On-page optimization can be difficult for local businesses. You want to ensure the best possible rankings in your area, but the truth is that much bigger companies and chains have a way of outranking everyone else. So how can you exactly combat this?
Below you will find seven actionable on-page SEO steps you can take to try and compete with the “bigger fish”.
1. Engage with other local businesses
One of the most “analog”, hands-on things you can do for your SEO are collaboration and promotion.
Find businesses whose services or products complement yours. Work on some kind of collaboration, or cross-promotion between yourselves. For example, their customers can get 20% off with your company or vice versa.
After arranging the details, you publish it on your website. You can swap links with the collaborating business, thus increasing visits. The design and wording alone of the collaboration announcement can rank you for all sorts of related searches on Google, as well.
2. Use Google My Business
If you are unfamiliar with it Google My Business is a handy tool Google itself provided for businesses of all sizes. The tool allows you to create an online profile for your company (aside from your website), which aims to drive local customer engagement by promoting it on Google and having it show up on Google Maps and other Google-related properties.
For example, if we type: “professional SEO firm in San Diego”, a company that optimized through this tool will most likely come up like so:
When looking for a business, most people will first look at these results. From here they go on to specified business websites. So your homepage may not be the first thing potential customers turn to. And when it comes to brick-and-mortar businesses, customers will look for those located closest to them as in this San Diego example.
This is also a nice segway into our next point:
3. Update your San Diego location details
Your website needs to keep the most accurate data about the business. Primarily because outdated information reflects negatively with customers. But displaying the e-mail, phone number and address can improve your ranking. This tip sounds simple, but it’s easy to miss when we focus on other, more technical SEO tips.
The simplest thing is to list the locations of all your offices on the homepage. Additionally, you want a “Contact Us” section with the addresses repeated. Just listing the location in two places on your site can boost your rankings a little.
Lastly, you can include the interactive Google map location (not an image) below the address. It is a big plus for the search engine’s algorithm. While it does take some fiddling, the tutorial on it is beginner-friendly.
4. Optimize for mobile
Every guide to better on-page SEO worth their salt will tell you to optimize your website for mobile users. And we are no different.
How many times have you seen people google a restaurant or a store while they’re out with friends or family? With how accessible information is today, very few will do a thorough web search on their desktop before going out. Everything today is done on foot.
So, it is in your best interest to make a mobile version of the same page that will load faster than the website. That means it has to have more specific, condensed information, less memory-heavy images, appropriate spacing, etc. In Google’s own words:
5. Use tools to identify weaknesses
There are several on-page SEO tools you can use to help with the search ranking. For example, the most popular one, Ahrefs analyzes your competitor’s SEO links and phrases, their rankings, checks your backlinks, etc.
Another tool is Google’s own mobile-friendly website test. It helps determine which aspects of your page need more work if there are any timeouts, critical errors, or potential for hacked content.
Lastly, there are tools and services specifically for local businesses, like BrightLocal. Depending on the size and performance of your business, you will want to leverage the pricing of each tool you wish to get. Choose no more than two or three, or you’ll be creating a money sink.
6. Use your images correctly
While there is no definitive data, several websites discussed if it’s better to use original photos or stock ones. Even though stock photos don’t actively hurt your search rankings, there are a few things to say about them.
- If the stock photo has been used in a lot of large galleries, or on topic-unrelated websites, it has less of an impact. It can contribute to slightly lower rankings;
- If the photo has been used on numerous relevant sources, it can boost your own website up;
- You should use the stock photo in the same way other, more relevant sources do. Otherwise, the bots that crawl through your page can get “confused”, causing little to no change in ranking.
- While original images are normally better received, they have very little or no online authority like stock images, so they may not necessarily help.
So, while it’s unimportant if you use original photos or stock images, you should know how to use them. Otherwise, you can hurt your ranking by accident.
7. Make a very clear sitemap
One of the best ways to rank for multiple keywords on your own website is to create a bigger sitemap. You may think that the fewer pages you have, the better the search engine will treat your business.
But think about this: putting every single service you provide into one “our services” page is actually less SEO-friendly than having individual pages for each. How? Here’s one example from Apple:
See how easier it is to find exactly what you need? Additionally, the bots crawling the page will have an easier time recognizing and indexing them as separate search results.
So, take some time to create a map of all the individual pages you could create and link to. It may take a while, but the payoff will be worth it.
This on-page SEO checklist was meant to help you scratch the surface. Whether it’s on tips you may have overlooked, or details you didn’t know. There are plenty of other tips online, and you will probably find some that work perfectly for your business. We hope this short list was enough to give you an idea where you could potentially improve your rankings.