On-Page SEO Tips for Small Local Businesses
The digital world is a double-edged sword for small to medium local businesses. One one hand, it’s easy and affordable to get your foot in the door on almost every public platform. Social media accounts and Google Business accounts, for instance, are completely free and you can get started on all or most of the popular digital media styles like blogging and social video with nothing but a single computer and mobile device.
However, actually becoming and remaining competitive in the digital marketing world is an entirely different story. When compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on big marketing teams and multi-platform campaigns pushed by large corporations, it can be easy to feel drowned out in the big picture. Fortunately, the entire purpose of SEO (and search engine inspired inbound marketing in general) is to lead your ideal customers to your website instead of to larger and less personally useful businesses. The key is to know how to optimize your website so everyday local search engine users can find you. This process is known as SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
Types of SEO
There are three primary types of basic SEO, on-page, off-page, and background. On-page SEO is what most people think of as traditional SEO, the art of embedding frequently searched-for keywords into your content in order to boost your search engine recommendations and attract seekers to your web pages. The second type, off-page SEO involves including legitimate links to other pages outside of your domain name. If your links connect to reputable sites and enhance the value or message of your content, search engine algorithms will boost your page ranking. Finally, background (sometimes called technical) SEO is what you do with your webpage behind the scenes including image tags, heading sizes, and improving your page load times.
Today we’re going to focus on the primary purpose of SEO, to draw local potential customers to your business website so they can become interested and qualified leads. In other words, we’ll be talking about on-page SEO for small to medium local businesses. Here’s how it’s done:
Know Your Keywords
The first step to almost any SEO work is to know the keywords you are aiming for. SEO keywords are words and phrases that are used when people look for information through a search engine. Knowing the right keywords to use involves a combination of search term research and putting yourself in the audience’s shoes. Ideally, you’re looking for a fairly wide selection of words and phrases that are probably searched for frequently and that relate to your industry and business.
Keyword Conversion Funnel
You also want to consider every level of the conversion funnel. At the top of the funnel, your search terms are likely to be more in the form of questions. Near the center of the funnel, customers are seeking clarification to define their already outlined desires, and at the end of the funnel, they are looking for a nearby provider of whatever it is they need.
SEO is often best discussed in examples so let’s say you are a local electrician service offering home repairs and consultations in the Denver CO area. General keywords might be “light” “fixture” “flickering” “sparking” “broken” “wiring” “renovation” and “remodel” in various combinations with “Denver” and a variety of local neighborhoods and suburb cities.
Always Aim for Organic SEO
Now that you have your keywords, let’s talk for a moment about the difference between ‘organic’ and non-organic SEO. Since it’s obvious that pesticides aren’t the issue here, the difference between organic and non-organic SEO is actually how easily the keywords flow in your content. With organic SEO, the keywords take a natural role in the content while non-organic SEO tends to take the form of keyword-stuffing in which keywords are shoved almost at random into existing content in order to manipulate search engine results. Non-organic SEO also tends to miss opportunities to add secondary keywords due to over-focusing on the few big hitters. Let’s look at some examples.
“Tina’s bakery was founded in St Paul, Minnesota in 1983 and we’ve been baking our hearts out since opening day! Come in for our delicious selection of cookies, cakes, pasteries, and specialty breads any day of the week from 9 AM to 9PM. We’ll even do special event cakes to order!
- St Paul, Minnesota
- Cookes, Cakes, Pasteries, and Specialty Breads
- Delicious Selection
- Any Day of the week
- 9 AM to 9PM
- Event Cakes to Order
“Tina’s bakery is the best bakery in St Pal Minnesota! We’ve been baking in St Paul since 1983 and love to serve our customers delicious desserts. You can try one of everything we serve because here in St Paul’s best bakery, we have it all! We even do specialty cakes!
- Best Bakery in St Paul Minnesota
- Baking in St Paul
- Delicious Desserts
- St Paul’s Best Bakery
- Specialty Cakes
Provide All Relevant Information
One great way to achieve organic SEO while still compressing many of your keywords into a single efficient block of text is to provide all basic information about your company right up-front on your homepage and then repeat it in the footer that appears on every page in your business site. State your business name, what you do, your street address, store hours, phone number, and at least one support email address. This will help search engines know what you have to offer users and help your local visitors know that they have come to exactly the right place and not a similar venue three cities over. Don’t forget to label each line so the search engine knows what it’s looking at.
Awesome Al’s Hardware Emporium
All Your Hardware Needs from Hand Tools to Paint Cans
Address: 1234 Merckle Dr. Casper, WY 55212
Hours: Monday – Friday 8AM to 8PM
Saturday 8AM to 10 PM
Sunday 11 AM to 8PM
Delivery: Yes, We Deliver!
Providing all the relevant information is, in fact, an ideal way to organically and helpfully SEO much of your website. Clearly listing the details of your services and the technical specifications of your products will also guide both SEO and your visitors quickly to the information they are looking for.
Write to Your Audience
When you’re thinking of your goals as boosting online traffic, bringing in more customers, and making your website more readable and navigable for search engines, it’s easy to forget about the customers themselves. Remember that you know your customer base. As a local business, they are your friends, colleagues, and neighbors and they are not a search engine.
SEO for People, Not Computers
SEO may be a computer-implemented algorithm, but it was invented and is constantly being developed to help real people find what they’re looking for. The keywords themselves, how they are used, and the effectiveness of your SEO on conversions all depends on who is doing the searching. SEO is about predicting the search terms of your customers. For instance. “Is this light fixture safe” is likely the precursor to hiring an electrician to make sure a replacement doesn’t result in electrocution or fire.
Finally, Don’t forget that while keyword-stuffing may get visitors to your web pages, only quality content and service will actually keep them around to become appreciative and paying customers. Write content and place keywords in a way that is appealing and useful for your audience, not just to trick an algorithm into suggesting your business for local searches.
SEO is a big job involving a combination of creative thought and technical know-how. For more information about how to do SEO copywriting for new content, embed keywords into your existing content, or venture out into the more advanced forms of search engine optimization, please contact us today!