What do you think of when you hear the terms SEO or Search Engine Optimization? Do you think keywords, Google ranking, or Google ads? You should. They have all been a part of SEO strategies for a long time.
What many people don’t realize is that SEO has been in a constant state of evolution. The SEO strategies that were used 5 or 10 years ago are no longer relevant. Search engines have changed and the way people use them has changed.
Here are some examples of how things have changed in the world of SEO for businesses trying to be seen by potential customers online.
Lots of keywords on a page
Minimal keywords on a page
Readability of content doesn’t matter
Better content, better page ranking
Searches performed on desktop computers
Searches on multiple devices
Simple keywords in search
More complex search requests
Searches entered by keyboard
Very few paid Google ads per page
The first results in a search are paid ads
Search performed in browsers
Search performed via maps
These are just some of the changes that have happened in the SEO landscape over the last decade, and the evolution is continuing. As a Search Engine Optimization Service in Fargo, ND, we are proactive in updating our customer’s Local SEO strategies to current trends.
Local SEO Rises to the Top
Two words have become increasingly common in both typed searches and voice search – “near me.” This is what makes location based SEO strategies so important. Local SEO is all about making sure your business is found quickly when someone “near you” searches for your type of establishment or the types of services you offer.
Local SEO is all about reaching the right people at the right time.
Think about it. If you lock yourself out of your car, you’re going to type or speak into your phone “locksmith near me.” Within seconds you get a map or list that shows you all the locksmiths close to your current location. If someone is doing a search, chances are they are ready to buy. That’s always the best time to capture their attention.
Let’s look at what current statistics tell us about Local Search.
- Close to 50% of Google searches are for local businesses or services.
- Over 50% of those who use “near me” in their search visit a location found in that search.
- 86% of people surveyed said they use Google Maps to find business locations.
- 70% of customers make the decision to visit a business based on the online information related to that business.
3 Key Ingredients to Effective Local SEO for Fargo Businesses
In order to make sure your business shows up when someone is searching, you need to have several key pieces in place. Optimizing your website for local search is number one, but that is just the starting place. The primary ingredients for effective Local SEO involve your:
- Business Listings
- Social Media
The Recipe for a Website Optimized for Local Search
In any recipe, there are essential ingredients and there are those that further enhance the final product to make it the best it can be. Flour and eggs are essential to making cookies; chocolate chips, however, aren’t essential, but they sure increase the appeal. The same is true in optimizing your website for Local SEO. Here is our recommended recipe for a winning website.
Step 1: Include location-based keywords in url, title tag, and H1 of home page.
Step 2: Add location-based landing pages for target communities.
Step 3: Sprinkle content lightly with related keywords.
Step 4: Use location keywords in enticing meta descriptions for each page.
Step 5: Continue to add new content to your site regularly. A blog is a great way to do that.
Option 1: Include a Google map on your site, showing your location.
Option 2: Add Schema Markup code to your website.
Your website is now ready to start drawing in those looking to “taste” what you have to offer.
Are You Bob, Rob or Robert? Why Consistency Is Critical in Business Listings
Google and the other search engines want to know as much about your business as possible. They will search through all the data looking for information that is connected to your business:
- business listings
- links to your website
- social media accounts
This can be very beneficial to a business, so you want to make it easy for them to distinguish you from other businesses similar to you. Consistency in all your business information is the key:
- business name
- phone number
- website link
- business type or category
If your business had a different address, phone number, or website url in the past, updating your information across the web is particularly critical. But even small discrepancies should be corrected. If LLC is part of your legal company name, make sure your business name has the LLC included in each listing. If your address is listed as Road in one place and Rd. in another, decide on one or the other and keep it the same in each place you find it.
Reviewing and updating your listings across the web is one of the Fargo SEO services we offer and recommend to all our clients.
Start with Google My Business and Expand from There
If you haven’t set up a Google My Business profile – uh, why not?
This is where you introduce yourself to Google. Of all your networking buddies, Google should be number one. They should know who you are, what you do, where you’re located and the best ways and times for people to connect with your business. When people find you on Google Maps, it is this Google listing that will tell them what you offer and make sure you show up in a local search for your keywords on Google search. Make sure it is always up to date and keywords related to your business are included in the description.
Don’t stop with Google My Business. Other search engines have business listings, too. The three most popular are:
- Bing Places
- Apple Maps
Other Business Listings to Increase Your Local SEO
So, what other business listings should you have and keep up to date? Consider some of these sites that are frequently used to find specific types of local businesses:
- Motels and Restaurants – TripAdvisor
- Service Providers – Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor
- Attorneys – FindLaw
- Medical Providers – HealthGrades
There are also local Fargo-Moorhead sites where your business can be listed, and general business listings by state or business type. Here are some of those:
Be Where the People Are – Social Media
To neglect social media is a big mistake when talking about Local SEO. Your social media accounts will (or should) provide links back to your website. Those are valuable for improving your SEO by themselves, but that’s just the beginning.
The best way to get new customers hasn’t changed in thousands of years – personal referrals. In 2019, social media has become the place where those referral conversations take place. Do you need to have a profile on all the major social media platforms? Not necessarily. Some platforms work better for some businesses than others. The top five are currently:
Just like your website, it isn’t enough to create social media profiles; there needs to be ongoing activity if you want search engines and customers to take notice.
We Can Help You Rank on Google Page 1 Local Search
If all this seems a bit overwhelming, you’re not alone. Very few businesses can afford the time and effort required for effective Local SEO. Fargo, ND, businesses who truly want to compete for Google page 1 local search make the investment in a professional search engine optimization service.
Why invest in local SEO marketing? This is why:
- 62% of people in a 2016 HubSpot survey said they’d prefer to find their answer via search compared to 29% who would prefer talking to a salesman. Those in the first category have been increasing, not declining.
- Of people who search for a local business online, 92% will select a business listed on the FIRST page of search results. Your business doesn’t get there without the right local SEO.
- Search Engine Marketing is rated the most effective tactic by 85% of retailers.
Local SEO marketing by a team of local professionals will prove itself in the ROI (return on investment). Contact us to learn what sets us apart.