SEO and Local Search

It has been stated many times on the web that getting to grips with SEO is more achievable when you start to rank your site for local searches. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Trying to roll up your sleeves and compete for highly competitive keywords when you have little or no experience is soul destroying and nine times out of ten a persons SEO experience will end right there.

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Thus local SEO is the way forward to gain those prized ranking positions and priceless experience. I will give a few examples in this post to help you achieve improved rankings for your site.

First let’s look at the Title Tag: For this example I am going to presume that your company does Web Design and your company is based in my local city of Glasgow. Now this is not rocket science but by having the phrase “Web Design Glasgow” in my title tag is as good a starting point as any. Some companies like to have their company name or brand in the Title tag along with the URL of the site. I always opt against this unless it is actually the company name or the brand that I’m more interested on optimizing for. Now as I have a little knowledge about keyword research I would also add the word ‘company’ so that our title tag now looks like the following: “Web Design Company Glasgow” – that’s it, anymore and you begin too dilute the strength of your keyword phrase SEO Glasgow.

Then in the keyword Meta Tag I would reiterate the title tag as is: “Web Design Company Glasgow”- nothing else as this is the phrase that I want to target. I know some SEO guys who completely forget about the Meta keyword tag as they know Google just skips this and goes straight into the content for the search terms. Personally, I like to use it because it’s just not Google I optimise for but all Search Engines.

The Description Tag is just that – it explains what the page is all about – so for this example I would put: “Professional and affordable web design company | YourCompanyName based in Glasgow” – nothing fancy just the right amount to help entice a user to click-through to your page. Notice the pipe bar in the middle of the description – this is a short-cut mode to relay different types of info quickly and effectively in a short sentence.

Our body content is the next stage we turn our attention too. Right at the beginning I would have a H1 tag with the words “Affordable Web Design Company in Glasgow” or something that not only once again holds our keyword phrase but also makes sense to a human reader. If you just code for Search Engine robots or spiders then you may get high rankings but all that effort will be in vain because it’ll just look and read awful to the human eye and they’ll exit as soon as they enter.

By also having your address in the site of your company you can again replicate the location you are trying to optimize for. One or two more mentions of “Web Design” in the content should be enough to suffice. Remember do things naturally – there is such a thing as over-optimizing a page and stuffing keywords every 5 or 6 words apart- this will do you more harm than good and may even get your site penalized.

Finally do some off-page optimizing by submitting your site to a few on-line directories. Some are paid, some are free, some require a link back from your site to theirs (this is called a reciprocal link).

When submitting your site to the directory make the “Title of your Website” in the submission form similar to your localized keyword phrase – “Web Design Company Glasgow” – this is known as having rich keyword anchor text and helps greatly in defining what your site should rank for in the Search Engines.

All in all this is a pretty basic level SEO task. We focus on one search keyword phrase and we localize it to gain a better ranking position. Give it a week or so then check Google, Yahoo or MSN to see if there has been improvement in your SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Positions).

Understand why these small changes have worked and once you see improvement move onto another page and run through the same process with another keyword phrase and so on and so on. At all times never make too many changes as then you’ll never know what is actually working for you or against you.

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