9 Surefire Ways To Crush Local SEO Without Creating Or Depending On Content Marketing
Most local businesses invest heavily in content marketing. This establishes your local authority and expertise while getting loads of local shares on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Now, writing content that’s worth reading and sharing takes time and effort and, if outsourcing, a substantial investment. As a small local business, you may not be ready to take that plunge just yet. You may prefer to focus on expanding your business through sales, service, and referrals. And while that’s admirable and understandable, there are a few ways you can succeed (and even crush) your local competitors in the SEO game without creating content.
The local search engine optimization (SEO) game is usually brutal and highly competitive. Most players are focusing on local, long tail keywords like North Tulsa affordable BJJ for women. Those same players are writing gobs of content to post on Facebook and their own website to attract locals looking for affordable Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gyms for women.
While They Write SEO Friendly Content, You Build A Community
Instead of focusing on content creation to raise your SEO, so your site takes the local lead in all search results, you can focus on usability and building (and monetizing) a community.
A community will create hundreds of mentions and conversations about your business that will propel your SEO to the top.
Setting up a community is easy. Create a Facebook Group for your exact local niche. For example, if you recently opened a karate studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you would name your group Tulsa Taekwondo. Don’t hesitate to get specific, as those often lead to long tail keywords for your business. If your karate studio is primarily for ladies only, include that in your Facebook Group name – Tulsa Taekwondo for Ladies Only.
With Facebook, you can create more than one group. You may want to create groups for specific class types, such as Tulsa Taekwondo For Moms or Tulsa Moms Who Kick Butt.
The more engagement your group gets, the more members who join it and partake in conversations, posts, etc. the higher your website and brand will rank when someone searches for local karate classes.
Other Important Local SEO Tricks
Brand Your Domain
Years ago, it was easy to soar up the local search engine rankings with a keyword laden domain name. tulsakarateclasses.com for example. Those days are over. The trick doesn’t work anymore. Now you need a fully branded domain for authority. If your karate studio is branded as LeAnn’s Karate Studio, the domain would be leannskarate.com. Your brand must now appear in your domain name.
You created a unique brand and that brand is your identity and that identity must appear in your domain name.
Use On-Page SEO
Even though you’re not bothering with content marketing, you still must make certain that your website optimized for search engines. After all, you need to be found, and you need to be found in the top three of every related search. That means using a proper title, heading tags, and properly labeled images.
Do a little research on what keywords are appropriate for your site, including long tail keywords, as they’re often the most valuable and easiest to dominate.
If you’re using WordPress, you may want to use a plugin like Yoast to help you with on-page SEO.
Yoast is great, but it’s far from lightweight, and it will lower your site load speed. If you’re a ServerWise client you’ll have our full suite of built-in and fully integrated SEO tools that don’t drag down your site speed.
Focus On Local, Not Global And Use Real Photos
When you’re building your site, adding in your search meta (preferably with the ServerWise SEO suite) and optimizing your site, remember to stay local.
Too many local businesses choose a good theme and setup their site and emulate a national competitor. Doing that removes everything that makes your brand special and optimized for local search engine rankings.
You’re a local business – stay local. If you’re based in Tulsa, make sure your website showcases that. Include real photos of Tulsa, preferably original ones. You’ll want to include local information and local long tail search keywords.
As a quick example, if you’re a Dallas-based vegan creamery instead of using keywords like “handmade vegan ice cream”, try “local vegan ice cream Dallas” and perhaps “University Park vegan ice cream Dallas”.
Believe it or not, but local businesses do have a slight edge up on nationally-known popular chains because people like local. Grab some local photos of yourself, your employees and your brand out and about in your service area, be in your city or neighborhood. Use those original photos across your website and social media accounts. Take pride in your small local status because your customers surely will.
Make Sure Your Website Is Responsive For Mobile Use
These days, most website traffic starts with a Google search on a mobile device. If your website doesn’t load quickly and look amazing on a smartphone and tablet, you’re going to experience the dreaded visitor bounce rate which will lower your site rankings.
If using WordPress (and you should) make sure your theme is responsive and loads quickly on all devices.
Note: ServerWise clients can request a full site analysis and conversion help for free.
Make Sure Your Site Loads Fast
The time it takes your website to load on any and every device is often overlooked by business owners. But site load time is now a ranking factor on Google and Bing. If your site is slow to load, users will click right out of it, and this creates what is known as a bounce rate.
A high bounce rate and your local SEO is sunk. Take a look at our articles on minimizing bounce rate and increasing the load speed of your site.
Verify Your Business With Google And Get On Google Maps
Local businesses must appear on Google Maps these days. Google powers nearly 80% of mobile searches, including location and map searches. And as a local business owner, you absolutely do want that Google location pin.
If you want to be found on Google Maps, you first must verify your brand with Google My Business.
Here’s a handy guide (with videos) to help you navigate Google My Business right from the source.
Build Up Local Citations Like A Pro
This is one of the easiest ways to boost your local search engine rankings. A citation is simply whenever your business or brand name, website, address and phone number appear online.
Add your site to directories, yellow pages, create a LinkedIn page for your business and every niche organization catering or representing your business segment.
The more citations you have, the greater your visibility across the search giants, including Google. After all, Google likes authority and credibility and the more sites that mention your business the stronger your credibility.
Pro Tip: Always be consistent with your brand across all networks, directories, etc. Try to use the same general descriptions to maintain a unified message. Google likes that!
Ask For Reviews And Get Engaged
Customers love leaving reviews and thankfully review sites such as Yelp are a local SEO goldmine.
Earn positive reviews from your customers and ask kindly that they take a few minutes and help you build your business and get the word out. People love to help when asked nicely!
Encourage your customers to post reviews on your service and your products, even if they’re negative. Surprisingly, even negative reviews, and more importantly, how you respond to them, can increase sales and boost your search engine rankings.
Reviews help the search engines build trust in your brand, and in doing so they’re going to give you a healthy SEO bump.
Also, every review site that you create an account on and list your business information is one citation. That’s a win-win right there.
There you have it. The number one way to succeed in local SEO without investing in content is simply to create a community. But you don’t have to start (or stop) there, as I included eight other valuable ways you can boost your search engine rankings locally without writing informative articles or pushing for local syndication.
Of course if you’re a ServerWise client, and you feel overwhelmed with your local search engine optimization and marketing efforts open a ticket and support will help.
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