For local businesses, being SEO-friendly is one of the most important ways you can drive traffic to your website. Research has found that 60 percent of consumers have used a search engine to find a local business within the last year, and a survey of marketers found that organic and local search drives the highest ROI for local businesses, delivering higher quality leads than other digital channels including social media and email marketing1.
But with so many businesses competing for the top spots on search results pages, how do you make sure your website ranks high enough for people to find it? By taking steps to ensure your content is SEO friendly. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and refers to things you can do to help your content rank higher on search engines. For every piece of content, there are two key aspects on your website that will help you achieve higher rankings – your technical page set up and the content itself.
Optimizing the technical set up of your pages helps search engine spiders to efficiently crawl your content and determine what your content is about. Optimizing the content itself means creating posts that align with the things people are looking for.
Yellow Pages Search Engine Optimization services can help to ensure you have every element covered. But you can also follow this handy list to ensure every piece of content you create performs its best on search.
Technical in-page elements
Help search engine spiders quickly and correctly determine what your content is about by ensuring that each content page of your website contains the following:
A keyword rich URL: Search engines use the URL of your page as one signal to determine what your content is about. This means URLs that include keywords send a clearer signal than ones that follow a numeric structure or other naming convention. For this reason, www.yourbusiness.ca/5-ways-to-improve-SEO is better than www.yourbusiness.ca/article09123.
Mobile optimization: The fact that many local searches are conducted from people’s phones is one reason to ensure your website is optimized for mobile. But if you’re thinking about SEO in general, there’s an even more important reason – Google is dropping non-mobile optimized websites out of their rankings. That means that if your content isn’t set up to be viewed properly on mobile, you can do everything else right and still not show up in search results.
Completed metadata: Metadata are the fields that describe your content to search engines. Make sure you add a brief, keyword rich description of your page and as well as metadata descriptions of any images contained in your content. Your page description metadata is also what will appear below the headline when your content surfaces in search results, so keep it clear and compelling.
H1 tag: The H1 tag denotes your headline. Many publishing platforms add this tag automatically, but as it’s an important signal that lets search engines know what your content is about, it’s worth double-checking and adding H1 tags manually if they aren’t already appearing.
Sharing buttons: The number of social shares sends a signal to search engines about how valuable people find your content – and plays a role in how high it will rank. Add social sharing buttons to make it easy for website visitors to share your pages and posts.
Search engine algorithms have shifted over the years. While at one time, it was enough to simply pack your content full of keywords, search engines have gotten better at zeroing in on content people will actually find useful. Here’s what they look for:
Keywords: Google’s keyword planner can help you find the exact words people are using to find local businesses like yours. Using longtail phrases or groups of words can help you get even more specific in your targeting. How you use your keywords counts too. Make sure your most important keywords or phrases appear within your page title, in the first paragraph and throughout your content (but only if the usage sounds natural and makes sense).
Frequency: Freshness counts when it comes to SEO, and search engines favour sites that update their content with new pages and posts. You can supplement your keyword research with a tool such as Google trends, which provides insights into what people are looking for and when, to help you plan fresh, relevant content.
Quality: Search engines favour content people actually find useful and that they link to and share. It’s worth spending the time and effort to create content that is original, informative, entertaining and/or provides some other value to users. Ensuring your content reads well and is free of typos is important too.
Photos and videos: Properly-tagged photos and video give search engines even more content to crawl and can help your page also appear within video and image searches.
Start creating SEO friendly content
In order to rank prominently on search engines, it’s worth spending some time to ensure every item of content that you create is optimized. Follow the checklist in this article or contact Yellow Pages to find out how you can improve the relevance, credibility and search engine ranking of your website.
1Local Consumer Review Survey, BrightLocal