Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how important local customers are for generating business. Using a company that does SEO for local business, can prove beneficial for reaching out to those customers. If they are to use your products or services, first they need to find you.
If your business doesn’t feature at the top of search engine results this can cause problems, as it won’t drive targeted local traffic to your website. The focus is to increase your local customer base, as well as reaching customers further afield.
If you are building a new website or optimizing an old one, you need to keep in mind the techniques that will keep your visitors engaged and, as a result, will also improve your SEO (search engine optimization). To get a better idea of how we do this, we’ll take a look at the basics of SEO and how search engines work.
Understanding Search Engines to Drive Targeted Local Traffic to your Website
To drive targeted local traffic to your website, you need properly optimized content, focused towards clients in your area. This content is effectively graded by search engines to decide on your rank. You may already know how search engines work, but if not here is a brief analysis.
When you type in a phrase to search for specific information on the internet, the search engine scans its indexes for results that best match your search. The indexes it searches are an organized list of web pages that have been discovered by a program called a ‘web crawler‘. Web crawlers continually browse website pages across the internet and store the information about them on the search engine index.
The index list stores a copy of the page and its URL, this renews each time a web crawler visits a page. The crawler also follows all the links referenced on the page and copies and indexes their links as well. This process continues perpetually until a vast index of web pages is built up.
Search engines use the information stored in the index. By sorting the data, they show the results they believe most closely match your search request. We can exploit this to our advantage, by making sure your website ranks well on these indexes.
PageRank and Metrics
An algorithm called ‘PageRank’ works somewhat like a popularity contest. It aims to improve search engine results by calculating how popular a webpage is deemed to be. The result being the more popular your page, the higher it will appear in the list of results.
Search engines cannot precisely gauge the quality of the content; they can only look for markers that flag the importance and relevance of the performance metrics.
A performance metric is a measure of an organization’s activities, performance, and behavior. For example, a website that is jammed full of keywords in an attempt to artificially raise its rankings receives a bad score in the behavior metric. As a consequence, it will be ranked low on the index.
The metrics are also directly affected by the reactions people have to the web page content. If they stay on your site, click through more pages, comment, use a link or click straight back out of the site again without looking further. The more engagement and interaction people have on the site, the higher it will rank.
Other Signals used for Page Rank and improve SEO
Many other ‘signals’ also help rank the page, to feature at the top of search engine results these must be optimized too. These include frequency of page updates, use of a trustworthy domain, correct use of keywords, Meta tags, alt. tags, and much more besides. It is the right use of keywords, Meta tags, alt. tags and metrics that effectively drive targeted local traffic to your website.
It is also interesting to note that different search engines will produce different results. That is why it is important to understand what search engine optimization means and how SEO for local business works.
How to optimize website images for local searches
It goes without saying that a good website needs to have well-written content. But it makes a huge difference if it’s also visually appealing. You may well have heard the saying “a picture paints a 1000 words”. If you have an e-commerce site, these images are likely to be of crucial importance, as they are an illustration of your products for your customers to see. But if you are after an SEO for local business, you’d need to work a bit more.
Search engines can’t ‘see’ images. They don’t know what the contents of a photograph, graph, diagram or another type of image are unless you provide specific information they can understand in the form of alt.tags.
Alt. tag descriptions not only let people know what an image contains in words, but they also tell the search engines. For instance, if you are looking for a local Newmarket SEO company and see a logo that you recognize, you’d automatically know what the image means. For the search engine to know this, it needs access to a well-written alt. tag description. This description could be “Newmarket SEO company”, or “SEO agency near Newmarket”, or even “Best SEO agency in Newmarket”.
Search Engine Limitations
Search engines work by using artificial intelligence, but they have their limitations. Knowing what these limitations are, allows you to exploit them to your advantage. The result of this helps to ensure your website ranks at the top of search engine results and is not invisible. The limitations fall into two categories, technical issues, and content issues.
Technical issues that might damage your website’s SEO
If you are focused on SEO for local business or search engine optimization in general, you need to look at all aspects of it, including the following technical issues that might damage your SEO:
- Content that isn’t text: HTML is the code of choice, easily understood by search engine crawlers. Code that is not HTML such as images, audio, video, photos, text in Flash files or plug-in content causes issues because they cannot read it.
- Online forms: These include things like login pages. Because the search engines cannot complete them, they also cannot read any content that is behind them.
- Blocked code: Websites use robots.txt to allow crawlers to read the site. If there are errors in this text, the crawlers are entirely unable to read it.
- Link structure: If the website’s link structure is poor it can be illegible to the search engines, making it unreadable by the crawlers. If any of this content is essential for engine indexing, it will not be usable.
- Duplicate pages: If the website uses a Content Management System (CMS) it will probably have duplicate pages. Search engines look for original content only. Repeated content has the opposite effect, flagging it is as an attempt to boost the page rankings artificially. The result, placing your site at the bottom of the rankings rather than the top.
Content issues that have a negative impact on SEO
- Unusual terms: It is important to use common terms that are most used by people searching. For instance, if you were writing about “food heating units” and the common search term is actually “cookers”, your ranking will be affected.
- Language: Using the wrong language for your target audience. If your website is in French, and your customers mostly speak English.
- Spelling: There are often differences in the spelling of words in different parts of the world. Be aware of how your target audience will spell a word and use the same spelling as them. Color / Colour is an excellent example of this.
- Mixed context: Using a title for a document on your website not connected to the content written on that page. For example, “Win a Million Dollars” is the title, but the article is about the best vacation spot in Canada.
The search engines algorithms are continually changing and becoming smarter. By using Mazclouds services for website design and optimization for local businesses, you can stay ahead of the game.
Top of Search Engine Results
As you can see there is quite a lot involved when it comes to getting to the top of search engine results. To succeed on the internet, you need to drive targeted local traffic to your website. This is done by combining local SEO with an engaging design that keeps potential customers on your site.
If you’d like to learn more about the engaging design or need to discuss your needs, you may search our blog or contact us and a member of our team will be happy to go over your current digital marketing strategy and a plan.