Two people climbing up the stairs to a better position with the step by step SEO guide for 2021

Step by step SEO guide for 2021

Two people climbing up the stairs to a better position with the step by step SEO guide for 2021

Step by step SEO guide for 2021

Without false modesty, SEO can sometimes be overwhelming and intimidating, even for experienced marketers. Especially nowadays when there are so many rules and factors to take into account. We live in an age where the average person makes most of their purchasing decisions based on information from search engines. They spend hours researching and looking for valid information about services or products. Or, in other cases, simply browsing the internet for informative reading and entertainment. Anyway, this all makes SEO vital, inevitable, and impossible to ignore. Whether you are a blogger, business website owner, or digital marketing agency, you will find this step-by-step SEO guide for 2021 useful.

SEO guide with essential optimization steps for 2021

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a methodology marketing experts use to improve website ranking positions. All in the effort of increasing the website visibility and traffic and keeping visitors engaged. It’s a series of steps to optimize everything from website content to formatting, structure, and speed. As a result, both search engines and visitors will recognize the value of a website.

 

To make it easier to research SEO, here is the list of necessary steps you should follow as SEO guidelines in 2021:

 

  1. Review your website’s optimization potential
  2. Find the right keywords
  3. Offer quality content
  4. Sort your internal link structure
  5. External link building
  6. Website performance
  7. Monitor results
  1. Review your website’s optimization potential

Altogether, a considerable part of search engine optimization happens directly on a website. That’s why it’s necessary to closely inspect all its elements. Everything from titles and content to metadata and structure has to be in order if you want high online visibility. Good SEO audit and website inspection will help you identify problems and places for potential improvements. Further optimization will help search engines discover and adequately evaluate a website. But it will also help you provide a better user experience for visitors.

 

Here is a general list of elements you should focus your attention to, SEO-wise:

 

  • URL structure
  • Website navigation
  • Sitemap
  • Internal links
  • Broken links and redirects
  • Use of keywords
  • Title, header, and alt tags
  • All types of metadata
  • Duplicate content and quality

 

Another crucial aspect of SEO is website accessibility. Basically, the goal is easy access for everyone, including impaired readers. It should take perception, understandability, and availability into consideration. Because, in essence, website content is truly and completely valuable only when everyone can use it, under any conditions.

A person planning a website and considering SEO guidelines by following the step by step SEO guide for 2021.
The best option is to include SEO guidelines from the very first moments of website creation.
  1. Find the right keywords

Keywords are the center of all Search Engine Optimization activities. In fact, they are the foundation and the start of most quality SEO efforts. You can find them in the content, titles, links, other website elements – basically everywhere. That’s why finding the right keywords is one of the most critical steps.

 

While there are dozens of SEO tools, to start with, you can use Google search itself. Just start typing the term you are considering and observe what’s happening. Before hitting search, Google automated suggestions will start offering you different terms. You can use them all as keywords since suggestions are based upon what people look for. Or, you can add a word or two and check the so-called long-tail keywords.

 

However, choosing the right keywords is not as simple as it seems at first. To make the right pick, you will have to:

 

  • Analyze the first page of results
  • See what top results are ranking for
  • Consider the competitiveness of each potential keyword
  • Check what your direct competitors are doing
  • Check the search volume of each keyword
  • Inspect the keyword trending potential with Google trends

 

While searching for keywords, probably one of the best steps is to create your customer persona – a depiction of your ideal customer. This will help you identify customer intent (why people are using the search engine) and, consequently, better keywords. An excellent way to proceed is to discover where your target audience is spending their online time. Check the topics they are interested in and tailor your keyword strategy accordingly.

  1. Offer quality content

Creating quality content is essential for two things. First, it will help search engines properly evaluate your website relevance and rank you better. Second, by providing valuable information to your visitors you will motivate them to spend more time on your website. For this, you will need plenty of content, and it has to be optimized.

 

The type of content varies from simple blog posts to excessive guides and tutorials. However, it shouldn’t be limited only to text. Visualization and graphical elements should also be considered, especially today when video is becoming one of the dominant media formats everyone can consume with ease. For example, besides being the most prominent video portal, YouTube is the second largest search engine. Right after Google.

YouTube on a computer
Visual material is easy to digest. That’s why many people prefer it.

Of course, to be visually appealing, your content has to be properly formatted. No one is going to spend time trying to find information within a wall of plain text. For example, use H1-H6 headings, choose relevant topics, and optimize all the metadata inside. Content design is one of the most common mistakes that can easily hinder your website’s usability. By providing a bad user experience this way, you will ruin your SEO efforts.

 

Finally, make sure to keep your content up to date. Add new and remove obsolete information whenever you can.

  1. Sort your internal link structure

There are two factors why your internal links are important:

 

  • Internal links help improve your website hierarchy, navigation, and user engagement. They allow you to connect content from different pages so people can discover your other content. This, in general, improves page views and overall time visitors spend on your website, which can affect your SEO score.
  • Internal links can increase the value of other pages. With different tools, you can check the page authority of each of your pages. Use this information to connect pages with high scores to those that are lacking it. This will improve the ranking power of your website overall.

 

  1. External link building

One of the most important SEO ranking factors is backlinks. Simply put, those are external links that link back to your website from other places. They serve as a vote from other websites that your website is worth linking to. In search engine eyes, this can be a decisive factor when they evaluate your ranking potential. When creating links to strengthen your ranking for specific keywords, you can:

 

  • Analyze your competitors
  • Use different methods like Broken Link Building and Skyscraper technique
  • Share and promote your content on social media
  • If you own a business, create listings and submit a website to industry directories
  • Create guest blog posts
  • Reach out to experts and other niche influencers
  1. Website performance

Another aspect that can influence your SEO results is your website performance. Generally speaking, people don’t have much patience to wait for pages to load. Just a few second difference will make them leave. Most likely, to your competitors. Here, the goal is to provide an excellent user experience. In return, search engines will reward you with better rankings. This will lead to an increase in traffic, higher engagement, lower bounce rate, and eventually, better conversion rate. In addition, make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices as well. With so many smartphones and similar devices, not using the mobile-first approach would be a waste. Even Google gives priority to websites with their mobile-first indexing.

Measuring website speed with an online speed tool
Many elements like unoptimized images can slow down your website.
  1. Monitor results

Finally, no good results from your SEO efforts will last forever. SEO is not a one-time job, and you will have to constantly evaluate and work on it. Remember, your competitors are doing the same things and will always look for ways to overtake your ranking positions. That’s why you have to track your SEO constantly by monitoring all the results. There is a lot of competition in search results, and a good step by step SEO guide can help you stay on track. Don’t underestimate the power of optimization, and you will be able to answers the visitors’ needs better than your competitor.

A silver laptop displaying Google’s search engine page.

Must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses

A silver laptop displaying Google’s search engine page.

 

Must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses

In the digital age, few marketing practices have seen as much attention and devotion as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a series of practices that aims to rank content in search engines, it boasts undeniable potential. Still, SEO is an extremely deep subject for multiple reasons. From its reliance on Google’s 200+ranking factors to its long-term nature, it can certainly dismay the uninitiated.

Indeed, measuring SEO Return on Investment (ROI) is notably difficult, and not all SEO endeavors fit all businesses equally well. Thus, let us use this article to delve into fundamental, must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses specifically.

How service-based businesses differ as regards SEO

The fundamentals of SEO are identical between service-based and product-based businesses. They are, after all, aligning their websites and content with the same search engine criteria. Thus, where they differ lies in how they approach SEO and where they focus on. In this specific dichotomy, the difference lies in what they’re selling; intangible services versus tangible objects.

Simplifying the difference for text economy, then, product-based businesses can often rely on impulsive purchases from broad audiences. That is, their content marketing strategies can rely more on eliciting emotional responses from a wider customer pool. In contrast, service-based businesses address more specific audiences, which are typically better-informed on, and more engaged with, their service. Thus, they need to emphasize service quality, sometimes rightfully sacrificing tone for substance. Moreover, they need to leverage social credit comparatively more, as customers seek intangible, often long-term or subscription-based services.

In-house SEO versus hiring an SEO specialist

The aforementioned differences aside, a final factor for both to consider is who will handle SEO. DIY SEO does have benefits, such as lesser upfront costs and businesses acquiring first-hand knowledge. However, SEO does have a steep learning curve, and early mistakes can have long-lasting consequences regarding ranking and revenue. Thus, while the final choice will depend on you, service-based businesses do have more incentives to hire outside help. However, should you do so, due research to choose the perfect person for the job is highly advisable. After all, not all professionals are equal, and your unique needs must be met in full from the start.

A tablet on a desk displaying a pie chart dubbed “traffic sources overview”.
If implemented correctly, SEO will generate notable traffic for any business website.

Must-have elements of SEO strategy

Now, with the above context in mind, we may explore must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses. Throughout most of its history, SEO has delved into 3 key areas of focus:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO

None of these subsets are of lesser importance, for service-based businesses or otherwise. Thus, we’ve gathered 2 elements from each subset that should deserve your attention.

1. On-page SEO

On-page SEO delves into on-page elements, as the name implies. These include images and videos, Call to Action buttons (CTAs), and others. The two most crucial aspects of it are, arguably, content itself and CTAs.

Quality content

It’s not entirely uncommon for service-based businesses to forego content marketing altogether, even if at the cost of additional traffic. For those that do not, content quality is still a profound subject that would warrant its own article. We may, however, consolidate the fundamentals down to the following:

  • Factual accuracy. Your content should strive to be as factually correct as possible.
  • Visual appeal. Your content should be digestible and enticing. Consider white space, visual elements, and other factors that affect visual appeal.
  • Your content should address your audiences’ interests and satisfy their search intent. Consider your choice of keywords to make your content relevant to your audiences.
A woman in a pink dress using a laptop.
Content quality will determine audience engagement, in turn affecting both search engine rankings and conversions.

Clear, alluring CTAs

For all its quality, your content should still facilitate conversions. It does so through CTAs, which are the primary focus of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). This, too, is a very deep subject, whose basics we may distill down to the following:

  • Visibility and readability. Ensure your CTAs are always visible, and other on-page elements do not distract from them. At the same time, ensure your choice of font makes them easily readable.
  • CTAs that incite urgency or suggest exclusivity typically function better. Consider countdown timers and exclusive offers in this regard.
  • Multiple CTAs may induce choice fatigue and hamper conversion rates. Thus, consider limiting each landing page to a single CTA.

2. Off-page SEO

Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO addresses off-page activities such as social media promotions. Among must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses, it encapsulates backlinks and reviews.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links to your content from external sources. SEO-wise, they help enhance your page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA), boosting your ranking efforts. Practically, they generate referral traffic and help build trust – which is crucial for service-based businesses, as highlighted above. To build a healthy backlink strategy, consider the following:

  • Content quality and promotion. Producing impeccable content will naturally generate backlinks through cross-channel promotion. Consider the skyscraper technique in this regard.
  • Branded mentions. You may scout the internet for unlinked branded mentions to claim backlinks, without additional effort.
  • Backlink type balance. A healthy balance between Follow and NoFollow backlinks is advisable. Google values natural-looking backlink profiles, and both types generate traffic.

Reviews

Similarly to backlinks, reviews are excellent social credit – especially for service-based businesses, whose audiences examine them carefully. They also affect such practices as local SEO, so you may address them in such ways as the following:

  • Elicit reviews across channels. You may do so through social media posts, popups, and so forth.
  • Feature them prominently. Most customers value reviews highly, so feature them prominently on your testimonials page.
  • Respond to them. Many bad reviews may be withdrawn if you can address their grievances, so always try to do so. It will also reassure other customers of your professionalism.
A man in a black suit pointing at a 4/5-star review.
Reviews serve as excellent social credit, assuring customers of your services’ quality.

3. Technical SEO

Finally, technical SEO ensures your website’s technical health, as the name implies. While it’s less complex by comparison, it is by no means any less significant. Two among its most notable subjects are sitemaps and breadcrumbs.

XML and HTML sitemaps

In brief, XML sitemaps are reserved for search engine crawlers, allowing them to index your pages. In contrast, HTML sitemaps are visible to human visitors and help facilitate easier navigation to your site. Healthy SEO requires both, so you should:

  • Provide Google with an XML sitemap. While it can be a challenging process, third-party tools and such WordPress plugins as Yoast SEO can offer immense help.
  • Provide your visitors with an HTML sitemap. Fortunately, creating HTML sitemaps is the easier process of the two, as SEMrush explains.

Breadcrumbs

Finally, breadcrumbs offer visitors a small text path at the top of pages that immediately tells them where they are. They are immensely useful for both search engines and visitors, as they consolidate content hierarchy and ease navigation, respectively. Fortunately, there are multiple third-party tools to help you implement them, such as the aforementioned Yoast SEO plugin. For service-based businesses, there are two main breadcrumb types to consider and choose between:

  • Hierarchy-based breadcrumbs. These follow visitors’ journeys from your homepage to subsequent pages and reflect your site’s hierarchy.
  • History-based breadcrumbs. In contrast, these reflect your visitors’ journey paths chronologically. Notably, you may also combine the two.

Conclusion

To summarize, there are must-have elements of SEO strategy for service-based businesses across all SEO subsets. For on-page SEO, content quality and pristine CTAs are crucial, as they entice visitors to convert. For off-page SEO, backlinks and reviews are invaluable, as they generate traffic, build trust, and serve as social credit. Finally, for technical SEO, sitemaps and breadcrumbs ensure technical health and cater to both search engines and visitors. These are, of course, only some of the fundamentals of SEO, but we do hope this list served as a helpful starting point for your future research.

 

WordPress plugins page.

Best CRM plugins for WordPress to try this year

WordPress plugins page.

Best CRM plugins for WordPress to try this year

How good are you at knowing, understanding, and interacting with your customers? The answer is “not good enough” because things can always get better. And customer relationship management software is one of the things that will help you do better. What is more, if you’re running a WordPress website, the good news doesn’t stop there: you don’t even have to go looking for a whole CRM system – you can try some CRM plugins for WordPress instead. WP plugins are an excellent way to improve your customer relations without paying for an entire software suite or to dip your toes into CRM before jumping in with a significant investment. Either way, CRM plugins are worth considering if you have a WP website.

CRM software 101: what it is and why it matters

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It can refer to a strategy, a process, or technology. But whichever option we’re talking about, one thing remains at the core of CRM: the relationship between a business and its customers. Maintaining a good relationship in this aspect is crucial for every business.

A salesperson talking to a customer.
Nurturing good relationships with customers is important for long-lasting success.

Your business and its growth depend on your customers: you should always be on the lookout for new prospects, trying to convert new leads, working on retaining traffic in the long run, providing the best possible customer service, and more. To do that, you need to understand your demographic well. Who are your customers? How far down the sales pipeline is each of your leads? Where is each one of your customers in their lifecycle? Have you previously been in contact with these customers, and how often? Unless you have an eidetic memory, you won’t be able to answer these questions off the top of your head. That’s where CRM comes in.

As a strategy, CRM is about your business philosophy regarding customer relationships and how they should be managed. As a process, it’s the specific actions you take to make that philosophy into reality. But as a technology, CRM is the software that helps you collect, analyze, and interpret information about your customers and their relationship to your business, as well as take appropriate actions based on these data. It often comes with additional features like marketing automation and email integration. Even without these, however, CRM software is worth investing in as it will save you time and effort in maintaining good customer relationships.

What are CRM plugins for WordPress?

WP plugins are bits of code added to your WordPress website for additional functionality. They can do anything from providing security features to dealing with spam comments to making it easier to design your website. But while most plugins are intended to make your life easier, some are there specifically to improve user experience or the relationship between the user and the business. CRM plugins are in that group.

A list of WP plugins.
Plugins help your WP website look and function better.

Why should you opt for CRM plugins for WordPress?

Virtually every business can benefit from some type of CRM software. The only question is whether you need just a lightweight tool or a full suite. If your website runs on WordPress, then a plugin can be the perfect solution here. Many of the must-have WP plugins do very impressive work, equivalent to and sometimes even better than independent software. So you won’t be sacrificing functionality if you opt for a plugin. Yet, plugins tend to be a lot more affordable and usually don’t require an extensive installation and onboarding process. Additionally, they can be a good introduction to CRM. You can learn what works through plugins, then later invest in more extensive software when your business grows.

What are the best CRM plugins for WordPress?

There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins out there. Many of them are CRM plugins or at least include CRM features. So deciding on which one to download can be tricky. But you can’t go wrong with any of the following options:

WP-CRM

If you’re looking for CRM plugins for WordPress for small businesses, then WP-CRM should definitely be up for consideration. It is perfect for those who are just looking for a lightweight but high-performance tool with a focus on easy contact management, simplified project management, and seamless integration. With it, you can collect and store an unlimited number of contacts. To help you with this, you’ll have custom fields available as well as the possibility to integrate with other contact lists like Slack. All this will be available on your WP admin dashboard as the plugin integrates perfectly with the WP environment.

WordPress app download page.
WP-CRM will integrate with WordPress easily because that’s what it was designed for.

A basic version is available entirely for free. Although it doesn’t include many features, it’s a great and cost-effective solution when you don’t need much. A premium version is available at the starting price of $99 per year. However, you can also pay for and install individual additional features according to your own needs.

WP ERP

A 3-in-1 plugin with CRM, HRM, and accounting features, WP ERP is a great tool for small and medium businesses alike. With it, you’ll be able to create a company profile, collect payments, send out notifications, create contact groups, handle the customer lifecycle, gather progress reports, and more. It’s a truly impressive list of features, especially considering the core plugin is entirely free. Most of the features, including the main things a business will use from this plugin, are included in the free version. So if you’re concerned with your expenses, this is the perfect solution. However, if you love WP ERP, advanced plans start at $112 per year and include additional features, extensions, and support.

HubSpot

It’s impossible to talk about CRM plugins for WordPress without mentioning HubSpot. The company is known for creating powerful marketing software, and this plugin is no different. With it, you can connect your WP website to the free HubSpot CRM, which helps you organize, track, and nurture leads and customers. But that’s not all. As one of the most advanced CRM tools on this list (and on the market in general), it comes with a wide variety of features. Among them, you will find a form builder, a live chat and chatbots, analytics with enriched data, automatic logging of all contacts, customer timelines, an email marketing tool, and more.

Basically, this plugin is everything you need to manage your leads, increase your conversion rates, and nurture long-term relationships with customers. And it is entirely free of charge. So if you’ve ever wanted to try a HubSpot tool, the CRM plugin is a great place to start.

UpiCRM

The perfect stepping stone to a full CRM suite comes in the form of UpiCRM. This plugin offers all the basic CRM features for free. With it, you can create forms, collect leads, and collect data from multiple sources. It also integrates with other CRMs, WP plugins, and even Google Drive with an additional option to export all data to another program, so if you do decide to upgrade to something more all-encompassing, you won’t lose all your hard work. If you’re looking for a free, basic, and lightweight tool that you can use for dipping your toes into CRM, this is the perfect option.

WP Fusion

Although not a CRM plugin, strictly speaking, WP Fusion deserves mention when talking about WordPress and CRM software. It is a premium plugin (with a free Lite version) that essentially acts as the go-between for your website and a CRM program. Its primary purpose is to collect information about your customers and leads, then feed it to a third-party CRM of your choosing while adding a few basic CRM features to your website.

Reports created by CRM plugins for WordPress on a laptop screen.
Accurate and rich data is the key to successful CRM strategies.

This may not seem worth the $247 per year price, but the truth is that the importance of accurate information about your customers is hard to overstate. WP Fusion automates the collection of this customer data, allows you to create custom forms, adds tags to customer profiles, locks content on your website so only specific categories of customers can see it, all while integrating seamlessly with a wide variety of CRM and mailing systems. This allows you to use data to your advantage and effectively manage customer relationships so you can grow your business faster.

CRM and Lead Management by vCita

Another plugin that isn’t technically CRM itself but rather integrates with a CRM system is the vCita CRM and lead management plugin. The plugin itself is not particularly impressive – it gives your WP website lead capture capabilities and allows you to stay in contact with customers. But the vCita CRM that the plugin integrates with is a heavy-duty feature with robust search capabilities, virtually endless contact storage, an in-depth view of customers, and a slew of automation tools. Despite this, learning the system is easy as the interface is modern and intuitive. If you want a real powerhouse of a CRM, vCita is an excellent option at only $19/month. The plugin will simply allow you to integrate this system with your WP website.

Web-to-Lead for Salesforce

Another one of the CRM plugins for WordPress that operates by integrating an existing suite with WordPress is the Web-to-Lead for Salesforce plugin. Perhaps the most well-known CRM solution on the market, Salesforce is never a bad choice when it comes to CRM. There’s a good reason for its popularity, too: Salesforce offers a whole host of tools to help you collect and nurture leads, manage customer relationships, track sales data, and even analyze your competition. You’ll also have access to various marketing tools to help you build your reputation online and reach more prospects. The plugin allows you to capture leads through WordPress and automatically sync them to your Salesforce account. It’s free, but the use of Salesforce itself comes with a price tag starting at $25/month.

A person using a computer.
With Salesforce, you’ll have a powerful CRM tool mere clicks away.

Groundhogg

With Groundhogg, you’ll be able to automate your marketing and customer relationship management in a simple way. Designed specifically for WordPress, it integrates perfectly with the platform. Like most plugins on this list, the basic version of it is free. It allows you to:

  • create forms,
  • write custom emails,
  • segment your contact lists,
  • keep track of your customers, and more.

If that’s not enough, premium plans start at $20 per month. You’ll get tons of different extensions to choose from and add features like payment collection and conditional funnel logic.

What to look for when choosing among the best CRM plugins for WordPress

Just like with plugins for Search Engine Optimization, there is no magic formula for a CRM plugin – each business is unique and looking for something different. But certain must-have features should be a part of any plugin you’re considering. These include:

  • a contact capture system with form builders
  • databases for storing customer information
  • reporting with in-depth insights
  • pipeline management, preferably visual
  • messaging tools that ease contact between employees and customers
  • an intuitive interface that’s easy to use for both employees and customers
  • invoicing and billing tools
  • tagging, filtering, and search options
  • integration features for linking with other CRM tools

WooCommerce integration, task scheduling, document databases, and activity logs are also useful features for many businesses. But ultimately, it is up to you which of these features to prioritize. After all, you know best what your business needs.

How to make the most of your CRM plugins for WordPress

The first step towards success will be choosing the right CRM plugins for WordPress. But it’s once you’ve installed your chosen plugin that the work truly begins. Make sure to set up your plugin in a way that works for you and your business. Familiarize yourself with the different features and how best to use them – this is crucial for getting the most out of any software. Read up on the different options and take a look at some tutorials, if any are available. For features that your customers will interact with (like contact forms), always design with the user in mind. Finally, remember to regularly update your plugin as well as the rest of your website. This ensures that you’re always running the latest version of the software with all the potential new features that come with updates.

Google maps on a laptop

On-page Strategies to Improve Your Local SEO

Google maps on a laptop

On-page Strategies to Improve Your Local SEO

Getting a lot of traffic to your website is great – you want to be visible online, after all. But not all traffic is equally valuable. For example, if you are running a small business in the service industry that only operates in Brooklyn, then a website visit from Japan won’t be as important as one from New York. So how do you target potential customers in your area? The answer is a specific type of search engine optimization – local SEO. It is a way to get better rankings in local searches that are more likely to lead to conversion. You can improve your local SEO in many different ways that include both on-page and off-page practices. But you have to start somewhere, and on-page strategies are the easier and quicker option. So how can you optimize your content for local searches specifically?

What is local SEO?

Search engine optimization or SEO refers to all the actions you take to make your website more visible in search engine results relevant to your niche. SEO can be incredibly helpful for a business, especially one that’s just starting out and needs to get the word out there. But a wide variety of practices fall under SEO, including things like your website structure, the keywords you choose to use in your content, the way you market yourself on social media, and more. So unless you plan on dedicating a lot of time and effort to SEO, you should consult the experts in this field to achieve the best possible results.

Person looking up a business on Google Maps.
Local SEO will put you on the map – literally.

But just being seen is not enough – you need to be seen by the right people. This usually means people who live or work in your area. These are the people who are most likely to purchase your goods or use your services, especially if you’re running a small and local business. To ensure that these people find your website, you need local SEO. Local SEO refers specifically to SEO practices that ensure your business appears in local searches.

Why do you need to improve your local SEO?

It is easier to rank for local searches than global ones. By ranking locally, you can attract more traffic, which can help your overall rankings and even resolve ranking drops. But the main advantage of local SEO is actually attracting traffic that is most likely to convert. The people who search specifically for local businesses are typically ready to spend money on goods and services – they just need to find a suitable place for it. On the other hand, people who search for more general terms are usually just looking into various offers. They are much less likely to shop at your business immediately. Therefore, by focusing on SEO, you can even improve your sales.

How can you improve your local SEO with on-page strategies?

SEO practices are typically divided into three types: technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. Technical SEO is about making your website easier for search engine bots to crawl and index. Off-page SEO includes the things you do on other websites to improve your ranking – this involves backlinks and social media, for example. Finally, on-page SEO is the optimization of the content on your own website. Since on-page SEO practices are entirely up to you, they’re pretty easy to implement. This makes them an excellent place to start when improving your local SEO.

Person looking up businesses on a map
Use SEO to help potential customers find you.

Localize your website

The first thing you should do is to put your location and contact information on the website. Ensure this information is visible and easily accessible – use your sidebar or footer to separate it from the rest of the content on your home page. Include your contact information on relevant pages like the about section as well. It’s imperative to be consistent: you want all your customers to see the same company name, address, phone number, and email regardless of where on the website they notice it.

Create content relevant to your location

Ask just about anyone what SEO is, and they’ll probably start talking about optimized content. There’s a good reason for this: quality content is still one of the most important parts of an optimized website. And in the case of local SEO, quality content means localized content. To attract local users, you’ll want to:

  • write about topics of interest to the locals (if you’re located in Florida, for example, beach activities are a better topic than tips on how to shovel snow)
  • create location-specific pages (make a page for every location where you operate in order to rank for each of them)
  • use location-specific keywords (if you own a spa in Seattle, for example, don’t just use Thai massage as a keyword – use Thai massage in Seattle)

Optimize your website for mobile and voice searches

A disproportionately high percentage of local searches come from mobile devices. This is because people will frequently be looking for local businesses that fulfil their needs when they’re already on the go. For the same reason, you’ll get more voice searches – people on the move often find it easier to speak into their devices than to type out their searches. To reach these users, you’ll need to adjust to their needs. That means optimizing for mobile and optimizing for voice searches.

Person recording into a phone
Optimizing for voice search will help you in the future.

Optimizing for mobile is a must for every website today. More than half of all searches come from mobile devices. Furthermore, Google implements mobile-first ranking. So even when the search isn’t coming from mobile, your mobile website will still be examined. Given all that, there’s simply no excuse not to optimize for mobile. Make sure your website loads fast, use a responsive theme, and check that your pages can be navigated on a small touch screen.

Voice searches are the future of search engines, so you want to get in on them early to give yourself a headstart. Optimize your content for the more conversational style of spoken searches. This will include using longer keywords and accounting for typical question words (like what, how, or why). To get the best of both worlds, combine traditional keywords with longer, voice search-specific ones.

Other ways to improve your local SEO

On-page strategies are not the only way to improve your local SEO. In fact, they work best when combined with off-page practices. So you’ll want to optimize your off-page presence for local searches too. Start by listing your address and contact information on all your social media profiles. Then, set up a Google My Business profile to put yourself on the map. You’ll also want to get listed in local directories and review websites. Finally, encourage your customers to leave reviews for your business. The vast majority of people are influenced by reviews when making purchasing decisions. Positive reviews are, therefore, essential for attracting a local clientele.