In 2019, SEO is local. That’s doubly true for brick and mortar businesses, which thrive on being easily discoverable by search engine users in the immediate area. That’s ultimately what gets people filing into the restaurant or the store, and as such, it’s no exaggeration to say that local SEO can make or break your broader marketing efforts.
The question is, what can you do to ensure your local SEO efforts garner results? That’s a big topic, and it touches on everything from content creation to website architecture. Today, we’re going to look at some simple yet significant technical SEO investments that can make a world of difference.
Easy Fixes to Your Technical SEO
List your company contact information in HTML.
For starters, double check that your company’s NAP information (name, address, and phone number) is listed on the site in actual text. It’s not enough to have it embedded in an image, as Google’s algorithms don’t actually scan images. Make sure it’s coded into your site in HTML.
Be sure your site is indexed.
Sometimes, there may be a technical error that prevents your site from being properly indexed by Google and Bing. There’s an easy way to check this; do a quick search for site:yourdomainname.com. See how many individual pages come up. If it’s close to the actual number of pages on your site, then you’re in business. If not, you may want to check with your Web design team to discover what’s keeping your site from being properly indexed.
Activate Google Webmaster Tools.
If you’re not already using Google Webmaster Tools for your website, it’s time to start doing so. Among other benefits, Google Webmaster Tools will alert you to technical errors that impede your site’s performance.
Optimize your site for mobile use.
A majority of your website traffic is likely to come from mobile users. What’s more, the search engines tend to reward sites that provide information in an easily digestible format. Be sure that your site looks good across all device and browser types. Also ensure that it loads quickly; if it takes more than three or four seconds for your site to load, that could be costing you traffic.
Create meta data.
Don’t overlook this important opportunity! By creating meta data, you can directly tell the search algorithms what your site is and what it’s about. Make sure you write both a meta title and a meta description, offering some good descriptive text and some target keywords. In your meta description, a brief call to action can also be valuable.
Set up redirects.
Over time, it’s likely that certain pages of your website will be deleted. When that happens, it’s important to set up redirects, which alert Google that the page is no longer active. If you don’t do this, it can cause some SEO confusion, and potentially impede your rankings.
Create individual location pages.
This isn’t as necessary if your business only has one location, but if you have multiple stores, there may be some benefit to creating individual, location-specific pages for each one. Each of these location pages should take a targeted approach, including geographic keywords and the contact information for that specific location. You can also include helpful information about hours of operation, location-specific features or amenities, etc.
Use Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is an invaluable resource, providing you with in-depth information about who’s accessing your site, how they find it, which pages get the most traffic, etc. You can often use this information to make important tweaks or adjustments to your SEO efforts. It happens to be free, as well, so there’s no point to avoid setting up Google Analytics for your business website!
Improve site speed.
We mentioned this before, but it’s worth zeroing in on the significance of fast load times. If your site takes more than a few seconds to load, search engine users will get impatient and navigate elsewhere. Test your site speed on different devices and browsers, and if it’s slow, look into some of the potential causes. If you’re working with a Web design team, this is a good question to bring to their attention.
Make the Most of Every SEO Opportunity
Each of the action items we’ve listed here represents a relatively simple way to make a big impact on your local SEO. Simple though they may be, we see a lot of businesses that don’t fully exploit these opportunities; it’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to go through the checklist and make sure your business website has each of these elements in place.
We love talking with our clients about opportunities to make their website better, and more SEO-effective. If you’d like to chat, we welcome you to reach out to enCOMPASS today.
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