URLs are the links that we click to open a website, a webpage, or a blog. You must have seen some links that are longer than a train.
The links have alphabets and characters strangely arranged in a way that doesn’t make much sense.
These URLs do not look good, nor do they tell the users more about the destination page’s content. URLs need to be succinct and simple.
A User Should Know What the Link Contains by Simply Looking at the Text in the URL.
The URL format will be the same for every website. The home page will usually have the website link, while the location pages will show the location page’s name after the .com/.
When you share blog posts or links to internal pages, the URL becomes longer. But it can be shortened and optimized by creating a custom URL.
What is a Meta description?
It’s a sentence or two with limited characters explaining the content’s gist on the URL’s landing page. The meta descriptions appear on the search engine results page right under the URL of the website.
While it is not mandatory to include meta descriptions, adding them will provide more information to the users and increase the chances of opening the link.
Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor. But they do influence the SEO results by attracting the user’s attention.
The meta descriptions should include the primary keyword of the post. Since you have limited characters to use, be clear, concise, and to the point.
Add a leading sentence (read more, check for more details) at the end to encourage users to open the link and check out the post. It will increase the click-through rate on the SERPs and bring more visitors.
Let us start by understanding what a title tag is. In simple terms, it is a headline you see on the search results page.
It is the clickable URL that leads you to the data you are searching for. This link can be copied and shared on social media or social networking apps.
The title tag is nothing but the title of the webpage. It should highlight users about the nature of the content on the webpage. Include the title tag’s primary keyword, as it is a good practice to follow for SEO.
The ideal length of a title tag is around 50-60 characters.
Though this is not a rule, anything longer than 60 characters gets cuts off by Google when displaying the link on the results page.
While this doesn’t cause much harm, it could affect the user experience. It affects UX, especially if you mention the actual detail about the blog after the 60th character.
Link the various pages of the website using internal links. Listing them in the navigation bar will not be enough.
Users don’t always scroll down the long list of links to find a specific link. Also, not all webpages will have the same kind of demand.
It is your job to highlight the other webpages using anchor texts and internal hyperlinks.
For example, if you have posted a blog about a new product, include links to the product web page and other similar products you sell.
You can create as many internal links as you want, but remember not to overstuff them.
Yes. Content and website optimization is something we hear often. But image optimization is equally important.
Content also includes images, though the general idea of content is limited to text posts.
An image comes with many unnecessary details that don’t add value. You have to get rid of these details and replace them with alt tags.
An alt tag is a text that appears in an image (in the script). By including the blog’s primary keyword in the alt tags, you make it easy for search engine crawls to identify the page.
When you reduce the image size (this is not the same as the file size), you increase the image’s loading speed.
User experience is one of the key factors in maintaining consistent traffic to the website. If the website is not easy to use, it doesn’t create a positive impression. They may not want to come back again.
Use clear and understandable font and font size. The text should neither be too big or too small. Some fonts look great on the screen but are hard to text, especially if there is a lot of data.
A website will have dozens of pages, depending on the nature and volume of the business.
Optimizing every single page can be exhausting and even impossible for eCommerce websites. You will need to optimize the primary pages that see the most traffic every day in such instances.
Make it easy for users to gather more information about your business and the crawlers to identify the pages. You can do it in three simple steps.
Mentioning the phone number on the website is a great way to create contact with users.
Share a number that has been registered for the business. Also, mention the call’s timings unless you have made arrangements for the calls to be answered 24*7.
And that’s not it.
Use clickable phone numbers on the website. When users check the website through their laptops or smartphones, they will call the number with a single click on it directly. There is no need to note down the number or save it somewhere.
It will prompt users to call you immediately and inquire about the details. While clickable phone numbers don’t directly impact SEO, they will increase the time a user spends on the website and the conversion rate.
Just make sure to follow the guidelines mentioned by Google when you make the phone numbers clickable.
The footer of your website should be a pot full of information for the users. That doesn’t mean you dump every single detail in there. It means that you include the following elements in the footer.
Remember that the footer of the website will be the same for every webpage. The user can simply scroll down to the footer and find an internal link they are looking for.
An optimized footer can increase the conversion rate by up to 27%. Just imagine how many more customers you can add to your business just by having a well-planned website footer.
Embedding Google Maps doesn’t help with SEO as much as it used to earlier. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore it or it is not effective.
Embed the map on the contact page, location page, and regional pages. It will allow users to check the exact location of the business.
A Google map with the correct address marked in it will bring more offline customers and help with local SEO efforts if your business is located in more than one area, including the related address maps on the specific regional webpages.
When the address on the website and other platforms (such as social media and GMB) show the same, Google will conclude that the business is authentic and give it a higher website rank.
A higher rank website will be displayed in the top search results and will get more visibility. These factors complement each other.
How do you create content for a website?
You know what kind of information you can share, but how do you present it?
The term content includes text, infographics, images, audio files, and videos. You need to decide how, when, where, and why different content types are used on the website.
While you plan the layout of the posts, you need to know what to write. Simply adding text and an image will not help with SEO. You need to identify the keywords for the topic and then use them in the post to attract Google crawls’ attention.
Go to Google search and enter the topic you want to present and add ‘keywords’ beside it.
You will see a list of keywords displayed on the screen.
Start making a long list of relevant keywords to analyze which ones would be the best to bring more traffic.
You should always check your competitor’s websites.
You can use SEMrush to include local keyword searches. It will help you prioritize the primary keywords and their variations.
Check the organic reach of the competitors for the target keywords. You will need to choose keywords that bring the most organic visitors to their websites. The tool allows you to check the details and export the data and save it to your system.
Though it is time-consuming, you should do the same for every competitor, especially the websites that rank higher than your business.
Focus equally on local keywords to reach out to the local audiences as well. You need both online and offline customers if you have a brick and motor store.
After you collect all the required keywords from search engines and competitors’ websites, it’s time to shortlist the most used businesses in the industry. At the same time, you will also need to list the secondary and tertiary keywords that are not as popular but still bring organic traffic.
Since every business would include popular keywords, it is natural that there will be too much competition. The search results page may not immediately push your website to the first page, especially if you are still working on optimizing the website.
When you use popular and not-so-popular keywords, you will increase the chances of attracting more users.
Pro Tip1 : Make short-tail and long-tail variants of the keywords and use them on the website.
Pro Tip2 : Take care not to stuff the webpages with keywords. Else, Google will penalize and blacklist your website.
Planning the site’s structure is important. But mapping keyword to the structure is also necessary.
A well-structured and well-mapped website will attract more crawlers effortlessly to the website. And when crawlers actively check your website and its pages, they will help share more information with Google.
In turn, it will act as one of the key factors to optimize the website for Google’s algorithm and increase website ranking.
So, how are you going to map the keywords to the site structure?
The first step is to group and categorize the webpages (and content) based on different factors such as:
Check out the next step to understand how this move will increase the overall impact of the website.
Businesses usually belong to the following categories-
Of course, there is another category of single product/ service in multiple locations. But the website structuring doesn’t allow for this one. Depending on your business’s category, you will have to structure the website for easy navigation.
The website structure and mapping of keywords will be hard for the third option, but it is crucial to complete the mapping process. That’s how you can make the most of local SEO by targeting each area individually.
You will need to use more keywords. That said, you will also have more webpages, increasing the chances of ranking higher on search engines. Make sure to optimize all these pages if you want to see the results of SEO.
Your website should have attractive, informative, and authentic content. Users should easily understand the posts and share them with others.
When you include appropriate images, videos, and graphics along with the text, you are creating self-explanatory content.
Infographics are another way to share more information with users using a single picture. These images can be copied and shared faster than links. Also, considering users’ attention span, we can be assured that they will read the infographic and retain more information.
Tutorials and how-to blogs will get more visits when you include a video explaining the post’s process. It will be easy for users to watch and understand the steps. If you are sharing a post with comparisons or statistics, you will need to use tables and graphs, and so on.
Create unique and relevant content for each webpage. It can be a tough job for some, but it is necessary.
Even if your product subcategories are similar, you cannot copy the content from one page to another.
Rewrite the details differently. Highlight the difference in the products to show users that each sub-product has its use.
Simultaneously, make sure that the overall tone and theme of the content are consistent throughout the website.
You have to be clear about the industry your business belongs to, the products and services you offer, and any other aspects that show you in a special light.
Create a FAQs page for the website and provide answers to the most-asked questions in one place. You can internally link other pages from the FAQs page and vice versa.
Whether it is a product webpage or a blog post, its quality is very important.
Similarly, the authenticity of the data shared is also important. You need to make sure that you are providing factual information. If you are making a claim, mention it.
Include the necessary disclaimers and notes with the content. If you have sourced the data from another site, confirm that it is a credible source and can be trusted.
Provide a backlink to the source if necessary. You need to ensure that the data on your website is not fake or misleading to the users. And authentic data will bring more visitors and increase the credibility of the website on Google.
Local keywords are a must for local SEO. But you also need to include references related to the area.
Say, for example, if you own a cosmetic store and sell beauty products, you will need to highlight how the local climatic conditions affect the skin and how you can use the products to improve the skin tone or make it healthy.
You can talk about which products would suit the local climatic conditions and more.
Using the local keywords will bring the local audience to the website. And when they read the posts on the site, they will immediately relate to the product.
As we mentioned in one of the above points, having unique content on each webpage is necessary. Google will flag duplicate content. Your website will be penalized and may even be blacklisted for the same.
Of course, there are ways to prevent the crawls from identifying certain webpages. But this is done for specific pages whose information cannot be made public (we’ll see this in detail in the next section).
Make it a point to check that you are not posting plagiarized content on the website. Do not post the same text on multiple webpages. If you have to add the same text, add a link to the original text and mention where it was first published.
Also, check if any duplicate webpages are belonging to the same product or service. Delete one of the pages and list the existing one in the navigation bar.
Search engines have bots or spiders or crawlers that crawl over the webpages, collect information, and store them in the index. They use this data to analyze the website based on the search engine’s algorithms and rank it accordingly. This process is known as indexing.
Unless the search engines identify and index the website, the webpages will not be displayed on the results page (SERP). To know whether your website has been indexed or not, go to Google search and enter Site:yourwebsite.com in the search tab.
Google will show the results and also mention the number of results/ webpages it has found. If the count showing on Google is way different from the number of webpages you have, it means that your website has not been properly indexed.
Pro Tip : If you own an eCommerce website, you can hide the webpages with sensitive information from the crawls.
A responsive website is the one that automatically adjusts the layout of the site to suit the display screen of the device on which users have opened the website.
In simpler words, the layout responds to the display screen’s size and adjusts itself so that users will not miss any important information.
Most users rely on mobile phones to search for local businesses and services. So, having a mobile responsive website will increase the chances of attracting more users and converting them to customers. It will positively impact local SEO, and your website rank will improve steadily.
The loading speed is one of the direct factors that impact website rank. Google promotes websites that have a faster loading speed. Not just that, even users like the website that don’t take much time to load.
A research study found that a delay by every second can decrease page views by more than 10%. It led to about a 7% decrease in the conversion rate.
While the number might seem small, you can imagine the potential loss of sales your business will face.
Why take such a risk just because the website is not fast enough?
You can find tools that measure website speed. Once you know how it is, you can try different ways to increase the speed, such as:
Have you created an XML sitemap for the website?
Have you submitted it to the search engines?
If not, do it immediately.
But what is an XML sitemap?
It is a file that has a list of webpages on the website. It’s similar to submitting a project file at work.
When you submit this to the Google search console and Bing webmaster tools, the search engines will save the index’s information.
It becomes easy for search engines to send their crawlers (or bots) to your website and collect the latest information.
You don’t need to take the pain of creating an XML sitemap. All you need to do is use a tool (or a plug-in).
You can find many tools on the web to generate XML sitemaps. You have to download it and submit it to the search engines.
Tracking the number of visitors to the website each day can be a pain. But it doesn’t have to be. You can configure Google Analytics on the website so that Google will do the job for you. It is a plug-in, and you can add and access it from the admin panel.
It’s the same with Google Search Console. Setting it up and verifying your website (similar to Google Analytics) will provide you access to the webmaster tools. You can use these tools to analyze website traffic and see how your SEO efforts are giving results.
It is important to install Google Analytics as soon as possible. It will help you collect a lot of data. You will be able to find patterns and study the changes in traffic over time. It also helps to stay in sync with your business goals and make necessary changes to the marketing strategy.
A 404 error means the requested webpage has not been found on the server. When a user clicks on a link, a request is sent to the server that hosts the website. If the server cannot find the webpage, it will show a 404 error.
The last thing users like is to see such a message displayed on their screen. The error occurs if the webpage has been deleted or if the URL has been changed or edited. For example, if you have customized the URLs, it will change the webpage link.
If a user opens the previous link instead of the new one, they start staring at the 404 error. The best way to handle this is by redirecting the users to another webpage. 301 is the response code for redirecting a user from an old/ nonexisting webpage to the latest.
A robots.txt file is like an instruction manual provided by websites to the search engines.
What purpose does it serve?
Well, it lists out the webpages of the website and adds tags that allow or prevent the search engine crawls from indexing these pages.
In the earlier section, we mentioned how certain eCommerce websites need to be hidden to provide data security.
Such pages are tagged with a disallow code so that the search engines will not send bots to crawls on these pages. The checkout pages, user carts, payment webpages, and user profile pages are usually hidden from search engines to protect customers’ privacy.
If your website doesn’t have a robot.txt file, the crawlers might end displaying even the internal and confidential pages in the search results, more so if you have got the website indexed for SEO purposes.
The navigation bar is where all the important and optimized webpages will be listed on the website. You can find the navigation bar usually on the website’s header, or at least on the homepage.
How you structure this bar will decide the number of visitors for each webpage! Make sure to include only the optimized webpages in the navigation bar. Then follow the pyramid structure to place the links in order of priority.
The main headings should be followed by the products/ services. Then go on to list the subcategories for each product/ service (if applicable).
Do you operate your business in more than one location?
Then, include those pages either under the products/ services or under the list of locations.
The final goal is to make it easy for the users to navigate one web page to another and find what they want.
Do you remember the troubles of having duplicate content on the website?
We mentioned that backlinking to the original webpage would be a safer move. But you can do more than that.
You can make sure that the search engines understand different versions of the same data and tell them which URL they should display on the search engine results page.
When you add a canonical tag to the code, you ask the search engine to consider the webpage as a duplicate copy of the original. Remember that it is okay and even a good idea to put a canonical tag on your homepage. Since many people link to the homepage, it will save you from further SEO complications.
Be careful when you are redirecting webpages and putting canonical tags on them. That is where redirect webpages to canonized webpages. Do not do that.
Schema markup is a code you add to the website so that the search engines can deliver better results to the users. Google’s bots can crawl the webpages to index them. But how they present the same information to the users can be controlled by you.
Using schema markup, you can make Google understand the data on your website. The details you want to be displayed with the URL on the search engine results pages are shared with Google using schema markup.
You will need to use semantic vocabulary in schema markup to point out things to the search engines. You would have seen some direct links being displayed under the main URL on the SERP. It means that these webpages have been marked to be displayed.
Though we don’t know this influences the search engine algorithm, it does push the website up the SERP.
A mobile-friendly website can even double up the conversion rate for your business.
When users search for a business from a location, they are more likely to visit the store/ clinic/ office to find the search results page’s address and profile. It makes it easy for them to call you and get directions to reach your store through Google Maps.
But for that, you will need to make your website mobile-friendly and update the NAP details without fail. And as mentioned above, make the phone number clickable so that users can call you for more information.
We will also talk about Google My Business profile in the coming sections, which is equally important for local SEO.
CTA button is a Call to Action button that will directly take users to a specific webpage.
For example, if you run a spa, make sure to accept booking through the website.
Now, the best way to get more bookings is by including at least one CTA button with anchor text- ‘book your appointment’ or ‘schedule your appointment’ on the homepage.
When users click on this button, it should take them to the booking form to fill and submit to schedule their appointment. Unless you need a whole lot of details, keep the booking form simple and easy. Users don’t like to spend too much time entering loads of information.
You can have more than one CTA button on the homepage. You can also place these CTAs on other prominent webpages such as About Us, Contact Page, and the individual services webpages.
What is a local landing page?
It’s the webpage you dedicate to each of the multiple locations where you do your business. If you have a store/ clinic in 5 areas in a state/ region/ country, you will need to create a webpage for each of these locations.
Then you optimize the webpages in the following ways-
You can’t go wrong with this one unless you share something that doesn’t show the region in a good light.
Whether you belong to the single-location category or the multiple-location category, it is important to connect with the local audience online and offline.
Of course, offline communication uses traditional channels. But in today’s competitive market, only offline communication will not be enough for the business to survive in the long term.
Your website should explicitly show all the locations of your business operations. Each page should get equal importance so that the audiences from that region see that you value them as customers.
Mention things that are unique to the local store/ office on the webpage. Whether you have hired a locally famous chef or whether you believe in buying local products to produce to serve the customers.
The aim is to bring out the connection with the region and its people.
What if a visitor loves your webpage so much that he/ she wants to share it with others?
It can be irritating to copy the URL, go to the social media app, and create a new post.
Why not make it easy for them?
That will automatically bring you more views, right?
Add social media widgets at the bottom of the side of the webpage. Especially for your website blogs, add the widgets under each post. The site will display the icons of social media and social networking platforms under the post.
With just one or two clicks, the user can share the post with their friends and followers. With more visitors, you have more chances of converting them to customers.
Backlinks from websites like Facebook gain extra attention from Google. So, it will help increase your website’s domain authority and its rank on the search engines.
We cannot emphasize this point enough. Sharing the primary information about the business is so, so important on the internet.
With thousands of fake businesses claiming to be genuine, users do not readily trust a business that makes big claims but doesn’t share its address or contact details.
NAP is a short form for Name, Address, and Phone Number. You should share these three details on the website and other business’s social media profiles.
Make sure that the NAP information is the same everywhere. If you have moved to a new address or added a new phone number, update the details on all your profiles.
What if users find two different addresses or call a number that is no longer active?
You will end up reducing the conversion rate instead of increasing it. Search engines award higher ranks to websites with consistent information across the internet.
Live chat is an amazing feature that can quickly convert website visitors to customers.
Is it any surprise that many business websites have this feature?
You can handle live chat in different ways. You can ask an employee (or a team) to take up the responsibility of responding to queries posted through live chat. Or you can set up a chatbot that provides standards replies to the basic questions.
You can decide the type of live chat feature based on the nature of the business.
To increase the chances of convincing a visitor to become a customer of your business, you need to ensure that they spend time surveying your website.
However, this should be because they like what you offer and not because they can’t find what they want.
Do not dump too much information on the webpages. Share what is required. Give them a summary and ask them to contact customer care for details. The layout of the website has to be pleasing, neat, and easy to follow.
The layout should have enough space between each section. Don’t tinker too much with the common settings.
For example, place the live chat button in a convenient place.
Most websites have the live chat section at the bottom right corner. Visitors will subconsciously search for it simultaneously and might not like it if you move it to the top of the page.
Images always work their magic on the audience. Of course, only if the images are of good quality and related to the business.
You can either pick copyright-free images from the internet or take pictures of your store and add them to the website.
Real-life pictures will make the audience feel connected to your business and prompt them to try a product/ service.
Have HD images on the homepage, and make sure that you compress them. We talked about image optimization in the previous section. Follow the same for every image you post on the website, be it on the landing pages or website blogs.
Posting pictures of the store will also make it easy for the website visitors to identify the location without checking Google Maps. Maybe they already saw your store. You’ll have converted a visitor to a customer in no time.
Seasonal discounts, clearance sales, and limited period offers are meant to bring a rush of new customers and double the sales count. To happen, you need to promote the offers as much as you can on the internet.
Relevant : Tips to Perform Local SEO for the Holidays
Add a banner on the website to alert the visitors about the offer. Make it a clickable link so that the link will directly take them to the product page.
The coupon codes can either be hyperlinked text or CTA buttons. Place the banner on every webpage at the same place. The space around the header is usually a good place to announce special offers.
You can also go for flash images (hyperlinked), which will take the audience to the product page. Use a primary keyword and the location name to get better local SEO results and get displayed higher on the search engine results page.
Backlinks may not be a direct contributing factor as per Google’s algorithm, but these inbound links still affect your website rank and play a role in deciding your SEO results.
DA is domain authority. The higher the number, the higher will be the website rank. Google gives importance to websites with high DA.
You can find the DA of a website using authority checker tools before contacting the website owners to give your business a shout out.
Finding such a website in your niche will help you get organic traffic to the website. It will also improve the DA of your website and increase the rank.
When you take part in contests or awards organized for businesses (either in the region or in the niche), the contest organizers will share the details about your business and provide a backlink to your website. It is almost a norm that the contest organizers have to share and promote the participating contestants.
Even if you do not win the contest, you will get backlinks and references to bring new visitors to the website. The easiest way to search for such contests or nominations would be to go on Google and mention the word ‘nominations’ followed by the state name or the industry.
It will give you a list of contests. You can narrow down the search by including the year.
Something like the best bakery (replace industry name)+ nominate+ town name should give you some interesting results.
Connecting and interacting with other businesses in the region is beneficial for both of you.
Tagging each other on social media, sharing links to the event details listed on the website, and resharing each other’s posts will bring new users to all the businesses involved in the event. As the host of the event, you can get backlinks from others participating in the event.
Ask customers to take a picture at the event location, tag your profile on social media, and share it with their friends. The contacts you gain during the event will be useful as long as you maintain cordial relationships with other businesses.
You don’t have to go out of your way to sponsor something. You can do your bit without straining your budget. Also, you need to consider this as an investment in branding the business. Make sure to put your money in the same location as your store.
When you sponsor something, your logo, business bio, website link, and other social media handles will be promoted by the event organizers and the participants.
Think of the number of backlinks you can generate. As long as the event is running, you will be getting inbound references and new visitors through these backlinks.
The search engines recognize the high genuine activity. So, when users search for local businesses, your website link is sure to appear in the top search results. You will need to put up a post on your website with details about the event you are sponsoring and use the targeted keywords.
Link building isn’t simply getting backlinks from other websites. It’s a process of building your business network online and offline.
You will be using your offline connections to get online results (for SEO). Journalists who write entertainment columns or local news are a great source of backlinks.
You can reach out to them to post an article about your business and mention it in their news pieces. If you get them to hyperlink your business website, you are sure to get a fresh bout of curious visitors.
You can do the same with entertainment bloggers from the region. You can ask them to review your business in exchange for a free or discounted service.
Many businesses follow this. For example, you can provide a free delicious dinner to a food blogger in exchange for a review on their blog.
If you are an authority or an expert in your niche, you can contribute guest posts on other websites and get a backlink to your website. You can focus on both local and global websites, depending on the industry.
Are you wondering why a competitor would want you to blog on their website?
We are talking about websites that regularly ask for guest posts from experts. A quick search on Google will give you an idea.
A detailed search on Google and social media will give a long list of websites looking for guest writers.
Let’s consider a website that posts beauty tips. If you have a salon or a spa, or even own a cosmetic store, and have enough knowledge, you can easily contribute a post once in a while.
Contact the website owners and offer them your writing services. Ask for a backlink to your website in return.
If you have a specific supplier/ manufacturer/ or a wholesaler, it can be easy to get a backlink from them. You can ask them to list you as one of their retailers or vendors. They can even suggest customers buy from your website (if they don’t sell online).
Another better way to earn a backlink from the manufacturer is by writing a guest post (or posts) on their website. It would bring them more visitors, and those who read the posts are likely to check out your website through a backlink.
You can also make videos, be it tutorials or testimonials or behind the scenes operations, and share them on the manufacturer’s website.
Create something that would be informative and promotes both of you. Or the simplest way would be to write a happy customer review for the supplier and hyperlink your business’s name with the website URL.
Just as journalists and entertainment bloggers from the region are important, social media influencers can also promote your business to many audiences. You don’t have to limit your search for an influencer from the same region. You can go national or even global, depending on the nature of your business.
If your business is limited to the region, the best way would be to reach out to a local celebrity with many social media followers.
Someone who interacts with their followers and can convince them to try a new brand or business will give you a valuable backlink and increase sales.
That said, you need to be careful about whom you choose to promote and represent your brand. The last thing you want is for their haters to bash your business and mess up sales, isn’t it?
Do you know that you can place banner ads on other websites?
These are small flashy ads that flicker on other websites and are clickable. When a user clicks on the ad, it will lead them to your website. While this may or may not help convert them to a customer, it will surely increase your website’s traffic.
Instead of ads, you can share updates or snippets on their website and provide valuable information to their visitors. It could be about anything related to the industry and useful to the website visitors.
Apart from that, you can also try to place local ads on Google or Facebook to reach out to the local audiences. Unlike PPC ads, local ads are more effective and bring both inorganic and organic traffic to the website. It will help you convert visitors to customers.
The skyscraper technique is a way to share content on your website and get it backlinked by the top websites promoting similar topics.
The technique guarantees results though it is not easy to put into practice. You will have to start by searching for the most popular post in your niche. Identify the primary keywords and use different versions to see which links show up in all the search results.
The success of this technique will depend on how you approach the process.
Google My Business is a free-to-use platform provided by (no points for guessing) Google. It is a place where you can create a profile for your business, verify it, and become more visible on the internet.
From updating your NAP details to including the location through Google Maps and getting customer reviews, you can promote your business using GMB.
GMB plays a vital role in enhancing the local SEO results for your business. You would have seen a short profile displayed on the search results page’s right side when you search for any business. The data that shows up here is the one you enter on behalf of your business.
Adding all the details will naturally show your complete profile to the users. Include a picture of the storefront/ office so that users can easily recognize it when they reach the area.
Go to https://www.google.com/business/ to set up the profile.
Step 1 : Creating the GMB profile is important; verifying it also equally important and a must-do.
Step 2 : Once you enter all the details and select the related business categories, you can finish setting up the profile by clicking on the finish button.
Step 3 : The next step is to optimize your profile. That means you are going to verify your business profile as a genuine one. And it is a simple process. Google will send you a security code, which you need to enter in a specified box to verify your account.
That’s it. The GMB account is ready. That said, you’ll have to wait for the postcard with the verification code to arrive at the office address. It might take 5-7 business days.
Unless you verify your GMB profile, you cannot use it. And there isn’t much point in having a profile if you can’t use it to promote your business, right?
Make it a point to periodically check the listings to see no duplicates on your business name. If it’s the first time you are creating the GMB profile, search the listings to see if anybody has already created an account with the same business name or details.
You might be surprised to see how often such things happen. You will need to get the duplicate listings removed so that Google knows your profile is the authentic and genuine one.
With multiple listings, some users might end up stumbling over the duplicate profile. It could harm your business, especially if an imposter has set up a fake GMB account to dupe people.
Make it a point to check the listings once a month to ensure no other profiles (except those you created) for your business.
Data accuracy is something you cannot ignore. Just as updating your website with the latest NAP information is necessary, doing the same to your GMB profile is also essential.
It is your GMB profile that users will first see on SERP. They are more likely to call the phone number you listed there rather than open the website link and double-check if it is the same number.
The same goes for the address, the timings, and the location on Google Maps.
If You Have Extended Working Hours During the Festival Season, Mention That as Well.
We do put more emphasis on the timings, though. No one wants to drive to your store to find it closed, even as it shows open on the GMB profile.
You are inviting 1-star reviews from users and losing potential customers who found your business interesting enough to come all the way.
Creating a new listing for each location is not the same as duplicate listings. You are simply increasing your chances of becoming more visible to the local audiences at each location. It will help in increasing local SEO results.
If your business operates in 5 cities, you need to create five individual listings for each location. The office addresses, the phone numbers (unless you have a common toll-free number), and managing staff will differ.
You might also be offering slightly different services at each location to suit the local audience’s requirements.
It means you can choose different subcategories for your business to optimize the GMB profile.
The more you narrow down your services, the more the chances of getting organic traffic to the website. However, you also need to focus on a broader perspective. It’s going to be a delicate balance between both.
In 2019, Google came up with an effective way to remove spam links and profiles from GMB listings.
Unlike earlier, where you had to post the details in the official forum, now, you can fill a form and submit it to Google. The employees will review this at the backend, who will then delete the spam accounts.
The Business Redressal Complaint Form is available for you to file a complaint against the spam links. You might want to bookmark the link for easy reference. Read the instructions and follow them carefully.
If there are more than ten links for the same account, you will have to upload a CSV file. Remember that you need to fill a form for every spam account separately. Make sure to be detailed when you explain why that particular account is malicious or spam. Google finds it easier to take action that way.
Your business description needs to be informative, attractive, and to the point. Google offers 750 characters to write the business description for your profile. You will need to include the primary keyword and the location of your business.
Tip1 : It needs to be free of grammatical errors. Don’t write convoluted sentences.
Tip2 : Keep the sentences short, simple, and easy to read.
Tip3 : Don’t use complex words.
Tip4 : It isn’t the place to flaunt your English prowess.
Highlight your best and unique features/ services/ products. Mention a tidbit about the history of the business if it can act as a plus point. (It is not mandatory)
Remember that the GMB description is not a sales pitch. Don’t aggressively promote your business. Simply state what you offer and make sure it sounds attractive and useful.
Don’t include any URLs in the description. It is not the place. The GMB profile has another section to add to the website and social media links.
If you read the first point in this section, you will notice adding a photo of the storefront to your GMB profile. Here, we are going to expand on the theme.
Of course, the business logo helps make users aware of the brand and recognize it from among a list of businesses. The logo represents the business, and you need to display it on every business profile.
A research study has found that GMB profiles with more pictures (of the store, the employees, customers, etc.) have seen more customers than GMB profiles with a single snapshot of the store/ clinic/ office.
Upload the actual pictures of your store. You can keep adding more and deleting the previous ones and make any changes to the layout.
You can add new pictures during the festivals to add more cheer to your GMB profile and attract new customers.
You would have noticed the Q&A section with your GMB profile. You might have also seen that others have answered some questions. The Q&A section can be filled even by customers. But don’t let them do it on your behalf.
It sure saves you time, but customers wouldn’t know your business as well as you do. They might end up providing wrong information or maybe share an outdated description of a product or service.
Answer all questions in the Q&A section. Be detailed, clear, and concise. Be specific when you see a specific question. Customers want to know the exact information so that they can make a decision.
Keep tabs on the questions and answer them as regularly as possible. GMB profiles where the business answered the questions could increase the conversion rate. The businesses also saw more offline customers who directly visited the store.
Do you know about the feature in GMB where you can create a post and share it as well?
These posts are usually active for a week unless you specify the deadline.
Say, for example, if you put up a post about festival discounts and want users to know about it, you can set the end date to the last day of the offer.
The post will be visible on your GMB profile throughout the offer period.
Not just that, when users search for festival discounts in the region, your post is likely to show up on the search results page. Remember to use the targeted keyword, though. SEO is dependent on keywords.
Users can share the GMB posts on various social media sites with a single click. Your post can be an image or gif, or a small video. Keep it attractive and ensure that the users immediately know what the post is about.
A citation is a brief reference for your business. You can mention it on your website as well as on other websites. The NAP information you see in the footer of a website is an example of a citation.
Citations are crucial for local SEO. And if you are a local business with activity only in one location, it becomes even more important for you to create a strong citation to get more website traffic.
However, a citation is not just about sharing your NAP information in one place. You will need to present it correctly. You don’t need to worry about getting it wrong, however. There are many citation tools in the market.
Enter the required information in the tool, and it will create one for you. You next need to upload the citations to the local listings and directories. But before you do so, check for duplicate citations and get them removed.
The process of checking various local listings and directories to identify duplicate and incorrect citations is known as a citation audit.
You will need to conduct an audit from time to time to ensure that no one has uploaded fake details or duplicate versions of your citations.
The process of removing duplicates will change from one listing to another. You need first to check the process followed by the listing and then implement it.
Always do the citation audit before uploading the correct version. This time make it easy to identify the duplicate ones and get rid of them.
Suppose you have changed your office address or updated the phone number. In that case, you will need to create a new citation with the updated details, delete the existing ones from all the listings and directories, and upload the latest version.
There are no shortcuts to this except to hire local SEO service providers to work on your behalf.
You can never ignore the importance and the advantage of keeps tabs on your competitors, right?
While you don’t have to spy on them, you need to check their website often to see how they plan their local SEO strategy. The same goes for citation.
Conduct an in-depth citation analysis of your competitors’ websites. You have to categorize them into different competition levels to see who will give you a tough fight to gain and retain a higher website rank.
Understanding their business will help you analyze your competitors better, and you also get to see them from different perspectives.
Citation analysis includes the following steps-
Be it local directories, national, or even global ones- you need to list your business in at least one niche directory.
For example, suppose you have a bakery and specialize in custom-designed cakes for all special events.
In that case, you will need to search for directories that exclusively list bakeries and even specialized bakers.
When a user searches for a bakery to order a custom-designed cake, they will search for a list of such bakeries on the search engines and check the directory listings.
When they come across your profile, they might like what you have shared and contact you for more information or schedule a meeting.
When people want something specific, they prefer to check the relevant directories. It is easier for them to find a business/ service provider than checking every single link on the search engine results page.
Just as a listing in the niche directories is important, joining local directories’ listings is also compulsory.
Users are likely to come across your business when searching for some other business in the region.
Your business profile might grab their attention. Or the users might remember that they do need to use your services.
There are various ways users can come across your business in the local listings and decide to give you a chance.
You do realize the importance of being visible on the internet, don’t you?
You can join the famous local listings and the ones run by the community (if there are any).
In some areas, they like to collect every business’s details in and around the place and list them on the community website. Make sure to show up in such lists. It’s a great way to attract more customers from the area.
Do you know that Google does not index all citations listed in the directories?
We talked about indexing in the previous points, right?
Indexing the citations is just as important. If Google’s bots don’t crawl over your citations, Google will not consider your website for evaluation.
Linking the citations will make it easy for the bots to detect and crawl through the citations. It will result in indexing them and allowing Google to share the citations during the appropriate searches.
It will make it easy for users to find your business in directories and Google to recognize your SEO efforts and reward them by giving your website a better rank and more visibility on SERP.
A citation tracker is the one that analyses all your citations and lists them in one place while showing which of these citations have duplicates and which don’t.
The tracker will also show the citations that have not been linked. Unlinked citations don’t work in bringing users to the website or customers to the store.
You need to periodically use the citation tracker tool to delete duplicate citations and add links to the unlinked citations. A good number of trackers are available for free.
What if you have too many citations to take care of?
Do you need to work on every citation individually?
The best way to handle this would be to contact the data aggressors first.
A data aggressor is the one who collects information about businesses and creates a master list. Smaller listings take their data from the aggressors. Make a change to the aggressor’s list, and it’ll update the others.
Local and niche listings and directories can be for free or for payment.
Pro Tip : Before joining either of the listings, you will need to make sure that they are genuine and are not blacklisted by the search engines.
Some listings might be sharing dubious, malicious, and spam links on the listings.
Also, some listings may not have any reach or enough hits to promote your business. There is no benefit in listing your business in such directories, isn’t it?
Check the visits for each listing. You can also contact some listed businesses to inquire if they have seen any customer growth after listing on this particular directory. Then you can decide if you want to join the list or not.
You can follow this procedure when you want to list on paid directories. But make sure to confirm that the listing is not flagged, especially the free ones.
As we mentioned in the previous points, being a part of the data aggressors lists is necessary to take your business to more audiences.
Since other listings get their data from the aggressors, make sure to join the popular directories first and then move on to the smaller ones.
Yellowpages is one of the biggest data aggressors. Use the business’s contact number to search for listings.
If there is already a listing (which you haven’t added), you will need to get it removed before adding the one with the correct information.
Double-check the details to see no typos in the business names, addresses, and phone numbers.
You don’t want to lose business because you misspelled the contact number, right?
It would be too much of a headache to change it afterward.
Wouldn’t it be the safest option to upload correct information the first time itself?
If you operate your business in multiple locations, you need to be careful in linking the citations with the correct location pages.
It sounds like an unnecessary warning; it is very easy to mess up these minor yet crucial details.
We have seen a good number of websites link one citation to another location, confusing the users.
Not every user will check through the website to find the correct address/ phone number and contact you. Many of them might just move on to another business.
If you don’t show enough care linking citations, what guarantee do they have that you are going to offer them quality services?
Isn’t that how people usually think?
Why let a prospective customer slip through your fingers because you didn’t pay attention when linking the citations with their respective location pages?
Are online reviews important for SEO and your business?
In today’s era, we cannot ignore customer reviews. A good review can bring new customers, while a negative review can take them away.
Of course, managing online reviews is not even remotely an easy job. You cannot control negative reviews irrespective of whether they are genuine or fake. But you can do your best to get happy customers to leave a positive review.
It can be on the website, on GMB profile, or Facebook. Google recognizes the rating section on GMB and Facebook.
When users check out a business for the first time, they make it a point to read through the reviews to get an idea about the brand.
Businesses with more than four stars as ratings tend to get more online traffic and have the advantage of converting them to customers. You will also see an increase in offline customers.
You would probably be aware that your customers are discussing you online. They don’t always tag you, but they mention your business name or the product/ service you offer.
Even other businesses may be mentioning your brand in passing on the internet and not tag you on that post.
How will you know when such things happen?
How can you keep track of unlinked mentions if the business name has been used in a positive sense or a negative one?
Google Alerts is one way to keep tabs on such mentions. You can use a few more free online tools to stay updated about the unlinked mentions on social media and reach out to your target audiences.
Do you see a customer mentioning one of your products?
Then, join the conversation and share a link to the product details. Or ask the interested users to check out the website.
One thing many businesses do not bother about is responding to customer reviews.
Having reviews is not enough. You need to thank your customer for taking the time to review your business and for being a valued customer.
What if it is a bad review?
We notice how some businesses respond to the good ones but ignore the bad reviews. This is the worst business strategy to follow.
Users who read the reviews will notice this and conclude that you are not open to criticism.
The audience will feel that you will not help them if they have any issues with your offer’s products or services.
Social media gives businesses a kind of exposure that no other medium can. Even television ads may not be as effective in today’s world.
Billions of people are scrolling through social media every hour.
People search for businesses and products on these platforms. So, not having a page/ profile on the famous SM platforms could drastically limit the brand’s visibility.
We should also remind you that social media plays an indirect role in increasing the website rank by assisting your SEO efforts.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, YouTube, Pinterest, and Reddit are some of the famous SM platforms where you can create a profile for your business.
Add the NAP information, upload the profile pictures, and start posting.
You must regularly link to the web pages or brand promotions or post random jokes and quotes in your social profiles. You need to ensure that there is some activity on your page to attract followers.
Do you know that you can link your social media accounts?
Well, not all of them, but you can link the Instagram account with the Facebook page.
But you sure can post the links to all your SM accounts on your website and ask visitors to check them out for more interesting information.
You can get your SM accounts verified by the platforms and get a blue tick beside the name. It acts as a sign of authenticity and gives more credibility to your business.
Each platform has a set of rules you need to follow and fulfill to get verified. Check out their Help pages to get the details.
Add links to other SM accounts in the bio of each profile.
For example, you can add links to your Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other Twitter bio profiles and vice versa. Make sure to add the website link to every SM profile.
We talked about the importance of good reviews, right?
You would already know that you can get positive reviews for money. But it is not advisable to rely on paid reviews to help your business.
When a customer is happy with your service, ask them to write a small review mentioning the same.
You can share the link to your GMB profile so that they don’t have to spend time searching for it. Make it as easy as possible for them to write a good review about your business.
Google recognizes reviews from genuine accounts. It will push your website to the top of the results page.
You should also ask them to leave a rating/ review on Facebook. Facebook ratings are identified and recognized by Google.
The ratings can even show up under the website link. (we saw in the previous sections about how to do it).
Try to get more and more genuine reviews from your customers.
You can collect the best reviews from different places and share them on your website. You also have the advantage of sharing video testimonials by customers on the company website.
Many brands ask their customers to record videos about their experience with the brand.
Some businesses either send a crew to the customers’ houses or ask customers to visit the store and record the video. Don’t forget to add a disclaimer about taking the customers’ permission for recording the video.
You can share a handful of text/ written testimonials as well. Mention the name and profession of the customer.
If you are a B2B company, you can add the reviewer’s name, designation, and business name. Businesses usually ask one of the representatives to write a review.
Adding a profile photo would be even better. You can give the businesses a backlink and ask for a promotional backlink in return.
We talked about creating social media profiles and posting regularly. Now, it’s time to understand the importance of interacting with the followers and creating a rapport with them.
For your followers to comment on your post, you need to put up something that sparks the desire to leave a comment.
There are various ways to get your followers to comment on your post. But if you were to not respond to their comments, it wouldn’t help networking with them. It will not convert the followers into customers.
Respond to their comments. Be polite, courteous, friendly, and humorous. Let your audience know that you are good at communicating and will respond to their queries.
Hashtags gained popularity on Twitter and became a rage on Instagram. Facebook later began to give prominence to hashtags and allows you to compile all the posts with the same hashtag in one place.
The way hashtags work differs from one social media platform to another.
Twitter trends the most tweeted hashtags, while Instagram has loads of hashtags and lists posts in the order of popularity.
Facebook is now showing the approximate number of posts and comments that used a particular hashtag.
With the limited character count available on Twitter, you cannot use as many hashtags as you use on Instagram.
So how do you handle this whole issue?
Simple. Create a hashtag for your brand and start using it on every social media platform.
Display it on your website. When you put up a post, use this hashtag and a relevant trending hashtag to get more visibility.
You would have heard of TrustPilot, Yelp, and other such platforms that act as trusted third-party review websites.
Yelp is also a data aggressor. You can ask customers to review your business or a specific product/ service on such websites.
You can display the top reviews from these third-party sites on your website. You can do it by adding a widget to the website.
These websites share the average rating for your business. It also shows the number of customers who rated and reviewed your business on their platform.
Each platform has a set of guidelines you need to follow to get customer reviews. Make it a point to follow them to avoid being blacklisted by the third-party review sites.
These reviews help enhance your SEO efforts (if they are positive). It also shows up on the search results page when a user searches for your business and adds the word ‘reviews’ along with it.
Save your time by leaving this work to our Local SEO experts. Drop your details here to get it done without any hassle.
He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.
He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.