With the near year approaching, many businesses will be reviewing the past year and planning for future strategies and innovations. As we talked about in our last post, 2015 will be a year of continued growth and change in the digital landscape.
However, while you plan for new ideas and updated strategies, it’s also important to make sure you’ve got the basics done right. You don’t want to start thinking about new and advanced digital strategies if you don’t have a strong foundation.
The truth is that while 2015 is sure to bring plenty of change into the digital world, many aspects of SEO just don’t change that much. If you’re a local business, there are many things are basic, boring, and old – but massively important to SEO success. In this post, we’ll cover a few local SEO foundations for the new year.
Plan and research local keyword targeting. Keywords are still critical to SEO success, and for local businesses, getting geotargeting right is essential. Be sure to make a real plan for all the different regions you want to target and the services associated with each region. Don’t assume that ranking well in “Dallas” will translate into rankings for “Fort Worth”. Each regional target is a unique goal with separate optimizations needed.
Build a strong technical platform. The literal foundation of your online presence is the technical platform used to build your website. This means both the content management system that you’ve chosen as well as your hosting and overall technical environment. For most smaller local businesses, we suggest using WordPress as a CMS. Choosing a different CMS, or just using plain HTML, might work fine – but might also cause problems down the road. Good hosting is critical as well, as fast website load times are important for both SEO and user experience.
Put your location information on your website. This might sound obvious, but your address information needs to be available on your website. Not just on one contact page, but all over the site. A common best practice is to put your full address into your website’s footer, which sends strong local signals across all pages on your site. We also suggest putting your city/state keywords in your title tags and headings, and where possible URLs, image alternate text, and body copy.
Claim your local listings. Local profiles and directory listings are critically important to local SEO success. You’ll want to spend the most time on Google My Business, which you should manually claim and carefully optimize with all the relevant business information you can include. You also want to work on the broader local profile ecosystem, which includes platforms like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing Places, YellowPages.com, SuperPages.com, and many others.
Optimize for conversions. It’s not enough to just get people to your website – you’ve got to get them to convert into customers. As you look to optimize your website, make sure that it’s easy for users to do what you want them to do. This means strong calls to action for phone calls or contact form-fills, a fast and easy to use website, clear contact information, and more.
The future of digital marketing looks incredible interesting. The growth of mobile, the emergence of wearable computing, increased global connectivity, new online payment platforms, smarter algorithms and other trends are pointing to a future of huge opportunity for the digital world. However, before you can start to engage with these trends, you’ve got to have a solid basic foundation for your online presence. If you’re looking for help getting started with digital marketing, the Tech-Critic team can help. Contact us today for a free local SEO audit.