The foundation of Local SEO

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Local SEO

I’m literally about to spell out for you, step by step, how to set the foundation for Local SEO.

Why?  To answer that, I’m going to break you local business owners down into 3 categories:

  1. The close minded
    • You believe “I can do Local SEO myself”
    • I know that I’m NEVER EVER going to convince you that your money would be well spent hiring a Local SEO guy like me.
    • You think you can do this yourself.  Awesome – that’s exactly what I want to think and that’s why I’m providing these step by step instructions on how to do Local SEO.
    • You will NEVER be as good at Local SEO as I am.  (nor will your brother, your cousin, your dog, your receptionist, or any other tech person you know).
    • When your competitor calls me – I’ll have NO PROBLEM kicking your ass on Google!  There’s a reason I get paid to do this work, and you get paid to run your business.  You are better at being a hardwood flooring contractor, a dentist, a plumber, an electrician or whatever you do than I am.  I am better at being a web developer that does SEO and Pay Per Click (PPC) than you.
    • In case you missed it above….. I am also better at this stuff than your receptionist.
  2. The slightly open minded
    • You think “I could probably do my own Local SEO, but I don’t have time”
    • You recognize the potential of having a highly optimized, incredibly relevant, and easily navigated website.
    • You are skeptical (probably because you’ve wasted thousands of dollars with rip off companies) – but want to learn more
    • You will probably call me, or another Local SEO company someday after trying some of these things and realizing it’s more difficult and time consuming than you thought.
    • When you do – I will help you beat “The close minded” business owner I listed above!
  3. The open minded (aka SMART) business owner
    • You are the man / woman I want to talk to.
    • I’m providing this list so you can see how much work actually goes into doing Local SEO and realize what a great deal you are getting.
    • Together we can beat your competitors on Google in the Local SEO arena.

Without further ado – let’s jump right into it shall we?

Local SEO secrets

Build a user friendly website

This simple piece of advice is the single most important thing you can do to help rank your site better for your local market.  If you have a shitty website – even if you can drive traffic to it – you will NOT acquire customers from it.  This is also the easiest way to start stealing customers winning new business from your competitors.  Why?  Because 95% of small business websites haven’t been updated in years!  If you don’t believe me – go Google your industry in your local market and look at the business websites.  You will find outdated content, old looking websites, sites that were keyword stuffed like crazy, and a million other dumb things on these websites like intro text that says “Welcome to our website”.

This is great news for you!  Hiring a website design company to build you a new user friendly  website that includes basic SEO will  get you lower bounce rates than your competitor sites.  Bounce rates (along with click through rates) are one of many a ranking factors for Local SEO.

Add Quality Content to your new website

Most of your competition has crappy content on their website.  For example – I’ve seen many hardwood flooring websites that have the following 5 pages:  Home | About Us | Hardwood Installation | Hardwood Refinishing | Contact Us.

The key to quality content is to have content that appeals to the user / visitor to your website.

A lot of people struggle with writing the quality, original content that Google likes.  The secret to writing quality content for your websites local seo is to write it as if someone was standing in front of you and asked you about your product or service.  So instead of listing just “Hardwood Flooring” on your website – you should have “Types of Hardwood”.  Then under that category you should have “Walnut, Maple, Oak, Cherry, Bamboo, Cork”.  On those pages you write content that answer your customers questions about why they should choose one over the other – what are the differences? – which wood types are more scratch resistant? – how often will they have to refinish the wood? – how much does each type of floor cost?  You should have multiple pictures of each type of wood with different stains – then links from those pages going to the hardwood stains page.  If you do this you will end up with the most authoritative website in your area about your product or service.

Claim all your Social Profiles AND USE THEM!

Most of your competition will not do this.  Most of your competition has a Facebook page with 12 likes from their family members and employees.  The competition has not posted anything on Facebook in years!

More unbelievable is the number of local businesses that have not claimed their Google + page!

I know you are asking what could a hardwood flooring company, or a septic company post to social media that will get them customers.  Stop thinking about it as how to get customers and start thinking about it as local engagement signals.  All you are trying to do is have more likes, +1’s, twitter followers, and reviews than your competition.  Post content from your blog, post birthdays, post holiday messages, post a thank you to your customers… post anything an everything but just keep posting.  This will eventually lead to more followers, more likes, and more engagement than the competition which is a huge signal to Google in the Local SEO arena.

Maintain a blog

This is yet another area that most local businesses fail miserably at.  A blog is a simple way to keep adding content to your website.  It’s also a simple way to keep your social profiles active as you can install plugins that will auto post to your social profiles.  You get to kill 2 birds with one stone here!  Types of things you can post are “how to”, “what to watch out for”, “tips and tricks to” – the list goes on and one.

Build citations (not any crappy one – the top ones in your industry / local area.

Now that you have an awesome user friendly website with amazing content on it – you can now start worrying about slightly more advanced boring and monotonous techniques like citation building.

Citation building is the process of claiming listings around the web and ensuring that your businesses name, address, phone number, website, description, pictures and more are updated and accurate across the internet.  THIS IS NOT BACK LINK BUILDING!  What you are doing here is establishing credibility in the eyes of Google.  Google does NOT know that you changed your phone number 2 years ago, or that your business address changed last year.

When Google finds inconsistent information around the internet, it will see that as 2 different businesses.  It’s incredibly important for Local SEO to ensure that your information is consistent.

Spy on your competitors

Any person or company that does local SEO had better be using software to monitor the competition.  What are you watching for?  You are watching various ranking factors for changes. You are monitoring back links the competition has gained so you can go get the same ones when they show up.  You are watching for changes in the keywords they are targeting.  You are looking for the main keyword they are targeting and seeing if they have made mistakes in their SEO tactics that you can capitalize on.

Monitor your website for errors, dead links, new links, load times etc.

When you have a website – things change.  Links die, contact forms quit working. You move a page and forget to redirect it.  If you are not monitoring your website for these things – your website will drop in the rankings over time.  Keeping your website top of mind is one of the best ways to ensure that your site does not fall victim to the “build it and forget it” mentality.  If you monitor the keyword reports – you will see that you are suddenly ranking for words you didn’t plan for.  Or you might find a hidden gem of a keyword that you can now write a blog post about to get better rankings.

How much does Local SEO cost?

This is a bit of a tougher one to answer.  It really just depends on the company and whether or not they are doing quality work.  The only thing I can say here is that if it’s under approximately $300 per month – you are probably not going to get much from it.  This is because, as hopefully you now understand, there is a lot of work that goes into ranking a website locally.  My rates range from $750 to $1,000 per month depending on how much optimization your website needs and how tough your market is.  Another factor that goes into the pricing is how well optimized your competitors websites are.  It’s harder to beat a good website, that is highly optimized, than it is to beat a bunch of crappy websites in a small market.

Hopefully this article has helped you understand the world of Local SEO better.  FREE Local SEO estimate.

About the Author

Chad Musgrove is the owner, janitor, receptionist, book keeper, website developer and internet marketer of Pro AD Insight. PAI is a website design and internet marketing company specializing in providing the small business owner with amazing websites and top notch pay per click advertising at incredibly low prices. Contact Chad today to learn how he can help you with your website.

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