For those who own and market an Arizona business, local search engine optimization (SEO) is tough. While they appear the same, there is a large difference between non-specific and local SEO, with the latter being more challenging to achieve. The constant changes Google makes to its algorithms increase the difficulty level, creating struggle for even the most experienced digital marketers.
Many businesses do not know where to start when it is time to meet with a local SEO company. The following guide explains the factors and the process involved for achieving a high local search ranking to get a step up on competitors.
The first step in understanding local SEO is learning the rank factors. This equips the business with the knowledge for addressing problems, fixing them in a timely manner and avoiding future issues.
A study published by Moz in 2017 outlined important local search ranking factors.
• Keywords, category and proximity
• Domain authority and inbound links
• On-page signals
The higher a site’s domain authority is, the better it ranks. Keywords are also important, and target words used in the title are a significant rank booster. The next phase is quality backlinks.
Google considers the domain authority of all sites that link in, and poor-quality links bring the rank down. Best practice is getting linkbacks from respected and authoritative websites, which result in a higher local rank as well. The anchor text used in the links is just as important as the links themselves. It should be on topic and relevant to the business. For example, an Arizona business wants Arizona-related content for linkbacks. Keywords should not be used in anchor text.
On the negative side, the most prominent factor that brings down local SEO is placing the business in the wrong category in Google My Business. Using related but incorrect categories hurts ranking.
If the address of the business is listed incorrectly, or the contact information is unclear, Google will significantly reduce the ranking.
Overall, high-quality backlinks and domain authority are the keys to improving local SEO.
Use Healthy SEO Practices
Once a business understands the factors that play a role in local SEO, it is time to put them in place. This requires time and effort, and it is important to not give up too soon. The following techniques will help.
• Optimize Google My Business. This means using a proper category and the correct information. Ensure the business address, phone number and URL match and do not mislead people. List the hours of operation for the business. Verifying the domain presents more options. Most importantly, the business should be listed for what it is, not what it does.
• Update descriptions and photos. Create a 150 to 300-word meta description about what the business does. Do not stuff it with keywords. Ensure the description is unique. Add a cover photo, a logo photo and a profile photo. The images should be high quality and relevant to the business.
• Source customer reviews. The best approach to this is asking customers directly for feedback. Train employees to ask for opinions. Always respond promptly to reviews even if they are negative.
Local SEO Optimization
Local search rankings depend on website signals, making optimization very important. Along with domain authority, keywords play a crucial role, but they must be used correctly. Generic localized keywords like ”Arizona SEO” will likely be unhelpful for ranking. The following tips will help with optimization:
• Update the title tag and meta description. This has the most impact on local SEO. Use the
business name and location in the title. Make the meta description meaningful and eyecatching while using a keyword and the location.
• Optimize landing pages. Keep the content useful, relevant and unique. Use 300 to 500 words with subheaders and add high-ranking keywords for extra SEO power.
• Ensure business information is correct. Do not use a P.O. box or an 800 number. Approximately 54 percent of people using smartphones look up business hours online, which is why this should be prominently displayed.
• Use a responsive website design. This provides an optimal mobile experience for visitors and keeps the site consistent for the search engines. More people use the mobile web each year, making this an important factor.
Analysis of backlinks reveals spam and other low-quality content that hurts local SEO, such as payday loans, gambling websites and domains located overseas. This is resolved by disavowing the links. Disavowing means telling Google to disregard the links when it crawls the website. Taking this step improves local SEO.
Local SEO is vital, and it will grow in importance as time goes on. The staff at Internet Marketing Services is always available to help companies maximize their local SEO efforts and improve their business.