Off-site SEO is difficult but will pay dividends down the road.
More than 8 out of 10 consumers search for businesses using search engines. If you run a local business, then you don’t have an option but to focus on SEO—both on-site and offsite. Here’s a nice way to understand what either SEO does. On-site SEO lets you determine what you wish to rank for. Off-site SEO determines how high on the search engines your website ranks for the relevant search terms.
A little thought tells us that for local businesses, off-site SEO is crucial. On-site SEO, as we shall see, is relatively easier to implement. Off-site SEO, on the other hand, is an ongoing process that requires time, patience, money, and a lot of creativity.
There’s another element that is crucial for the success of either SEO activity, and that is analytics. Unless your marketing, and SEO is crucial for marketing, is driven by data, you will not be able to give it clear direction.
On-site optimization for local businesses involves –
- Adding search- and audience-friendly content with the right type and number of keywords. Content is king. Good content is the plank on which all other SEO steps are laid.
- Local business must include address, hours, directions, and a map. These are linked with offsite resources that affect ranking.
- The title tags, meta descriptions, and alt tags for images must be appropriate. Insert primary keywords in these.
- The business website must run smoothly and intuitively on mobiles.
- The web page for an e-commerce site must ideally load in seven or less. All websites should load quickly, under 3 seconds if possible.
- Use H1, H2, and H3 tags to highlight keywords and punctuate the flow of content.
- Make sure the website resolves itself well on mobile devices.
Off-site optimization for local businesses involves –
- Inbound links are always going to be standard currency for websites, local businesses included. You need quality inbound links pointing to your money pages. The links must be from relevant and from trusted sources.
- Local businesses have a big advantage. Apart from backlinks, your business can also rank high on search pages on the strength of reviews. Do what you can to acquire positive reviews on Google, Yelp, and other review sites. These reviews are extremely powerful SEO signals that search engines consider when ranking local businesses.
- Online influencers include bloggers and people on social media. You must have an active influencer outreach program to communicate with local influencers who can put in a good word for your business on their blogs and social media pages. This will have a healthy effect on your local business in the form of positive reviews, links, and great PR.
- Citations add authority to your business which will aid in search on on the map pages. Citations should have accurate name, address and phone number (NAP) for your business. If you have more than one location, each location should have its own verifiable address and unique phone number. For more information on the importance of citations, check out the new study by Bright Local.
- Use social media to share content and communicate with an audience that includes prospective buyers. Popular social media pages rank high for searches.
As you can appreciate, on-site SEO is not that time-consuming or regular an activity as offsite SEO must be. Onsite SEO, once the website is set up, will only require basic SEO due diligence every time you add or alter content. Offsite SEO must be executed with flair, creativity, and regularity. Your competitors are doing it all the time. Old backlinks may lapse, an opinion influencer may become unavailable, or the search engines may simply upgrade or downgrade ranking factors.
You may want to consider hiring an SEO expert to handle SEO for your business so that you can focus on what you do best—selling your product or service and making money. To see how we can help, go to our Local SEO page.