Every couple of months my Twitter feed goes crazy. “Google changed their search algorithm again. My rankings have tanked” is the usual Tweet. The only companies that get hurt after an algorithm update are those that tried to game the system and got caught or a company that simply did bad SEO or no SEO at all.
In the first case, the company got what they had coming and may have to live with the consequences for a while. In the second it’s never too late to adopt a robust SEO plan and strategy. So how does a local business adopt a strategy increasing organic traffic.
Steps to increase organic traffic for a local business
Develop your plan or strategy
Who are you trying to reach? Where are they located? What service or product to do want to sell them? Narrow the answers to these questions as far as you can.
Your plan needs a starting point. Set your site up on Google Analytics and Search Console. They’re both free. Analytics will give you the how, where, and how many answers to who is visiting your website. Search Console will give you technical information about your site that may be hindering your traffic results.
Write content that will grab your target audience
A great SEO adage is “find out what your audience wants and hand it to them on a silver platter”. It is no longer enough to write good content; your content needs to be great. It must capture the audience and deliver the value they were looking for when they typed or spoke the key phrase.
How do you write great content? Know your product but just as important, know your audience. Many content marketers develop a buyer persona, an imaginary representation of what their ideal customer looks and behaves.
Featured snippets are boxes on a Google page that features a quick answer to a specific query. If your website provides the best answer to the query, In Google’s eyes, it may be showcased in the snippet. If it is, a link to the original article will be included in the snippet Google posts. Featured snippets appear at the very top of a search page. You can’t get better than that.
If you can’t land a Featured Snippet landing in the Numbered List is a worthwhile second place. The Numbered List appears under the Featured Snippet and answers similar queries to the original query that generated the search page. In either case, great content is the key to getting there.
Perform a thorough site-wide audit
There are many free applications that can help you audit your website. That said, many local SEO experts offer a free audit. It’s usually a good idea to seek the help of a professional when auditing your site. Like an accountant auditing your finances, a professional can accurately interpret the data for you and present information and analysis the may not be available on the free audit websites. If you choose to go the free audit route, Moz and SemRush are two of the most popular sites.
Consistently add content to your website
Blogging is the most popular way to add content to your existing site. If you choose to blog, and you should, keep your topics in line with your niche. Make sure your material is well researched and presented in an organized way. All your blog posts should be optimized with htags, alt tags and judiciously used key phrases.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, Google will give you credit for updating articles that may benefit from new research and content. FYI – there is no evidence that deleting old blog posts improves or diminishes organic ranking.
New content should be promoted on social marketing channels. Use your Facebook page, LinkedIn account and page, your GMB and any other social accounts you have. Post in all of them. You should tailor the post for the specific platform.
Other steps worth considering
- Making sure the page URL contains the keyword.
- Use long-tail key phrases to narrow the search to the content you want the visitor to see.
- Don’t forget your Meta Titles and descriptions – Key phrases should be in both, preferably in the beginning.
If you take these measures you will have taken a significant step to increasing organic traffic and business. You’ll have to wait; Google doesn’t recognize changes over night but good things will be on the horizon. Long lasting changes at that.