Simple Steps to Identify Your Website’s Local SEO Issues and Opportunities to Drive Rankings
Even if you have a local business and do not engage in e-commerce, it is likely you have a website to spread awareness, raise your visibility and drive more foot-fall to your store. While you think it is not that important for you to have top-grade rankings, you should know that if your website is more prominent, it will boost your website traffic, which, in turn, will get more people inside your store.
Whether you have an actual area or a web-based business that serves a particular area, you really want a system for focusing on confined searches and clients in your space. This is the way you rank higher in Google search, surpass your rivals, and draw in much more clients.
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Even if you know the secret to getting good rankings for target keywords lies in the effective implementation of SEO, you may be confused and not know where to make a start. To improve your website ranking, you will need to know what is wrong with it and what opportunities exist for improvement. You need to conduct a website audit to get to the bottom of the issues. Some of the top things you should focus on include:
It is possible to explore hidden opportunities that can help give a boost to your search engine rankings without much effort. For example, your rankings may be suffering due to the imposition of Google penalties. To find out if Google has penalized your website, you need to access Google Search Console with the site owner credentials and choose the website you want to audit. Then you need to click on Security & Manual Actions in the sidebar to the left and select Manual actions. If it reports issues with your website, these are the first things you need to pay attention to and resolve.
Conduct a Keyword Audit
The success of local SEO depends, to a great extent, on the selection of the keywords. Conducting a keyword audit can help you discover if your keyword selection and focus are on the right track. To initiate the audit process, you need to have a list of keywords you are aiming to rank high. You can derive many of these keywords by yourself, depending on your line of business, your specialties, location, etc. You can also use a keyword research tool that helps you to find out the keywords your competitors are using successfully and adapt them to your situation. After establishing a keyword list, you need to check your current rankings for those keywords and the user search intent.
Current keyword rankings
The process of checking your search rankings for the identified keywords is simple. You can Google them to find out, but since it can take a long time, it is invariably faster and better to use an SEO tool with a rank tracking feature. You can input all the keywords and perform a scan to generate a report with the ranking results. It helps if you use a tool geared for local SEO, as you can generate results for specific locations and the local pack and Knowledge Panel. You can also find out the search volume of each of your selected keywords to discover how often Google users are making queries with those terms.
Keyword search intent
Search intent is about understanding the search terms users potentially use on Google to get the information they want. For example, users including the word “buy” along with a product description are more likely to be in a transactional mode and therefore represent more potential for conversions. Since you will want to profit from the user’s transactional intent, you should investigate if you are using keywords not relevant to the offered products and services and if you are using a proper mix of conventional keywords and long-tail keywords. You also need to find out if your keywords include typical local search terms like “near me”, “closest”, “where”, and other location-based terms. Armed with information regarding your ranking for keyword searches and the user search intent, you can tweak your content strategy appropriately to get better Google rankings.
Check Google Business Profile
The first step is to verify whether your business has a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing because, in its absence, you are losing out on plenty of local SEO opportunities. According to the Search Engine Journal, brands can get the maximum local exposure with GBP. The GBP does not replace a business website but complements it by giving it an identity and presence on Google. If you do not have a GBP, you should set it up using Google’s built-in feature. If your business has been in existence for a few years, you may have to claim it since Google will have already listed it. In both cases, you must ensure that all the information is present and correct.
Including local SEO keywords in the GBP can make a big difference to your Google rankings and ensure your business appears in the local pack. Including the keywords in the GBP title does not work because the guidelines require using the actual name of the business. Savvy business owners resort to including the keywords in the business's name instead. However, if you adopt this technique, you must make the name sound natural. You should also include keywords in the various GBP categories and the description for the best impact.
To make your GBP more credible and professional, you should include your business logo and a cover photo that Google displays in the search results. You should include photos of the store's interior, your products and services, your team, and other subjects of relevance to potential customers. Including videos and posting regularly on the GBP does a lot for user engagement. Needless to say, the quality of the images and videos must be high to impress users.
Local SEO aims to improve search engine rankings for local businesses for queries with local search intent. Google has a well-defined system for assisting your business to rank higher and appear more frequently in the Local Pack/Map Pack in response to relevant search queries. While the three steps outlined here will assist you to get an immediate and significant boost in your business’s rankings, creating a great user experience and following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines will yield more consistent and enduring results.