If you own a local business, you already know the challenges that come when competing with other businesses from your industry, especially if they are ranking above you.
We need to remember that local SEO is quite different from your regular SEO campaign and that Local search results are changing more rapidly than any other since Google released its famous algorithm update called Venice.
Google has rolled out four main algorithm updates since 2011. These changes have had a severe impact on websites and local businesses.
How the Google Venice Update Changed Rankings for Local Businesses
Google’s Venice update changed the way in which SERPs looked and affected the results dramatically by boosting local search results. If you search for “Car Accident Attorneys” the organic results will now show results based on your location rather than just general results for that keyword.
If your business offers local services but you don’t have them specified in your website, you might need to create a geographical SEO strategy. If the location is not specified on your website, then other sites with geographical targets will rank higher than your business for generic keywords.
Ranking for Local Businesses Changed by Geo Modifiers
A Geo Modifier is a location specific keyword that communicates the local intent of a search query.
So whenever you search in Google for a car accident lawyer, google will detect your location and will give you the most relevant results near you. When you start building your keyword list make sure you use the following structure: “Keyword + Geographical Area = Geo-Modified Keyword”
For Example: Car Accident Attorney (Keyword) + Miami (Geo) = Car Accident Attorney in Miami
Keywords with GEO Modifiers Have the Best ROI
When competing locally it is easier to rank for your industry related Keywords since you don’t have to compete against other similar businesses or against National companies. For example, if you have a local dentistry and you offer dental implants in Davie, FL you can start targeting your area with your natural keyword: “Dental Implants in Davie”. By doing this, you will be competing against other Dentists located in Davie, FL.
Using geo modifiers will motivate users to take action since they are further down the purchasing funnel and have a good idea of what they are looking for. They are either ready to make a decision, need an answer to a specific question, or are looking to purchase.
Keywords with Geo Modifiers will help you rank naturally in your area while obtaining the best return on investment in less time.
Should I use the Geo Modifier from Where I’m Located or Use the Geo from my Surrounding Area?
When you want to start targeting an area you need to perform your due diligence and perform your keyword research based on search trends during the last years. The best way to obtain your search volume trend is using the keyword planner tool.
Before getting started on your keyword research make sure you ask yourself the following questions:
Is the keyword relevant to your website’s content?
Will searchers find what they are looking for on your site when using these keywords?
Will they be happy with what they find?
Now that you have access to the keyword planner tool all you need to do is enter your product or service (dental implant), your category (dentist and dental services) and your targeting area (Davie, FL) and click on ‘Get Ideas’.
You will get the search volume trend based on the location you have selected and you can identify how competitive your keyword could be.
Select the main keyword you would like to rank for, in this case, we will use “affordable dental implants” + the geo modifier (Davie) and perform a search.
If you see a list of business that provides Dental Implants in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) then you might hardly rank for that keyword in that location, but if no companies are listed it means that you might have a good chance to start ranking.
There are two reasons why you would like to target a surrounding area instead of your primary location:
- Because you have conquered the market in your area and you want to expand
- The product or service you provide is not adequate for your main locations
At this point you should have a pretty solid idea of the keyword you would like to target and what area.
Best Practices to Start Ranking Locally
SEO is not only about keyword selection and adding the GEO target to your site, is much more than that. This means that if you want to start ranking higher than your competitors you need to start thinking locally. Keep in mind SEO is a slow process and there are many things you can do on-site or off-site to improve your rankings. We have some best practices for you that can help your site to be more relevant:
Create Quality Content
Besides creating quality content you should also add unique Geo Content. Make sure you create content for humans, not for search engines.
Avoid Duplicate Content
Web crawlers might have a hard time identifying which page is more relevant if you have the same content through your site.
Add the Geo you would like to rank for.
Create Structured URL with Geo
Your URL is what comes after your “domain.com/”. Make sure you include the service or product and the GEO target.
For example, if you have a cat care services in Calgary your URL structure should include the service you provide and the area: http://www.calgarydogwalking.com/calgary-cat-care
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) Consistency
Always make sure the name of your business, address and phone are consistently listed across the web. Having your information consistent and accurate will make it easier for search engines to trust your site and understand who you are and where your business is located.
Include Geo-Modifiers in Your Keyword Selection
Using Geo-modifiers during your keyword selection will help you mark your local presence in your area. Search engines have a lot of different ranking factors that will boost your local business and local presence.
Hopefully, these tips will guide you to create the right geo-modified keyword to start ranking locally. Do you know any more tips? Let us know in the comments below.
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