Getting your Google+ local page optimization right
Why online customer reviews are important
How to research and obtain backlinks
Contact us today for the full guide. Looking for help? Reach out so we can discuss how we can help you reach all your content marketing help needs.
Chief Content Officer
Annie has 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.
Contact Annie for more news about the content marketing world.
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