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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

SEO Strategy for Local Business Marketing

Building an SEO Strategy for Local Business Marketing is no different from trying to achieve global domination with a larger site.

You have on page SEO Strategy and off page SEO Strategy factors and if you leave some of them out, you're going to lower your chance of ranking.  It's like cooking, if you forget to add some of the ingredients which are part of the recipe, it's not going to be as nice.

SEO Strategy

The whole idea of  an SEO Strategy is that you are helping Google and the other search engines to understand what your site is all about it.  If they have that crucial information, it helps them to rank you better.

Domain Name/URL for Local Business Marketing
But it's also important to stop being a local business marketing expert and think about how the ordinary man in the street thinks.  And the first time you ask yourself that is when you come to choose your URL or domain name.  Should it be keyword rich?

When Google decided that the URL should be important to the algorithm, they weren't thinking relevancy per se.

Big companies that are not thinking like marketers choose their brand as their URL every time and Google says that the common person when naming their domain is most likely going to choose their brand name too - so marketers try to incorporate keywords into the brand name to get the best of both worlds.

However, sometimes it's not possible to get the dot com version of the domain that you want and the experts seem to agree that the next best are dot net and dot org in terms of effectiveness but that adding dashes to a dot com are also permissible.

MetaData for Local Business Marketing
If you use Wordpress to design your sites, there are three SEO plugins which help with completing the metadata for the site itself, as well as the Pages and Posts.  All in One SEO, Platinum SEO and the Yoast Wordpress SEO.

The Title tag is important because it shows up on the broswer bar as an identifier for the site. Just as the title for a magazine or newspaper is important, having your keyword in the title is also key. So if you want to rank for a term, you need to make sure that it is included in the title tag for your website.

Typically, Google displays your title with the keyword first and then the brand on the other side of the pipe bar and this is the best way to optimise your site.

For the description it has been known for companies to rank well with the keyword stuffed into it three times and you can be penalised if it doesn't read well.  Contrary to what some experts might say.  Google does look at the description because they bold the keyword in the title and the description and in the domain name.  Adding your location into your description can help to position your website for local business marketing.

There has been a lot of disagreement over meta keywords but most people agree that, whilst Google may ignore them, Yahoo and Bing do take them into account so it is still worth completing this box.

On Page SEO Strategy


Keywords in content is very important.  The density should be around 2-3% so that would be 8-10 times in a natural way within a 500 word article.  You can also use lsi (latent semantic indexing) or related words.

A great way to establish these is to go to the bottom of the first page of the SERPs for the keyword you are targeting and you will find a list of related searches.  These words can be sprinkled throughout your post to help make your actual keywords more powerful since Google sees that they are all related.

For local business marketing you should add a geo modifer or location to your best keywords and this will allow you to narrow down your niche to focus on those customers who are most likely to buy from your business.

Formatting
Just as a magazine or newspaper would break up a long block of text to make it easier to read for humans, you can use different sizes of headers called h1, h2 and h3 for the search engines and these titles should include your keywords.

You can also use underline, bold and italics to highlight your keywords and draw the eye of both the reader and the search engine spiders.

Tags and Categories should also be keyword rich.  If you build your content in Wordpress these are both ways of telling Google what the content is about.  Relevant tags and categories give more credibility but they don't necessarily need to be included in the actual content.  They just need to be related and relevant.

Nofollow or Dofollow?
Only a local business marketing strategist would even think about such a question.  Google likes to think about what the common every day person would do and most would not know what nofollow means. Every time you do something sneaky like that, you stand out as  'doing stuff different' to the common person and that's not good

Having said that, some marketers have said that tags should be made nofollow because for some reason Google can rank them very quickly and ignore the actual content.  The ranking for tags does not stay put and so will drop off the front page as quickly as it arrives and the content that you were trying to rank will remain unnoticed.

Images are a huge part of  your local business marketing SEO strategy because GoogleYourKeyword.jpg that will count in your favour since most non-marketers would call their picture that.

Internal Linking
You need to ensure that you have separate pages/posts for each of your main keywords which take into account all the above on page SEO and then you need to link them all to each other in the main body of the text using the relevant keyword as the anchor text.

Google will follow the link from the main keyword to the page about main keyword and when they're looking to index you as a brand new site, the more info and the more proof that your site is about your main keyword, the better off you will be.


On page factors can get you ranking if the keyword is not so competitive but long term you need off page backlinking as well.

Off Page SEO Strategy


External Linking
This is where your website links out to other relevant sites - not competitor sites but articles on Wikipedia or authority 'standards' sites,  University or government sites about the same keyword.

You can put them into the body of your articles or have a blogroll page named resources and link to wiki, government sites, webmd, authority sites.  This shows that your site is trying to provide relevant info and is linking out to other relevant information sites.

Indexing
Sometimes it just takes Google a while to actually find your site and its content.  A good way to find out if you have been indexed is to google "site:domainname.com".

If it shows some results, then  you have been noticed by Google and your pages indexed.  One guru explained that if you have not been indexed then you can use Google's webmaster tools but it is better to show up in a more natural way by typing into google "www.quantcast.com/YourDomainName.

Quantcast is a demographics site and if it does not have your domain on its list then it will wonder wonder why you are asking about it and try to find out more.  This means that when Google crawl Quantcast, they will find your domain listed and come to you to crawl the new content.

Another thing that you should ensure is that you have used your Webmaster tools to select whether your site is seen as domain.com or www.domain.com.  This means that you avoid splitting your backlink juice.

SEO Strategy for Local Business Marketing


The best way to configure your SEO Strategy to help your site get ranked on a Google first page, whether you're engaged in global or local business marketing is to have your main money site right in the centre and then create a series of stand alone sites that you don't own but on which you are allowed to post content that contains backlinks back to your main site using your main keywords as anchor text.

These sites are called 2.0 properties and examples are article directories or microblogs like tumblr, posterous or wordpress.  They are content rich authority sites in their own right and so a backlink from one of these will help your own ranking.  If you post content and create links to your own site from several of these, you are building a link wheel with your site at the hub.

Some people have found that linking the external content rich sites together can add an extra dimension to this SEO Strategy whilst others say that it is better to leave a gap so that the wheel remains open.

Whatever, having a wheel focused on a particular keyword with unique content on each of the linking sites can build up both your authority and your ranking for that keyword.

Acquiring social media approval with Facebook Likes, Retweets and Google +1s all adds to the votes of confidence in your favour in the eyes of the search engines.  Add in syndication by including your posts in RSS feeds and for local business marketing, this is a bit like a provincial radio show being broadcast on a national network.  RSS feeds are the data from your content and these are pushed all over the internet bringing links and traffic back to your site.

9 comments:

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