5 Local SEO Tips to Beat the Competition

by on July 15, 2013 · 8 comments

Increase SEO Ranking

As the years tick by, Google increases its emphasis on local search. Staying ahead of your competition with quality search engine optimization (SEO) has never been more important to secure your slice of the market. Here are 5 steps the discerning entrepreneur can take from the comfort of her or his own office to stay ahead of the competition.

1. Seeding Positive Mentions and Reviews
Review websites are holding increasing weight in local SEO. Take the initiative and look for niche relevant websites to generate positive buzz around your brand and company.

Google is the best starting point here. Punch in keywords to the effect of “yourcompanynichehere review”, experimenting with variations. The results will give you some websites where you can publish a five-star review and probably even score a backlink. For example, we entered the following into Google and these were results.

Keyword used: “local carpenter reviews”
Result examples: http://www.mybuilder.com and http://www.ratedpeople.com

Keyword used: “estate agents review site”
Result examples: http://www.allagents.co.uk/ and http://www.agent-tracker.co.uk/

Remember, don’t add too many of these in a short space of time as it looks as unnatural to the search engines as it will to the people who see your 10 five-star reviews posted in two weeks.

2. Stay on Top of Your Web Presence
It’s important to keep on top of how you’re being portrayed on the web to ensure potential customers are not faced with incorrect information. Too many small businesses leave things to chance or allow information to get out of date when they move office or change contact details.

Tools such as Yext.com are an invaluable resource for checking such information and it’s Powerlistings Network Scan feature will check 50 of the top review sites, apps and search engines to make sure information is current and up-to-date.

3. Improve Your Website Loading Speed
It’s a lesser-known fact that Google cares about how quick your website loads. The major search engine doesn’t want its customers waiting ice ages for their results so make sure your website is fast. Here’s a three-step process to follow:

  1. Use services to check your website speed like Gmetrix and Pingdom
  2. If the website does load slowly, consult your Webmaster about streamlining code or other loading speed issues
  3. In many instances, people have unnecessarily large image files (such as JPEGs or PNGs) on the homepage. If possible, check the file sizes and see if you can reduce them without losing image quality.

4. Scope out and Nab Your Competitor’s Juicy Links
Another little-known SEO tactic is “link mining” whereby you check up on the backlink profiles of your competition. See their back links, ascertain whether you can contact the owner of the website and put up a review, guest post or other link of your own. Great tools for the job are:

  1. http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/
  2. https://ahrefs.com/index.php
  3. http://www.backlinkwatch.com/

Again, remember not to do too many at one time. This practice can be a little tedious, but it will prove very profitable in the long run.

5. Start a High-Quality Niche Relevant Blog
It’s no longer a secret that Google is out to get the best content on the web and those that provide it will secure themselves a lucrative spot on the front page. Give away industry insider tips and other reasons for people to keep returning to the site and give share social signals. Other effective blogging strategies include:

  1. Breakdowns of market research statistics
  2. Analysis on up-to-date industry relevant news
  3. Quizzes and competitions

If you or anyone in the company has not done any blogging before, set aside an afternoon to do research and some great guides and strategies on what works well to capture the attention of your audience as well as the search engines.

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Jacob Puhl is Cofounder of Firegang Digital Marketing, a local SEO, web design and digital marketing agency for small businesses. To contact Jacob, email jacobpuhl at firegang.com

Jacob has written 1 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael - SEO St. Charles July 23, 2013 at 6:46 am

Thank you for your tips! Page speed can be a big factor in people coming and leaving. People want to be on a site where everything will load instantly. No one wants to sit and wait for it to load. Also I agree when you say keep your content up to date.

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Kelsey July 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Good tips about the online review searches. I should start doing that for my businesses.

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R. Anthony Rodil Solis July 30, 2013 at 10:29 am

For #3 – I would highly recommend moving away from a basic, shared hosting platform to a virtual server. It is more expensive but if your website is critical to your business, well worth it. You will improve performance and security instantly.

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Dustin August 5, 2013 at 2:20 am

I also found this interesting article where it explained a local keyword phrase. A local keyword phrase is generally one or two words combined with location that are used by advertisers in search engine optimization, or by visitors who are using search engines in a desire to find information based on that particular local phrase. For example, an advertiser that provides local plumbing services might use “Plumber Morristown, NJ” as a local keyword phrase to draw more visitors interested in the topic. On the other hand, visitors to a search engine looking to hire local plumber would also use the keyword phrase “Plumber Morristown, NJ” in the search engine, which would then match the local keyword phrase with websites like that of the advertiser that mention the same local keyword phrase. http://www.geoseo.net conducts market research and local keyword research to determine the best targets for your website visitors. While you may have a list of twenty local keywords that you want to target, you must consider each as a separate campaign. Why?
It’s really simple; search engines like Google rank pages and you need to give them what they want to rank your page. To give them what they want you must provide the content that they’re looking for and send enough links to your pages to let the search engines know they are relevant and important.
And, never forget the local customer. It does you no good for a local search term if your content doesn’t include location you serve. Please watch video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v
Note: search keyword phrases that are used in Meta Tags content are no longer frequently used by search engines to index pages. Major search engines such as Google no longer look for keyword phrases in the Meta Tags, and are more apt to use the information within the actual text of the web page. Listing the local keyword phrases in the in Meta Tags does not do any harm though, but is completely up to the website to whether they will use local keyword phrases in the in Meta Tags content.

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SEO Consulting services UK August 6, 2013 at 11:33 am

Your post has lots of nice SEO tips which are very useful for SEO newbie. They can learn more to get rank by visiting such an informative post. Thanks for sharing!

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Joe August 24, 2013 at 8:59 am

Most small business owners do not have the time to keep up with all the changes that are going on with search engines. The problem I find is finding an SEO company that understands the needs of a small business. A business owner usually knows what types of markets they need to target but aren’t sure how to do so. SEO companies do not have the knowledge of a business owners business. They want to do the same generic optimization for every company. I think that is the reason most small business owners decide to try to do their own SEO. I watch other companies in my industry rise to the top and wonder what they are doing and what they know that I do not. As much research as I’ve done I still cannot find answers to how to get over the hump.

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kenn mags December 18, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Thanks for the very helpful tips. A lot of ways to help improve local SEO. Thanks.

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Michelle Hummel April 15, 2014 at 12:18 am

Thanks Jacob for sharing useful post. The idea of link mining is really great and could be an effective way to beat the competitors.

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