Local Search: 4 Tactics You Will Want To Put Into Practice This Year
Each year, you are finding yourself at bat with more and more online competition. The question that you must ask yourself is how can you set yourself apart from your competition, while also improving local search position?
Local SEO: What Is It?
Before we delve into tactics that can be used for local search, let’s first define local SEO for those who are unfamiliar with the term. Simply put, local SEO refers to businesses competition for the top positions in the local SERPs. Ideally, you want to get your brand listed in one of the first three positions – as close to the top of the page as possible. Unfortunately, today, you are competition with a lot of online directories and paid search ads for these positions. Therefore, it is crucial that you are strategic about your local search strategy and that you maintain a solid strategy moving forward.
So, what types of measures can you take in order to secure a top position for your local area? Ideally, you want to focus on local SEO strategies that you competition is not implementing or is not implementing well enough. Here are four local search tactics that you can put into practice in 2018 and beyond.
Tactic #1: Secure Your Website
If your website is not secure – meaning that it does not show the lock in the top left corner and load with https at the front of the URL – then you are truly missing out. At the beginning of 2017, Google started sending out beta warnings regarding insecurity to commerce-based sites. In Q4 of last year, these warnings started going out to even more websites. While some visitors may not be scared off by a pop-up that says “This website is not secure,” there is a certain percentage of them that will not stay on your website due to the increase of cybersecurity threats in today’s day and age. Today, it is more important than ever before to ensure that your website traffic is qualified.
The search engine giant has evaded the ranking boost and search benefit of ensuring that your website is secure. If you are ever doubting the importance of securing your website, look at some of the big hitters – Google itself, Twitter, Facebook, etc. – and it will be clear why you should move your brand to a secure URL. Find out which SSL is best for your website.
Tactic #2: Look at Your URL Structure
The URL structure is what shows up in the browser following the domain (marketeingagency.com/url-structure) and is very important to your overall search strategy. The URL contains data that search engines see. It also consists of data that browsers see. The URL structure needs to be short, concise, descriptive and relate specifically to your brand.
If you are using WordPress, then you want to make sure to check the site’s permalink structure and adjust it to the best possible structure (post name, for example). You don’t want it to include months, years, page IDs or any long sequences of numbers. This will ensure that your URL is easier to read, understand and share. It also permits data to be used in the URL, such as keywords, which is crucial for traditional search as well as local search. If you alter the permalink structure, the old URL structure will need to be redirected to the new one. This is crucial for older websites that have been utilizing html-based or static code or sites with a significant amount of content.
Tactic #3: Develop Exceptional Content
Ultimately, there are two forms of content that you will create for your site or blog: short-form or long-form content. Then, of course, there is also incredibly long long-form content. Short-form content is often a bit easier to create, and it is also quicker and easier to read when it comes to browsers. However, it is easier to include more details in long-form content due to its length. As a result, this type of content allows for more subheadings, inbound and outbound links, as well as additional writing and editing.
So, how do you determine what your readers are interested in reading and what it is the search engines will determine relevant enough so that you will be ranked well?
If you are suffering from writer’s block, here are some tips that will help you break out of the rut that you are in and get you creative juices flowing.
- Get to know your market
- Make sure you are familiar with your brand strategy as well as relevant keywords
- Familiarize yourself with technical factors that are required when developing great content
There are multiple tools that can be utilized to research keywords with high search traffic; however, it does take some time to understand your market. Though you can use these tools, you always have the option of hiring a professional agency to do the hard work for you, including developing the position and identity of your brand. This includes focusing on your website development and design, logo design, and content strategy.
People are often performing searches in the form of questions; therefore, quality content comes in the form of Q & A posts. To help you create your content, you will want to locate popular questions related to your brand that need to be answered, ask customers questions that they may have or how they located you, and browse industry-related user forums.
Tactic #4: Make Use of Google Posts
To make use of Google Posts, which will assist you in performing with local search, you will need to make sure that you are claiming and verifying your Google My Business listing. Once this has been completed, you will need to optimize your industry category. Make sure that the category that you select is one that aligns with your company’s brand. After all, most people will search granularly rather than generically. Next, you will need to ensure that the information in your listing is current. Don’t forget to use the new secure URL from earlier, update your hours of operation (including holiday hours), and add some appealing photos (both interior and exterior).
Once all of the above has been completed, you can now move on to giving Google Posts a try. This is not meant to replace any content that you have previously created; instead, these posts will add to your existing content. Google Posts are very similar to that of micro posts, and they include a description, a picture, and a landing page that will direct users to the entire content. This could be a blog post, an event, a special promotion, or a product/service. When you are ready to develop a Google Post, simply log into your GMB and look to the left-hand side of the page where you will see the section labeled new “posts”. The process of developing a high-quality Google Post is very similar to creating quality content on your standard website.
As you are creating your content, make sure to attempt to incorporate relevant keywords, good readability score, and important information that will assist your readers in taking their next steps. Their next steps may be reading the remainder of the post, attending your event, signing up for a subscription, or learning more about your product/service on your company website. Due to the fact that Google Posts are seen as micro posts, they won’t stay online forever. In fact, they will be removed by Google after seven days, or following the date of your event. This process helps to ensure that the content that is posted online and that is available to users is timely. Plus, it ensures that you are on top of your game with fresh, ready-to-go content.
Keep in mind that Google Posts aren’t the only thing that will get you a high placement in local search; however, indicators do currently suggest that Google Posts offer a slight boost in your local search rankings. This is particularly true if your audience is engaging with your posts.
If you have any questions about securing your website, URL structure, or Google Posts or need assistance creating quality, engaging content, reach out to our experienced team at WebDetail.