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

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

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.

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 expert reno

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.

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.

Affordable SEO Expert Sandy Rowley

sandy rowley seo expert reno

Nice to see you, come here often?


Speak with Sandy 775-870-0488

I’m Sandy, a local marketing expert in Reno Nv. I specialize in helping companies rank their websites high in Google, Yahoo and Bing search. I also am successful at recovering lost rankings in Google search (no matter how long the site has been down or penalized). I guarantee my work and results. I understand that most SEO experts cannot guarantee their work, but I actually can. My goal is to generate a positive return on your SEO investment within 3 months or less. I only work with websites that I know can rank for profitable keywords.

I have a 100% success rate with my digital marketing clients.

Lets hop on the phone and discuss what opportunities you have been missing with SEO, see if we are a good fit and move forward from there.

What you can expect from our first phone call:

  1. I would love to review your Google Analytics account. Add me as an admin with this email : renowebdesigner.com
  2. Have a list of your top two competitors, on and offline.
  3. An idea of the types of keywords your website should be ranking for and why.

If you do not have all of the items above, we can install Google Analytics for a one time fee ($75). Often your website host will have their own website analytics and that can help, but Google Analytics is the best available.  Although i am an affordable SEO expert, I am not the cheapest marketing pro out there. My rates start at $1500+ per month. The average national SEO marketing campaign runs about $3500 per month, some are more depending on the complexity of the work and competition.

 

Speak with Sandy 775-870-0488

Get to know Sandy by joining our Business Marketing & Networking Meetup here: https://www.meetup.com/Reno-Business-Group/

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/

SEO and SEM: What’s the Difference and Do I Need Them?

SEO and SEM: What’s the Difference and Do I Need Them?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is fast becoming a US$80 billion dollar industry.

Search ad revenue – the major component of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – may only be around half that amount, but $40 billion is nothing to sneeze at.

Yet despite how monumentally massive these industries are, there is still a lot of confusion around what these terms mean.

Let’s take a brief look at SEO and SEM, their differences and the definitions of each.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is a method of optimizing a webpage so that it will attract more organic traffic. By organic traffic, I’m referring to users who find a website through a search engine.

Technically, SEO caters to all search engines, including Duckduck Go, Yahoo, and Bing. In reality, however, virtually all SEO focuses on the kingpin: Google.

Google is notorious for changing their algorithms in a tireless attempt to make the searching experience as effective as possible for the end user. As a result, SEO techniques are evolving rapidly.

Two things remain constant, however: The concepts of on-page and off-page optimization.

What is On-page Optimization?

As the name suggests, on page optimization is undertaken within the website itself. Essentially, these are tricks of the trade that SEO savvy content writers and web designs use to improve the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) ranking of their article.

  • Using targeted keywords in the title and headings of their article.
  • Peppering secondary keywords throughout the article in a natural way.
  • Achieving the highest possible page load time.
  • Including photos which have been SEO optimized by way of file size, file name, and alt tags.
  • User-friendly formatting with ample white space.
  • Social media sharing plugins.
  • Quality content that provides real value for the reader.

What is Off-page Optimization?

Off-page refers to techniques undertaken outside the website. Behind the scenes, if you will.

  • Link building by obtaining inbound links (backlinks) from other reputable websites.
  • Driving traffic through social media, A.K.A social signals.

What is Search Engine Marketing?

SEM is when a marketer pays a search engine (almost always Google Ad Words) to promote their product to a wider audience.

You’ve probably noticed results at the top of Google marked “[Ad].” These are an example of a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) advertisement, which is a critical component of SEM.

SEM once referred to both SEO and PPC advertisements, although these days there is a clear distinction between the two.

Other aspects of SEM include:

  • Targeted advertising campaigns.
  • Advertisement groups with a focus on keyword variations.
  • Writing keyword rich ad copy.
  • Monitoring marketing metrics such as click-through rates and average costs per click.

SEO vs. SEM: Which is Better?

Each excels at different things.

SEO is more of a long game. The practice may not see instant results, but if done correctly, it can result in a considerable amount of organic traffic over time.

SEM, on the other hand, is capable of earning a website fast exposure which is great for short term campaigns or new companies looking to start trading with a bang.

Big online businesses incorporate both, as the two complement each other nicely.

SEO and SEM: Do I Need Them?

SEO is an essential practice for anyone looking to make money through a website. After all, if you can’t hit the front page of Google, then do you really exist?

SEM is a little more variable. If done right, it can drive massive short-term traffic to your business, but for a price.

Who Can Help Me Create an SEO/SEM Marketing Strategy?

Reno Web Design are experts at both SEO and SEM marketing. Get in touch with them today to discuss an affordable and effective online marketing plan for your business.

A Basic Technical SEO Guide for Website Design

A Basic Technical SEO Guide for Website Design

As most small businesses are set to spend around $75,000 on digital marketing this year, they need to make every dollar count in that budget. Using search engine optimization is a way to pivot your page to be found by search engines, which is as good as free promotion. Search engine optimization, notably technical SEO is important in making yourself known to users.

Here are five elements of technical SEO that you need to implement.

1. Page Speed is a Major Factor
When you’re using mobile, the speed of your page gets weighed into how good your site is as a match for users. It lets search engines know that it’s optimized, updated, and you’ve tried to streamline the code base.

If you’re thinking about user experience, page speed matters as well. When users rank how well a site works for them, they will factor in load time. If it doesn’t load within three seconds, they’ll consider it a bad match that doesn’t give them what they want. Isn’t that the ultimate aim of user experience?

2. Bot Instructions Are Case Sensitive
If you’re giving robots instructions for your site, you need to ensure that you take case into consideration. Instructions in your robots.txt file need to be all lowercase.

If you play with case, you change the way the information is going to be processed.

Web crawlers, the tool that search engines use to index every site on the internet, look for files on your main directory. If you hide them somewhere else, they may never get read.

3. You Need Infinite Scroll
You want your site to be designed in such a way as to load content as your user scrolls. When they’re going down your website’s pages, you don’t want the content to stop.

Paginated pages combined with a very long scroll will help users to keep reading and staying productive on your site. If new content is constantly available, you’ll rank much higher than your competitor’s site.

4. Sitemap is What You Want
While Google needs sitemaps to be in an XML format, that’s pretty much the only stipulation to worry about when setting up your sitemap. Your hierarchy or your structure can look however you want it to look.

When you choose a sitemap that works for you and makes sense, you make it easier for search engines to scroll through your site. As long as there’s simple logic, you can structure it however you please.

5. Your Homepage Matter
Your homepage needs to have everything that you want search engines to find out about you. Because search engines look at that page first, you want your site to be ranked fairly.

You can have other sites ranked as well so long as you include a link from your front page.

Understanding Technical SEO is an Advantage

If you want to have a strong advantage on your competition, you need to take advantage of what technical SEO has to offer. When you optimize your site for crawling and indexing, you make yourself that much easier to find by your potential clients.

If you want to audit your SEO ranking, check out our guide.