As a local internet marketing company (http://www.localrise.com), we wanted to share some free tips regarding local search engine optimization to help you increase your natural or organic rankings on the major search engines:
1. Home Page: The homepage is your most powerful page and likely has the highest Google Pagerank on your site. As a result, it should have content that a search engine can spider effectively. That content needs to include keywords identifying your services and the areas you serve. Think like a web user and what they will type in to a search box. For example, if you are a Roofing Company in Miami, a potential customer may type in: miami roofing, miami fl roofing, miami florida roofing, miami roofer, miami roofing company. Do not forget the “areas served” searches as well: palm beach roofing, broward roofing, etc… Include a reference to counties, towns, and state abbreviations for all areas you service. Your homepage Title and Description should include relevant keywords. Images should have alt image text, and your site navigation (internal linking) should be in text format that a search engine spider can read. A homepage that is fully designed in flash or strictly images can not be read by a search engine spider and will prevent high rankings.
2. SubPages: The subpages on your website should be like chapters of a book. Give each page it own Title, and Description. Once again include geographical reference to all areas you serve. Name your subpages accordingly using keywords. ie. ***yoursite.com/commercial-roofing.html ***or yoursite.com/residential-roofing.html.
3. Local Listings: Google recently started to include three (3) listings from Google Maps at the top of the page for local searches. Be sure to add your site to Google Maps and optimize by categorizing and placing a description of services. Also, add a Google Map to your contact us or about us page with your business location embedded. Be sure to include your company name and full address on the bottom of every page to help optimize for this “coveted” top 3 listing on Google. Add your listing to Yahoo local, MSN local and Ask local along with any other local directories.
4. Inbound Links: As each link is a vote of confidence to your website in the eyes of search engines, this is an important strategy to increase rankings. Be sure the links you get are not spammy in nature and are from relevant sites, either geographically or within the roofing vertical.
Additionally, make sure you are making the most of links you obtain! The anchor text, or what a user actually clicks on should be keyword friendly. For example, when obtaining links back to your website from directories and other sources, make your link look like this:
Miami Roofing Company: Full service roofing company serving Miami since 1999.
(Notice the text someone would click on says “Miami Roofing Company” - This is much better than Joe’s Roofing company - Why? Because search engines read text and when they see the link “Miami Roofing Company” they know what your site is about before the spider gets to your site! Alternate your link text and description as too many “identical” links look spammy. Back it up by making sure the content on your site contains those keywords as well and you will see your rankings begin to rise for those keywords.
5. Make Sure Your Site is User Friendly and Has a Clear Call to Action: You have only a few seconds to “capture” a visitor before they hit the back button and visit a competitor. A templated site made in 2001 may not cut it depending on the competition in your area. Your business will be judged based upon the usability of your site. Once you “capture” a visitor and they stay on the site, are you presenting them with the information they are looking for and providing a clear call to take action. Is your phone number prominently placed and why should a potential customer contact you? Experience, workmanship, free estimates, internet discount, etc.? Getting them on the site is half the battle, give them a good reason to take action. Additionally, monitor user behavior with a simple analytics program to test different strategies.
As the local internet matures, less people will be using the Yellow Pages. The top three search engines are doing a fine job when it comes to local search and over 25% of all searches on the web include a geographical reference. In all, there are well over 30 factors involved when it comes to “organic optimization” and making a website rank well. I hope the tips above will help you get started!
You overall goal should be to strive for an “own the page” goal meaning your website shows up in the natural results, in the Pay Per Click results, and in any of the directories on the first page of the major search engines for relevant searches. Studies show, people believe the results they see on the first page of the search engines are the leaders in their industry. The more they see you, the better.
To accomplish your internet marketing goals, you can do it yourself or hire an internet marketing company that specializes in “local” optimization. We recommend a “local” optimization firm because “local” is what the focus is on. Additionally, the pricing is typically less expensive than using larger Search Engine Optimization firms that think “globally”. At http://www.LocalRise.com, we offer a number of local internet marketing programs to increase your visibility including Localized Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click Management and more.