Google made a lot of updates to its search algorithm in 2014, and 2015 won’t be without a whole new set of changes. But until those new changes actually happen, we can predict which online trends will weigh most heavily on organic search, including local, mobile, and social media. Here are our top SEO tips for local businesses as we head into 2015.
Have a Mobile Website
How does your website behave in mobile search? It’s important to look at your site on a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet to see what consumers see. If what you see is a very unfriendly mobile website, you are not only creating a poor experience for your visitors, but your site may not show up in search results at all. Optimizing your website so that it is either responsive or mobile is now a major part of how your site shows up in search results. And if your site isn’t mobile ready, Google warns users that they will be redirected to a website’s home page instead of the page with the information they were searching for. We can only see this trend of penalizing websites continue into the New Year.
If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, it’s time to invest in one. A responsive site is ideal so all your content is visible to search engines and people across devices. But, you can start with a separate mobile website to help on-the-go searchers find and contact your business.
Include Local Information
There are many types of content on your website where you should add local information and keywords that help boost your traffic from organic search results. In addition to your contact information (which should be present on every page), you can create a specific page for your location(s) or service area(s), add testimonials and reviews with local information about the customer or project, write blog posts about local events such as community involvement or an industry trade show, or share interviews with local influencers or experts.
It’s important to only include localized content where it naturally makes sense and without keyword-stuffing your website. And, remember to optimize the metadata on your pages and blog posts with local keywords, too, so search engines can more easily surface your website when local consumers search.
Building your brand and content on social media is a valuable way to help local consumers find your business when they search. It’s important when setting up your social pages to optimize them with your business name and local information and keywords.
Once your pages are setup, regularly posting engaging content like videos, blog posts, and special offers with links back to your website can help others discover your business, visit your site, and even contact you, helping you get even more traffic and sales. And, social signals such as likes and shares can signal to search engines that your website is relevant to your industry and local area, helping boost your site’s SEO.
Optimize Your Listings
Local listings have gained favor in how your business performs in local SEO, and will continue to do so. This is especially true now that Google’s local search results feature directory sites like Yelp and Yellow Pages alongside Google Maps results. So, if you haven’t claimed or optimized your listings yet, there’s a good chance they could appear to local searchers with inaccurate or missing information – which could be detrimental to your business.
To see what your listings show, you can Google your own business name, or you can utilize a local listings service that checks your listings in just a few minutes and helps you optimize them all. Make sure the top listings for your business are claimed and optimized so your business shows up in organic search engine results, maps listings, and mobile app searches. Plus, having these listings consistent with one another and with your website can boost your overall visibility across all local search results.
Measure True ROI
In 2015, knowing the return you’re getting from SEO will continue to go beyond a simple measure of page rank for a specific set of keywords. Today and in the future, knowing how many true conversions and customers your SEO program is driving will help you determine its effectiveness and make adjustments that help you get even more from your efforts.
However, setting up a modern SEO program to drive real value can be a complicated process. But doing so is an important step to ensure you can measure true ROI and know how many leads, customers, and sales are coming form organic search results.
So, in 2015, it’s important to focus on setting up your SEO program the right way so you can both improve how search engines rank your business (despite any changes that will inevitably take place) and most importantly, effectively track it all the way to the sale and know exactly what you’re getting from your investment.
What trends do you think will impact local SEO in 2015? Let us know in a comment.