2019 Local SEO for Small Businesses Guide: 12 Brilliant SEO Tips

SEO Chief Outsiders

If you’ve just gotten a handle on the concept of search engine optimization (SEO) then local SEO might be throwing you for a loop. And that’s a problem because local SEO is more important for your business than you realize.

It gives you local scale exposure, capitalizes on the growth of mobile search, and, of course, can be a major profit-maker (if you play your cards right).

Not sure about what local SEO is, or not sure how to use local SEO for small businesses? No worries. We’re introducing you to the concept, why it’s so important, and what you can do to make your way to the top of your local SERPs.

“Happy to share helpful tips to keep your web projects running smoothly. Also here to answer SEO questions.” Sandy Rowley, Digital Marketing Expert 775-870-0488

“Impressive knowledge of SEO and other digital marketing strategies.  We contracted Sandy for 6 months to recover lost SEO and position our software development company as a leading offshore service provider.”  Client Name Kept Anonymous View reviews within the Chief Outsiders Platform. Orange County Software Company

Local & National SEO, Chief Outsiders

What is Local SEO?

First things first: what is local SEO?

Basically, it’s all the tools of search engine optimization, utilized to make sure that people within a certain geographical area can find your brick-and-mortar shop.

Think of it this way: while anyone from Oslo to Taipei can rank for “how to fix a clogged drain,” only a certain group can rank for, “best plumber in Reno.”

Why You Need It

That’s all fine and good, but why do you need local SEO anyway? After all, if you’ve already got an SEO strategy in place, shouldn’t that be enough?

Not quite.

Let’s start with this simple fact: smartphone users will hit 3 billion in 2018 and are predicted to hit 3.8 billion in 2021.

Of those people, 45% of users aged 18 to 29 use mobile search daily. Of the estimated 30 billion annual mobile searches, 12 billion are local.

But the real kicker?

Local searches lead 50% of mobile searchers to visit a store the same day, and annually, about 78% of local mobile searches result in offline purchases (for those who struggle with math, that’s roughly 9.36 billion purchases, give or take a few).

The point is simple: a lot of people search locally, and when they do, they’re looking to spend money. Usually on the same day, if you give them the service they’re looking for.

And you’d be a fool not to capitalize on a golden opportunity.

Tips to Conquer Local SEO in 2019

 

Sandy Rowley SEO Specialist 775-870-0488.

With that in mind, let’s talk about how you can conquer local SEO in 2019.

Now, a lot of larger SEO tricks apply to local SEO, like getting an SEO audit. And yes, there are plenty of fancy technical SEO tricks you could use to bolster your local SEO game if you really wanted to.

Here’s the thing: if you’re still struggling with the whole concept of SEO (or you just don’t have time to spend hours slaving over SEO when you’ve got a business to run) it doesn’t need to be that hard.

Here are 14 tips that you could probably conquer in a few hours if you set your mind to it.

“Since working with Sandy my web sales increased 500%.”  Larry Green View reviews on the Google platform. Automatic Hay Feeder Company

International SEO, EEZkeeper.com

 1. Optimize for Google My Business

The first is surprisingly basic: optimize for Google My Business.

For those who are late to the game (or, you know, living in packing peanuts) Google My Business is a free tool provided by Google that’s basically a giant digital address book.

Chances are, you’ve encountered it before. You just didn’t realize it. Every time you Google a business and see a little box on the right-hand side with the business’s name, address, phone number, website, location, and even a few photos, that’s the handiwork of Google My Business.

You also didn’t know that you probably already have a Google My Business listing, you just didn’t know to claim it.

That’s a problem because if you don’t claim it, your competitor might (yes, that’s a competitive strategy).

Luckily, the process of claiming your listing is simple. Just log onto Google My Business and go through the verification process, at which point Google will mail a PIN to your business address. From there, enter the PIN, and you’re ready to optimize.

How do you optimize? Include all kinds of handy information, like writing a great business description, providing hours and contact information, detailing your payment options, etc.

Basically, if there’s information that Google My Business gives you the option to fill out, populate the text box. Your potential customers will thank you.

2. Ensure NAP is Consistent Across Directories

However, your work isn’t done once you claim your Google My Business listing.

Once you do that, you need to ensure your NAP is consistent across directories (Google, Bing, or anywhere else your business might be listed).

Don’t get worried. NAP stands for three essential details about your business:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number with area code

Some people will also include your website on this list.

Basically, these directory listings won’t do you much good if your information is inconsistent. Your customers will get frustrated and confused, and it makes your business look sloppy.

3. Title and Meta Description Tags

Itching for something slightly more technical?

Turn to your title and meta description tags.

Title and meta description tags are HTML elements that you can customize to reflect your webpage. You don’t need to do any coding to figure it out–like Google My Business, it’s something you’ve encountered before.

Whenever you type a search into Google, the blue title and the small description below it are the title and meta description tags.

It seems like a small detail, but it should be functionally treated as a mini-ad. This is your chance to get customers to click on your link instead of someone else’s (and to get the search engine to put you in page one).

So not only are you writing killer descriptions, you’re writing optimized descriptions.

4. Keyword Research for Local SEO

With that in mind, let’s talk about keyword research for local SEO.

You can argue until you’re blue in the face about the value of keywords or how to use them, but the fact is, keywords are still important. Especially for local SEO.

What’s the difference between a regular keyword and a local SEO keyword, you ask?

It’s simple: geography.

Remember earlier when we said that anyone in the world can rank for, “how to unclog a sink,” but only certain people can rank for, “best plumber in Reno,”?

That’s the same basic principle behind keywords for local SEO.

Basically, you’re targeting industry-specific terms that are also geo-specific, like “Las Vegas florist” or “car rental in Albuquerque”. A good place to start is to do a bit of digging on the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool to find geographically-specific terms that perform well.

5. Write for a Local Audience

Of course, you can optimize all day long and it won’t help you much if you aren’t, you know, writing content for a local audience.

This is true of both your human readers and search engine web crawlers–you need to build a solid online reputation.

Luckily, you can do this with a practice you (should) already do for your regular SEO: blogging.

Blogging is vital to a good SEO score because it shows search engines that you’re consistently providing helpful information to searchers. And the more you write, the more authority you gain on the topic.

Take this a step further by appealing to the local market. Find out what customers in your area are interested in and start writing blogs for them (with the appropriate optimization, of course).

6. Improve Internal Linking Structure

And while you’re blogging, you should take a closer look at your internal linking structure.

External links are SEO gold, but internal links are also important, since it aids in navigating your website, assists with information architecture, and distributes page authority among multiple pages.

So, if you’re writing about bathroom design and have previously written a blog post about quartz vs. marble countertops in the bathroom, find a way to naturally link to that blog post.

7. Use a Structured Data Markup Tool

A structured data markup tool is perhaps the most technical item on our list, but it’s not as complicated as the name makes it out to be.

Structured data markup, sometimes called schema markup, is added to the code of your website to directly provide search engines with information about what you sell, services you offer, and other important information about your business.

In fact, Google wants you to use structured data markup because it makes it easier for their spiders to index your website. They even provide a Structured Data Testing Tool.

So…what are you waiting for?

8. Online Reviews Still Matter

For all the work you’re doing behind the scenes, there’s one tried-and-true part of local SEO that you cannot ignore: online reviews.

Don’t believe it? Try this on for size: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.

Many people will leave reviews on Facebook unprompted, so make sure this feature is turned on. You can also cut to the chase by asking customers who love you to leave a review of your store when they get the chance.

If customers are diehard fans of your store, they’ll usually be happy to do it.

9. Be Socially Active

This brings us to our next point: you should be socially active wherever possible.

And no, we don’t mean going out for a beer with friends. We mean the big bads of social media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Nearly a third of the world’s population is active on at least one of the major platforms, which is why your business needs to remain active. Go where the customers are.

The key is to avoid the used car salesman effect–don’t sell so hard that you annoy people or convince them they’re about to be scammed. Instead, think of using social media as it was originally intended: a vehicle to connect people.

10. Make a Mobile-Friendly Website

Oh come on, you knew this was coming.

Mobile usage has surpassed desktop, and Google rolled out their Mobile-First index. There’s no two ways about it: you need to be optimized for mobile.

If you have no idea whether your site is optimized for mobile or not, there’s an easy way to check: open your website on your phone. If you have to constantly zoom, or your graphics aren’t loading, or the pages take forever to load, guess what?

You’re not optimized for mobile.

11. Add Location Pages to Your Website

In case you haven’t caught on yet, local SEO is all about one thing: location.

That’s why one of the easiest things you can do to boost your business (besides claim your Google My Business listing) is include a location page on your website.

If you have multiple locations but only one website, no worries. Just create a page for each location. That way, users will know where to find you in their local area (and search engines will know how to index you properly, which is always a plus).

12. Maps, Maps, and More Maps

There’s no way around location without talking about maps.

There are a couple different things you can do with maps. For one, you should embed a map on your webpage. The good news is that this is pretty easy: just open Google Maps, enter your address, and click the link icon.

This will provide you with an HTML embed code to add the map to your website, making it super easy for any potential customers to figure out exactly where you are whenever they need you.

Plus, you can click on the customize link to choose from various options like sizing before embedding the map on your page.

Building Local SEO for Small Businesses

Local SEO might seem like a lot of work. And yes, we’ll admit–it can be time-consuming if you let it.

And while we all know that the payoff is worth it, that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve got a business to run and you don’t have time to learn how to manage SEO in your nonexistent free time.

That’s where we come in.

We offer a variety of services from digital marketing to search engine optimization and local SEO for small businesses. We guarantee our SEO work, and we’re dedicated to making sure that your business succeeds.

Ready to get started? Use our contact page to get in touch.

“We feel so fortunate to have been referred to Sandy. Her knowledge of SEO and marketing have been extremely beneficial to our company. She has fantastic ideas and is very enthusiastic in helping our company grow its online presence. Sandy offers free seminars to share tips and strategies. She truly wants to help her clients succeed! We would highly recommend Sandy to anyone wanting to grow their online presence..”   View reviews on the Google platform. National Aircraft Parts Company

National SEO, Dana Shelton

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SEO Audits

SEO Audits

Why should a company use a professional SEO audit service?

  1. Keep your existing SEO company, honest. Verify those traffic numbers and rankings from a 3rd party auditing service. Most SEO experts use black hat and/or fake traffic to fool unsuspecting customers into shady  services.
  2. Keeping your website up to date and cleaned of any excess issues helps you compete online. A search engine optimization audit will find any hidden errors that are causing rankings to stagnate online.
  3. Looking to and/or have recently redesigned your company website? A technical audit can save your existing SEO rankings from tanking after a site redesign. This is the most common issue we see at our offices.
  4. Looking to hire an SEO expert or company? Let us vet their expertise. 97% of the digital marketing companies we test, do not pass. Protect your company and investment dollars before signing a contract.

Learn more about our website auditing services by calling 775-870-0488.

Over 89% of digital marketing companies are not qualified to generate quality leads for their clients.

View our guide on the worlds best SEO experts here.

seo audit

We tested all of the top competitors in our local Reno market to see what keywords they ranked for in Google, and were SHOCKED to learn that over 97% of these supposed SEO companies did not rank for buyer intent keywords! How is it that a digital marketing company, that sells SEO services does not use SEO to acquire new customers?

Buyer beware. Even large, well known ad agencies are promoting their digital marketing services and do not use SEO either.

A quick search for the keywords that the agency ranks for will tell the truth of how technical savvy they are at their own marketing efforts.

Example report for a local Reno marketing agency where they rank for keywords, on page 7,8 or 9…where no one every goes!

seo stats

Some local companies do not even rank on the back pages of Google search. They use billboards and/or online ads via Google PPC in order to get SEO clients. Very strange indeed. More and more businesses are becoming educated in how these marketing scams work. It is getting harder to trick businesses into shady marketing services.

Eventually these fly by night marketing companies will fall by the wayside.

Quick tips to vet your SEO company

  1. Check out their reviews in Google. Why Google? Yelp and Facebook reviews are easy to game.
  2. Track the amount of keywords the marketing agency ranks for. What page do they rank in Google?
  3. Check the ranking stats of their customers as well.
  4. Hire a 3rd party vetting service.
  5. Make sure this company is actually located in the US. A number of foreign companies have front offices in the US, but all of the “work” is done overseas.

Arm yourself with the tools that experts use.

Invest in a company that has the experience and proven track record of successful wins for their own website as well as those of their clients. Always verify that data. There are ways that these companies can fake traffic and analytics. If you have been paying a company for marketing work and not seeing more sales, something is wrong. Do not trust their stat reports, verify with a 3rd party expert that will explain your real world rankings.

SEO Companies that reach out to you, unsolicited are usually in desperate straights (they can’t SEO their own company website) so they steal email addresses online and send out fake emails like the ones shared on the Worse SEO Hall of Fame WebSite here: http://www.claytowne.com/beats-digging-ditches/seo-marketing-spam-hall-of-shame/

Most small businesses get 3 – 5 sales calls a day from spammers trying to sell their Google ranking services. Think about it, if they were good at SEO, they would not have to call and harass you and your staff every day.

Calls from Google to Push Your Ranking a Fraudulent Indicator

Google will never call a business to assist them to improve their search engine rankings. Google provide various tools and knowledge bases to help web masters, search engine optimization experts and other information technology professionals understand the nature of SEO, but they never call businesses unsolicited.

Google has a support team, and customer service department that businesses can call for assistance, but never initiate contact with a business via telephone. source: https://themarketingfolks.com/seo-scam/

Those same small businesses receive several emails a day from supposed experts who just happened to stumble across your website and found some technical errors they can fix for real cheap. These emails are also scams. Never click on those links or call the sales number. They will automatically add your number to a spam call list, selling it to the highest bidder.

SEO is an investment, just like other forms of marketing.  Make sure to work with a vetted expert and try to not think that just by hiring a young person to do your companies SEO or Social Media Marketing will help save the day. More often than not, these people are grossly under qualified for the position and will do more harm than good to your rankings online.

You can save money by doing a lot of it yourself, but you should plan to spend at least 1-2 hours per day marketing your company, writing content, engaging with your audience, and building online relationships.

A good budget for a national business or a competitive local business is typically in the $2500 – $5000 per month range depending on the competitiveness of your industry. For a quality company that isn’t looking to make massive profits on you, that kind of budget should produce good results. You may not reach all of your goals depending on the competitiveness of your industry or if there is additional work that needs to be done (site design, etc) but you should see measured improvement. source: https://moz.com/ugc/how-to-avoid-seo-digital-marketing-scams

SEO is still in the early stages of development. Most businesses do not even know what it is and how it can help or harm their businesses. This opens up room for sharks to surf in and make a lot of easy cash.

I once heard a meteorologist admit that forecasts that predict the weather beyond three days are essentially just guesses. “Then why do you still offer them?” the interviewer asked. “Because the audience demands them,” he answered. Left unsaid was “Because the audience doesn’t know any better.” That’s where SEO is now. The public is still largely ignorant of the truth about Internet marketing, and the stakes are so high that there are more than enough dupes willing to pay for SEO that doesn’t work.

It takes many forms. Fast talking consultants pitch SEO campaigns that cost $50,000-$75,000 to medium-sized businesses, and even though the business owners are skeptical, they often pay because they don’t know what else to do. Web development firms charge small businesses $500 a month for ongoing SEO maintenance, which means precisely collecting $500 for doing absolutely nothing. Marketing companies charge you to enlist popular bloggers to link to your site despite the fact that their blogs have nothing to do with what you’re selling. SEO “experts” charge you to submit your site to hundreds of fly-by-night Eastern European web directories in the name of link building. Most of these experts won’t explain to you what they’re actually doing, and almost none of what they do works. In fact, they’re more likely to get you penalized than to actually help you. source: https://techli.com/2013/12/the-truth-about-internet-marketing-part-2-seo-is-a-scam/

How to spot fake reviews on Amazon?

Fake reviews are one of the biggest hurdles in the way of a good online shopping experience. Like all other online shopping sites, the menace of fake reviews also plague the e-commerce giant – Amazon.

Though Amazon tries hard to weed out the fake reviews, however as a buyer, we need to play our part. Spending a few minutes before making a purchase is all it takes to not get scammed by those glowing 5 stars.

So in this post, I’ll help you identify fake reviews with a few tricks that help me make sound shopping decisions.

Note: As an example, I will be using this new MaxBoost Google Pixel 2 case that my analysis (and my gut) tells me has fake reviews.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE: https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/identify-fake-reviews-on-amazon/

Audit SEO Online

Audit SEO Online

Scan your website for free, online. Simply complete the form below and receive a complementary SEO audit.

This simple SEO report will be sent to your email within 5 minutes.

 

What is an SEO audit?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. An SEO audit is a review of your websites existing rankings in online search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

There are different types of SEO audits.

A quick audit can give you helpful information about how your website stacks up against competitors in your industry. It can also give you an idea of what it will take to rank your website for certain keyword phrases.

A full technical SEO audit, can take up to 2 weeks and includes all variables needed to outrank in a competitive market online.

Technical SEO audits are always recommended for larger websites or for websites that are going under a site re design.

Full SEO audits can help identify why a website lost search engine rankings.

Some items that a SEO expert will review during a full technical SEO audit are:

  • Site load speed
  • Mobile responsivness
  • On site SEO optimization
  • Off site SEO optimazation
  • Link Analysis
  • Keyword Analysis
  • Competitor positions

As well as a number of technical considerations that are often propriatery to each SEO experts level of experience and knowledge.

 

 


LinkedIn SEO Audit Guide

What is an SEO Audit Service?

A full technical SEO audit details all the areas within your website that need improvement, repair and/or bolstering in order to save, increase or stabilize your existing or non existent search engine rankings in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. Looking at a website from a forensic view point discovering hidden errors and problems that could dramatically increase your websites rankings in short order. Most clients see improvements in their SEO rankings in a month or less.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the art and science of optimizing pages on your website to rank in search engines for your most important keyword phrases.

How Can A SEO Audit Help My Company?

Identifying errors and missed opportunities for improvement has increased rankings and quality leads for my clients. Most websites have room for improvement. Speed is usually the first area that I look at in regards to finding where the big problems are within your website. Google ranks speed as one of the top indicating factors in ranking a website in their SERPS (search engine results page).

Some of the most common errors found in a full technical SEO audit are:

  1. Page speed problems with CSS, Javascript, Plugins and Server Response issues.
  2. Mobile responsiveness and layout issues.
  3. Missing schema markup.
  4. Missing alt and meta data needed for SEO with Google and all other search engines.
  5. Robots.txt errors
  6. Duplicate content problems.
  7. 404 missing pages.
  8. Usability roadblocks.

Do You Offer a Free SEO Audit?

Yes, this is a quick review of your website that highlights some of the problems holding your marketing back online. Send in your website address, phone, name and email for your quick SEO audit.

Can You Help Fix These Problems For Us?

The short answer is yes. The full answer will require access to your host, database and analytics. We document all activities within a site and monitor their immediate results in Google Analytics and Google Search Console. A full forensic style SEO audit can take up to a month to administer. Some clients prefer us to fix the problems as soon as we document them. Others prefer a full report to analyze with their in house teams and implement the requested improvements.

Are SEO Audits Expensive?

That depends. I offer an introductory SEO audit for free to help small businesses understand some of the common issues that need resolved. Most of my Full Technical SEO Audits can cost $1900 – $10,000 range depending on the size of the website and number of web properties to analyze. Most of my SEO projects fall in between $2,000.

Can A SEO Audit Service Recover A Penalized Website?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is hopefully. I have experience working within these banned sites or penalized site issues with Google. Some sites only require me to fix items on site, resubmit to Google index and wait. While others are more serious in nature and depending on the type of website property that is penalized, may never recover. A quick SEO audit review can often shed light on whether this is a project that can be salvaged or needs total re-branding and marketing plan. Most Google penalties can be repaired.

SEO Audit Terms You Should Know

 

Anchor Text

Is the text that appears highlighted in a hypertext link and that can be clicked to open the target web page.

Title Tag

The title tag is an HTML title element critical to both SEO and user experience that is used to briefly and accurately describes the topic and theme of an online document. The title tag is displayed in two key places: Internet Browser – Title Tags display in the top bar of internet browsers.

301 Redirection

301 redirect is a method of telling web browsers and search engines that a web page or site has been permanently moved to a new location. Usually a 301 redirect includes the address to which the resource has been moved.

Meta Description

The meta description is a ~160 character snippet, a tag in HTML, that summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched for phrase is contained in the description. Optimizing the meta description is a very important aspect of on-page SEO.

SERP

search engine results page (SERP) is the page displayed by a search engine in response to a query by a searcher. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query, although the page may also contain other results such as advertisements.

SEO Audit Website

SEO site auditsHow to audit your website for SEO, PPC & Optimal Conversions/Sales?

Having a fresh set of eyes to review your website, online profiles and marketing efforts can help spot the areas that can dramatically improve the success of your websites marketing efforts.

I would start with the free website review or SEO auditing tools to get an idea of the basic things you can do to set a solid foundation for the success of your website. This can give you a better understanding of how html, css and web code affect your websites ability to rank well in Google search.

Call or text me @ 775-870-0488.  

Learn more about my Full Technical SEO Site Audits here.

website audit tools 2017

Google search console is a free web service that allows you to view some of the keywords that are driving traffic to your website. Why only some? Google recently chose to hide most of the keywords that drive traffic and setting their as unknown in Google Analytics. Although this is very frustrating, you can however view what other keywords and pages on your website that are bringing in clicks. To sign up for Google Search Console, you must have a free email from Gmail.com Click here to learn more.

Website audits can dramatically increase your websites SEO positions and rankings within Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines. Having an SEO Audit Expert review your website property from a technical as well as marketing/conversion rate assessment will greatly increase your SEO’s success rate.

“Most people are spinning their wheels in SEO, hoping to find the next best secret, tip or trick to save their business. While all the while, their poorly develop med website, hosting and design were the real culprits that hindered their online marketing success.”
Sandy Rowley SEO Site Audit Expert.

Our full technical SEO site audit require access to analytical data, so Sandy and her team of audit experts can research trends and opportunities that your SEO efforts are missing out on and how best to capitalize on those items. Most anytime can use a free SEO site auditing tool and gain some valuable insights as to what may be holding their business back online, but most of this information is useless to the average person.

“Sandy is a miracle worker, seriously. After less than 2 months of her SEO repair work, our website has more than doubled our monthly income thanks to her efforts.” Anonymous client with over 2 Million Page Views a month.

“I am in awe of the results. I have worked with so many supposed SEO experts, which of all were a huge mistake. Sandy took our business website, fixed the countless SEO errors and low and behold, our rankings sky rocketed.” Anonymous client with a 20+ year history with Google who was being lead on for many months by an ad agency who claimed to understand technical SEO. After one month of SEO repair work, the clients website is now on page #1 for very competitive industry outranking mega sites like Amazon and others.

“When I read that ‘No one outranks our clients’ on her website, I snickered a little. I thought I would call her to test the waters so to speak. I was blown away. We are now in a full technical SEO audit and her team have sent over a few SEO items to fix immediately. We are already seeing an increase in phone calls to the store.”  Local mechanic who is branching out into other cities in California.

I am happy to offer a quick review of your website for $900. This includes a video with explanations and suggestions as what is needed to increase conversion rates and/or rankings organically. See samples below.

SEO Audit and Website Grade Report for Lake Forest California Parkinson’s Support Group

Website Audit and SEO Review for Parenting Book Author Jean S. Barnes

 

Call or text for your SEO report @ 775-870-0488.