You have a small business in Victoria, but you’re not excited by the results that come up when people search for you or a business like you. There’s an old SEO joke that’s pretty close to the truth: where’s the best place to hide a dead body? On the second page of Google…
So, if you’re scratching your head, trying to figure out how to help more people find you, keep reading. We’ve put together this article to give you a little bit of SEO 101, so you can check your own site and see if it’s performing well or if there are opportunities to improve. And if you get stuck, shoot us a note and we can help you find the right solution for your situation.
In this article, we’ll share:
- What constitutes local SEO
- What counts as “high quality” website content
- The difference between follow and no-follow links
- How to make social media work for you
…And so much more!
Let’s jump right in:
What is ‘Local’ SEO, and Why Does it Matter?
Let’s tackle the biggest question first: what is ‘local’ SEO?
Local SEO is defined as the process of improving search engine optimization and visibility for local businesses. The end goal of local SEO is to boost organic traffic from customers in your immediate area. As such, local SEO is primarily geared towards brick-and-mortar businesses.
And, you get to decide on what’s local. If you’re a busy electrician, like Jason at Titan Electric, you might be focused on providing service throughout Greater Victoria (AKA, the Capital Region District). But if you’re a restaurant, like Jonathan at Taste of Tokyo in Sidney, you’re probably looking at the Saanich Peninsula for the majority of your clients. Sure, some folks who know about the great sushi here might come from Langford or even Sooke, but the bulk of his business is likely someone craving fresh sushi right now – they want to know that it’s available to them, and only a few blocks away.
- Gaining greater online visibility
- Ranking for online searches related to your business
- Increasing the chances of having repeat customers
- Building brand trust and authority
- Reducing overall long-term advertising costs
Now that you know more about the value of local SEO, let’s shift our focus on the components of doing local SEO right.
#1: High-Quality Website Content
The bedrock of smart, local SEO for small businesses is high-quality website content.
Google uses the EAT method (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to categorize pages as high-quality or not high-quality. Having been established since 2014, what Google classifies as EAT evolves each year and, as such, requires extra care in order for experts to nail down.
When executed properly, high-quality website content attracts organic visitors who stay for longer on your website, consume more of your website’s content, and are significantly more likely to convert into paying customers.
- The purpose of the page (and if it is beneficial to visitors)
- If the page content is accurate and up-to-date
- The focus of your website (news sites are more well-regarded by Google than gossip sites, for example)
- How long your website domain has been active for, with older domains receiving priority
- How many words, keywords, and backlinks exist on each page of your website
If the term “backlinks” has caught your eye, then you’re on the right track: it’s our next step to achieving strong local SEO.
#2: The Importance of Backlinks
As we’ve discussed in one of our previous blogs, “How to Improve Your Business’s Local Online Presence”, when a website links to your website, it signals to search engines that your content is topically related… and valuable.
Meaning? The more sites link back to yours, the more valuable search engines like Google will consider your content.
There are two types of backlinks: do-follow and no-follow.
Do-follow backlinks are the default type of backlinks, and also the type to aim for for local SEO benefits: they’re the type of backlinks that work to improve your website’s domain authority and keyword rankings.
No-follow backlinks, on the other hand, do not pass on authority to the site it’s linking to and do not directly help with SEO. No-follow backlinks have “nofollow” added to the code during the linking process.
Have no-follow backlinks? Don’t worry! A natural backlink portfolio consists of both do-follow and no-follow backlinks; no-follow links will not harm your website’s authority or SEO ranking in any way. (However, any digital marketing company worth their salt will prioritize securing do-follow backlinks for you.)
*** If you have a semi-active blog, there’s a good chance that you’ve been contacted from sites around the world offering to write a free blog post for you, with ‘a few’ backlinks in the article.
And while free sounds like a great deal, the articles provide minimal – if any – value to you, but you provide substantial value to them. If your blog is about home renovation in Victoria, like our friends at MAC Renovations, then a ‘free’ post about the dental industry in western Australia, full of links to other unrelated sites around the world, is next to useless. There are better – and easier – ways to do this, and achieve far greater results. It’s not free, but…
#3: Get Social on Social Media
Social media is a direct and effective way to:
- Build trust with your ideal audience via real testimonials
- Symbiotically cross-promote with other local related businesses to build a referral network and build your backlinks
- Start up a new organic website visitation stream, rather than jumping straight into Google Ads
- Naturally advertise new services or promotions
Common social media platforms of choice include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and online directories like Google My Business. All in all, social media is a non-negotiable inclusion of any small business’s local SEO checklist.
#4: Regular Posting
When outsourcing your local SEO efforts, quality and consistent posting on both your website and on social media is a must.
This both works to accelerate your local SEO efforts and establishes a brand voice that is reliable and trustworthy. If you’re ready to see the benefits of local SEO done right (or would like a free, no-obligation quote) or you’d just like a quick chat about SEO for your site, contact us today to get started.