First we have to warn you. Local SEO is a mess. The Places section and organic section of a local search on the 1st page of Google varies highly for different keywords, user queries and local competition. Over time Google changes their algorithms (over 500 times a year), changing the page layout as well. We’ve written an article on just how little space is available on the 1st page of a local Google search, which you can find on the link below:
Below is a screen shot showing the three different places on a Google local search where you might appear.
- Paid Search: we position you in the paid search section and you should appear here all the time for all the keywords that your customers will use to search for you business.
- Google Places: your business may appear in places for the city where your business is located, but not all the time, Google rotates these positions throughout the day.
- SEO: this section takes into account the closest match to the search query. SEO often displays directories such as Yelp, Insider Page, Yellow Pages, White Page, etc., since these directories contain more content than your website.
We do suggest that you take steps to increase your SEO presence, but keep it cost effective. We cover many of these steps in the structure of the site we build for you. More content is always welcome and we invite you to send as much material as possible. We’ll add the content to your website for you for free. We also have professional writers who can assist you with developing original new content. To get some basic ideas as to what Google is looking for, we suggest that you download their SEO guide at the link below:
Some other basic steps that you can take include:
- Add content to your site consistently over time.
- Get listed on Google Places (we’ll do this for you)
- Add text based coupons, rebates and specials to your site, Facebook business page, Twitter & Blog (ask about our automated system to help you with this)
- Get listed on all the local directories (shown below – especially Yelp!)
What content is on your site and where it’s displayed is extremely important! We’ve taken special care to develop your site to not only display what people are looking for, but where the most important information is on the home page. We also make this information accessible to search engines with the right content in the order that search engines are searching for. This is explained further at the link below:
Keep in mind that Google is also searching for specific content in specific locations on the page to rank your site. This can be found at the link below:
Google: page layout algorithm change
"We’re launching an algorithmic change that looks at the layout of a webpage and the amount of content you see on the page once you click on a result.
Sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward." - Google
More advanced measures you can take on page development
This information was taken from SEOMoz at:
Below is a sample of some of the basic on-page requirements. The content must meet all the criteria listed under the "Required" section and any 3 items listed under the "Recommended" section before the content should be published. You can use this full technical site audit checklist to get ideas about what your SEO score sheet should include.
- Include a meta description that is less than 155 characters
- Content must contain a minimum of 80 words of unique content
- Content must contain a unique headline
- Images must contain an alt tag
- All images have captions
- Content contains at least 1 image
- Headlines must contain one suggested keyword
- Content contains at least 1 link with optimized anchor text
- Image file names contain at least 1 descriptive keyword
- Content contains at least 2 keywords
- Event name is the first word of the headline for news event articles
- News article images are at least 300px in one dimension
- For slideshows, include unique content about each image that is crawlable
- For videos, include full transcripts on the page
- For videos, the word "video" is included in both the title and the description
Below are some places that you should be listed. These will contribute to getting SEO presence local search. Yelp is extremely important and of all these directories below Yelp is growing the most rapidly and it is a very important part of SEO for most companies. Merchant Circle is also very important. We don’t feel that you should pay for any of these listings. Over time any of these can bring you a small number of new local customers.
If you like, we have a program where we can get you listed on all of these sites with a coupon for an annual fee. Just give us a call and we can change up your coupons at any time at no additional charge. Most changes occur the same day.