Local SEO: Benefits, Pitfalls, and Strategies

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Local SEO: Benefits, Pitfalls, and Strategies At Off Osborn, we know that getting started with a local SEO campaign can be intimidating. One common question that business owners ask is whether local SEO campaigns are worth the investments in time and cost. In this whitepaper, we will review the benefits of local SEO campaigns and the success factors that incentivize numerous business owners to invest their resources into SEO. We will also look at the pitfalls that can cause local SEO campaigns to fail, and the strategies that you should implement to watch out for and avoid those pitfalls.

Benefits of Local SEO Campaigns A well-conducted local SEO campaign can bring immense benefits to business owners. These benefits include visibility among quality web traffic, reduced or eliminated ad spend, competitive advantages, and much more! Let’s break down the benefits you can get.

Benefit 1: Gaining Access to High-Quality Traffic Search traffic is inbound traffic, meaning that it is traffic that needs what you have to offer, searches for you, and finds you. Inbound traffic coming from your SEO efforts searching for your services will be much more effective for your business goals than seeking outbound traffic that may or may not need or care about your services. Search traffic is centered on the customer’s wants and needs and on what the customer is interested in spending money on. You do not need to convince prospective customers that they will need to buy your products or services if you reach them with SEO.

Benefit 2: Reducing or Eliminating Ad Spend Organic search engine results are based entirely on whatever the search engine algorithm determines to be the best results for a particular query. As you create your web pages and submit them to Google and other relevant search engines, they are automatically evaluated for relevancy, completeness, quality, and a number of other factors by artificial intelligence webpage crawlers run by search engines. Researching, writing the high-quality content, and crafting the multimedia that is needed to make a page rank for a target term requires investment of time and resources. However, once you have made that initial investment into the content for your webpage, your ongoing costs will simply be upkeep costs to maintain your rankings. Because of this, you can reduce or even eliminate ad spend that drives traffic to that particular page.

Benefit 3: Getting Higher Clicks than PPC According to Google, over 70% of searches result in clicks on organic results and not on paid ads, even though the top 3 paid ad spots appear above organic search results. While this statistic may seem counterintuitive at first, the reality is that users tend to place greater trust in search engine algorithms to deliver the best content than they do in advertisers to deliver the best results. Because the majority of clicks go to organic search results, investing in getting these clicks opens up the biggest opportunities for digital client acquisition. Do some quick math: if 70% of clicks go to the top 3 organic search results in Google and if 250 people per month in your area are searching one of your best keywords, an SEO campaign to rank just on that keyword will get you in front of 175 more people every month.

Benefit 4: Improving Conversion Rates As long as your website maintains a top position in organic search rankings, you get much-improved conversion rates. When people see a site that performs well in organic search, they tend to assume, rightly or wrongly, that the business with that website is one of the best businesses in their area. Because of this, potential customers become more familiar with your name, your brand, your products, and your services. Even if that customer declines to purchase from you now, they are significantly more likely to purchase from you in the future.

Benefit 5: Lowering Lead Generation Costs When you have acquired one of the top spots in Google, you no longer have a pressing need to pay per click or otherwise advertise in order to attract new customers. This, in turn, can cause the long-term costs of customer acquisition to drop by 50% or more over time. Pay-per-click costs are recurring, and the cost per click will inevitably rise as more businesses get started and launch PPC campaigns and join in the competition for clicks. Although SEO work does come with ongoing maintenance expenses, the recurring costs of SEO work are substantially lower than those of maintaining even the best-optimized PPC campaigns. At Off Osborn, we have extensive experience running highly optimized PPC campaigns as well. Because our PPC campaigns are optimized so well, they overperform just about every other PPC campaign we see in that we deliver the most conversions per ad spend dollar. However, the results of a great local SEO campaign will always dramatically outperform even the best PPC campaign that we can run, from an ongoing cost standpoint.

Benefit 6: Establishing Your Credibility By getting first, second, or even a third-place ranking in organic search results, you will be seen in your community as one of the top players in your industry. You will get the customers who do extensive research before buying, who read all of the content that they can find, and who will then decide that you are their best option. They will hire you, and will be easy sells. In most cases, these customer relationships are bound to go well, and will build your reputation in the community. If you ask nicely, these same customers will likely leave you great reviews, further building your SEO advantages and social proof for the long game!

Benefit 7: Enhancing Your Mobile-Friendliness Because so much of today’s search traffic has moved online, especially due to COVID-19, search engines have become increasingly concerned with evaluating the mobile-friendliness of the user experience as a ranking factor for your website. While websites are built on desktop computers and while traditional website builders are generally focused only on making your website look good and run fast in a browser running on a desktop or laptop computer, search engines are prioritizing the overall performance of your site’s mobile appearance as a stronger ranking factor than its desktop appearance, since more and more Internet searching is happening on smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices. If you are concerned that your web developer might have neglected the overall look, feel, and performance of the mobile version of your site, then an SEO campaign will be a good way to address this. SEO experts are great at optimizing websites for the best appearance possible on mobile devices, enabling you to fix two problems in your business with one solution!

Benefit 8: Improving Your Online User Experience To have a successful digital client acquisition program, the first thing that you need is a positive online experience for your prospective clients. Creating a top-notch experience whenever a prospective client opens an email, browses your website, or stumbles across your social media is imperative to the success of your local SEO campaign. Maybe these are areas where your business already excels, or maybe you have competition that is offering prospective clients a better online digital experience than you are. These are things that a comprehensive SEO audit will look at, and that a comprehensive local SEO campaign will seek to fix. A good SEO company will offer these services as part of their SEO service package, so if you are already aware of deficiencies in your company’s online presence, talk about that with your SEO experts. They will work with you to correct these problems with the latest technologies that not only solve these problems but also deliver on task efficiency and ease-of-use goals for those who run your ongoing administrative functions of your business.

Summary A well-run SEO campaign can bring tremendous results and supercharge the growth of your business. Your competition is most likely already running some type of local SEO campaign or trying to build his rankings or social proof in some way. SEO works, and business owners everywhere are jumping on it and are reaping the benefits.

Looking to Get Started? At Off Osborn, we know that the learning curve for local SEO can be daunting. The benefits of local SEO are huge, but unfortunately, the biggest risks come from making beginner mistakes against experienced competition. Whether you choose to use Off Osborn as your home for your SEO campaign or whether you consult us for advice for your campaign, our experts are here to help. Call us at at 1 (888) 830-5020 or visit us at offosborn.com to schedule a free consultation today!

Pitfalls to Avoid in Local SEO Campaigns Unfortunately, as with anything, there are also pitfalls to running local SEO campaigns. We are calling them pitfalls instead of risks, because all of these major issues are well-known and well-documented in the SEO industry, and to seasoned professionals like us, the solutions are readily apparent. Preparation is important for success. If you are aware of and anticipate these potential pitfalls before they hit you, you can avoid them.

Pitfall 1: Creating Unintentional Duplicate Content Duplicate content on websites earns penalties from search engines, but unfortunately, most duplicate content out there is unintentional. Unintentional duplicate content can happen for a variety of reasons, and can be generated several ways. How does this happen? Sometimes, inexperienced webmasters accidentally create page duplicates of HTTP pages when implementing SSL certificates while attempting to deploy secure HTTPS pages, instead of redirecting the HTTP protocol to the HTTPS protocol. Other times, webmasters make mistakes with URL parameterization and replicate an existing page or blog post without realizing it. In many website content management systems, this is a fairly easy mistake to make but a hard one to detect, but it will still burn you. Google will see both pages, and cannot make sense out of having 2 pages that say the same things, unless one page is noindexed, removed, or canonicalized. Another big mistake comes in mistakenly leaving website CMS templates published. If your website CMS comes with default “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet” text or a “Hello world” page or something like that that is possible for users to find on a published page, get rid of it. Occasionally, an SEO campaign will unearth content that was copied verbatim from other websites. That content needs to be rewritten to avoid Google’s plagiarism penalties. Google is adept at detecting online plagiarism, and its internal algorithms record who wrote the text first so that copycats can be penalized. Thankfully, many local SEO tools like Screaming Frog, Moz Crawl, Link Sleuth, Copyscape, Semrush, and AHrefs can detect and pinpoint all of these duplicate page content problems so that they can be fixed. An experienced SEO professional is good at spotting these issues and fixing them quickly!

Pitfall 2: Creating Bad Backlinks When Link-Building Link-building is important in SEO, but not all backlinks are good backlinks that will improve your SEO performance. Backlinks must come from relevant pages to be helpful, and not from link farms or spammy websites. While good backlinks improve your rankings, bad backlinks will hurt your rankings. You can avoid this pitfall by gathering your backlink data from your SEO backlinks tools and by looking for backlinks that look unnatural. Once you identify any unnatural backlinks, reach out manually to the webmasters of those websites to request removal of those backlinks. Additionally, we recommend using Google’s link disavow tool to register a text record of backlinks that you disavow with Google. Experienced SEO professionals are good at identifying and disavowing bad backlinks. Your SEO audit should include a list of your top backlinks and flag ones that appear problematic.

Pitfall 3: Over-Optimizing Target Keywords Sometimes, people new to SEO make a big pitfall: They integrate all of their target keywords across all of their pages. They think that by putting all of their keywords into their webpage, they will get more attention from Google and other search engines somehow. In reality, all that this does is confuse search engine providers. Google and other search engines need to display the most relevant information about that keyword to users. Their algorithms need to scan a webpage and understand what keyword that particular webpage is targeting. In effect, trying to rank a single webpage for multiple keywords will ensure that that particular webpage does not end up ranking for anything. Local SEO experts often start by mapping out which webpages on a website should match which keywords that the website should rank for. While this map may seem trivial or unnecessary at first, it will avoid over-optimization of webpage content.

Pitfall 4: Ignoring Page and Site Load Time Issues Google and other search engines all track hundreds of ranking factors that they use to evaluate the performance of every website they consider for placement in search engine results. While page load time is one of these factors, it is a factor that factors into numerous other factors as well. For example, users will not stick around a website that loads slowly, which will also lower Google’s rankings of page usability as well. Users who do not stick around a website for long increase the bounce rates, which is another parameter that Google tracks. Page load times can be optimized in a wide variety of ways. SEO experts can spot numerous opportunities to optimize images, set up caching, remove unnecessary plugins, reduce redirects, minify CSS, remove unnecessary HTML, and more to bring down page load time problems.

Pitfall 5: Neglecting Page Title Tags Title tags are usually the most important single ranking factor for a particular webpage. The title tag is the text that appears when a webpage is shared on social media or appears on a search engine results page. Sometimes, people write title tags that are too long. Typically, title tags must meet 2 requirements: they must be 60 characters or fewer, and the title text must not exceed 580 pixels of width in the Google Sans font, which is the font that Google search engine results display in. Title tags that exceed these limitations are usually penalized, because these pages have to be truncated by search engines and social media sites to fit within industry-standard constraints. Additional companies may implement additional pixel width requirements, although Google’s pixel width requirements have become the generally accepted international standard. In WordPress, virtually any free or paid SEO plugin will allow you to check your page title tags to see if they are compliant with the standards published by Google, Facebook, and other search providers and social media platforms. These tools make proper title tag design relatively easy. In general, a good SEO strategy is to make sure that your limited space in your title tag goes to your keyword for that page. Your title tag should be your “headline” that tells Google, social media sites, and users exactly what your page is about.

Pitfall 6: Neglecting Page Meta Descriptions The page meta description plays a similar role to the page title tag, in that it is displayed in the search results page as a summary of the information that is available on your webpage. Interestingly, the descriptions that go into meta tags are often some of the most overlooked components of a webpage’s SEO. Frequently, a meta description will be empty and Google or Facebook will simply lift text from the webpage that may or may not be relevant, and then truncate it to fit. Like title tags, meta descriptions need to comply with two length parameters in order to not get truncated or penalized by Google. Meta tags cannot exceed 160 characters or 920 pixels in their total length. In general, tools that check and help you optimize title tags will also check page meta descriptions for compliance and offer mockups of SERP appearance as well.

Pitfall 7: Failing to Optimize Image Alt Tags Image optimization is vital to your SEO strategy, but images are much harder for search engine algorithms to scan and understand than text. While the artificial intelligence and pattern recognition algorithms that search engines use to understand images are constantly improving, they are far from foolproof. Search engines continue to remain reliant on older approaches to understanding images, and despite what some people are saying, alt tags continue to remain an important ranking factor in the ranking algorithm. Image alt tags are the text tags that accompany images in the user’s browser, and may be shown in place of images if a user has a slow Internet connection or if a user is visually impaired and uses an audio screen reader to browse the Internet. Not only does consistent creation of image alt tags help Google understand your images, it also improves your ranking factors measuring your friendliness to users with disabilities.

Pitfall 8: Failing to Name Images or Implement WEBP Additionally, image filenames need to be descriptive and formatted correctly. Image filenames are read and ranked by search engines, and filenames that are not descriptive or that contain spaces or special characters will be penalized by search engines, and may not load correctly in browsers. Additionally, many websites are converting images from traditional JPG and PNG formats to a new WEBP format, which is a new compressed image format that is specifically designed for significantly faster transmission across the Internet into WEBP-compatible browsers (basically, every modern browser now). If your website is not making your images available in the new WEBP format, then your website will be considered outdated by Google and will probably load images significantly slower than your competition’s websites.

Pitfall 9: Misfocusing Your Keywords If a primary keyword in your title tag does not match the keywords in your H1 heading, then your keywords are misfocused. Search engines scan the H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 tags to evaluate the overall outline of your pages. You should only have one H1 tag, which is the first heading on your page. If you have multiple H1 tags, or if your H1 tag does not closely mimic your title tag, your keywords will be misfocused. Webpages with misfocused keywords will be penalized and will be unlikely to appear in search results, but are easy for SEO professionals to spot and fix.

Pitfall 10: Misunderstanding Your Target Audience Regardless of how you approach your digital client acquisition process, you need to understand what your target audience looks like and what they would want from a business like yours. Local SEO must understand and match the voice of the customer in order to achieve success goals. It is easy to think that you understand your prospective customers well enough to know what they want and expect of a business website in your area. However, it is easy to misunderstand people’s expectations, especially since people’s expectations change over time as technology advances and as websites become more sophisticated. If you do not know what people in your area would expect to find on a website for a business like yours, do some basic user experience research. This does not need to be an expensive hassle; it can be as simple as getting some friends and family together and asking them for their understanding of what they would expect to see on a website for your type of business. Then, show them your website, and ask them what they like about it, what they dislike about it, and what they would want to add to it. If you do not do at least some voice of the customer research, you will have a hard time understanding your target audience. If you miss the mark on your website design, do not expect search engine rankings to be easily obtainable, especially in competitive search markets.

Pitfall 11: Neglecting Long-Tail Keywords Users often look for very specific information on very specific topics. When planning PPC campaigns, we often refer to these very specific keywords that these users come up with and search for as “long-tail keywords” and prioritize ad spend on these keywords because they easily convert to sales. In local SEO, we can only identify and gain rankings in the top organic search results for long-tail keywords when we build and optimize pages and content for them. Prospective customers want to be confident that you know what you are talking about and doing, so if you just focus on creating content and optimizing for primary keywords, you run the risk of not being seen as a full expert in your business if you are not also building content for the long-tail keywords in your area of business.

Pitfall 12: Getting Out Of Sync With Your Website Even when you know your audience, have completed your voice of customer analysis, and have created content for your long-tail keywords, there is still another pitfall that you can fall into. If you do not have a business strategy that brings together your product, your IT, and your customer service with your website and your SEO, you will hurt yourself. Customers expect your business to match the quality of what they see on your website. If your IT is unreliable in some way or if you are not prepared to manage and serve your customers, your website and SEO will fail to convert into actionable sales and revenue. If your products and services are inconsistent with what users expect to get after reviewing your website, your customers will be upset. If your customer service providers do not treat your customers or your prospects with the professionalism and courtesy that they would expect from browsing your website, you will need to let them go. Prospects and customers have expectations, and if those expectations are not satisfied at every turn, they will be unhappy with your entire company. If pain points for prospects and customers are not identified and eliminated, your SEO campaign will not deliver the business growth and client acquisition results that you want.

Pitfall 13: Deviating From Your Professional SEO Audit Roadmap Your professional SEO audit is your roadmap to success in your digital marketing endeavors. A good SEO audit should be professionally crafted and should contain your strategy for the success of your local SEO campaign. If you overlook steps in your SEO campaign, skip certain things, or do certain tasks in the wrong way or in the wrong order (such as creating backlinks before finishing your onpage SEO work or building your local citations), you risk being flagged by Google or other search engines for suspicious activity. Google and other search engine providers like to see work being done in certain ways. They want to see that you are providing good, high-quality content to users before you start doing things to compete for search rankings. At Off Osborn, we know from experience what works and what fails, and in what order SEO work needs to happen. Skipping work tasks to “come back to that task later” or jumping ahead because “I wanted to get that thing done now” will come back to bite you.

Pitfall 14: Not Vetting Your SEO Professionals At Off Osborn, we are well aware that numerous individuals in emerging countries like India, Pakistan, Russia, Indonesia, or China are selling SEO services on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. While there are some legitimate SEO experts on these platforms who have the expertise to do decent work, there are also plenty of people unfamiliar with how search engines operate in developed areas of the world who are offering their services at what might appear to be bargain prices. Unless you have vetted these individuals to see how well they understand search engines in your area, you will get poor-quality work that you will have to pay to have fixed later by a professional SEO company like Off Osborn. For example, Chinese SEOs are generally pretty knowledgeable about Baidu and Russian SEOs are generally pretty knowledgeable about Yandex, which are both popular government-run search engines in their respective countries. However, search engines in developed countries are operated by private companies. Although various government regulations may apply, regulatory changes rarely impact legitimately earned SEO rankings. Private search engines will only be popular among users if users are confident that they will get quality search results. Consequently, companies like Google live and die by the quality of the search results that their sophisticated algorithms output to their users. On the other hand, Yandex’s algorithms will elevate sites in search rankings with lots of backlinks, regardless of how spammy the backlinks may be. Baidu rankings are easily susceptible to click-through rate manipulation by bots. Google and other private search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo are designed to not be susceptible to these and other black-hat SEO spamming tricks. However, the impacts go further. Because Google and other private search engines distrust search engines like Baidu, Yandex, and others with known major algorithmic flaws, Google will penalize your website if they find you ranking on those sites. Quite simply, Google assumes that your rankings on those sites were not earned legitimately and will flag your site as a suspicious foreign site. At Off Osborn, we have fixed low rankings originating from improperly done work by SEOs in foreign countries before. Fixing these issues are a challenge, even for our experienced team of SEO experts. However, no matter what we do, fixing these issues when they emerge is often a substantial cost to us that we have to pass along to you as our client, and unfortunately, these bills can get pricey. Save yourself money and only hire legitimate SEO experts based in your country.

Pitfall 15: Creating the Wrong Types or Quality of Content Designing the content that will go on your webpages is a bit tricky, and often requires careful planning. You have to know your audience. You probably already know that different generations browse the Internet differently. Younger generations engage most readily with content that is clean, minimalist, and interactive. They are assertive of their status as buyers, and demand upfront and transparent pricing for goods, experiences, or services, even if service providers in that industry do not traditionally offer upfront pricing. Older generations that may be more technologically challenged will prefer content that is thoroughly informative, easy-to-read, and easy-to-use. These users are more likely to want a phone number to write down and call later, or the ability to print out the content they find to return to it later. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that users of different races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, and even sexual orientations browse the Internet and make buying decisions with statistically significant variations in their expectations. Americans browse the Internet with different expectations than Europeans, since Europeans tend to expect websites to show prominent privacy notices while Americans tend to be suspicious of the intentions of websites showing prominent privacy notices. In the United States, Caucasians, Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and other minority groups have all been proven to browse and shop websites differently with differing expectations. LGBTQ+ individuals tend to browse websites looking for subtle clues showing LGBT-friendliness, inclusion, and pronoun usage. Most businesses are diverse enterprises that serve users across all or most of these populations. Consequently, they need to figure out how to craft a web presence that brings all of these relevant expectations together. While some user-friendliness missteps are inevitable and can be corrected as they are discovered, major content creation mistakes rooted in a lack of regard for all types of prospective customers in the audience can limit business opportunities and harm your local SEO campaign.

Pitfall 16: Neglecting Internal Linking In local SEO, internal linking matters. Each page on your site should link back to your homepage, and should contain links to other important pages on your website. As search engine crawlers traverse your website, they are trying to create an overall idea of the general layout of your website. Internal links serve as a way for Google and other search engines to figure out where your content is at and to determine which pages are more important than others. By interlinking your content in ways that make sense, users remain on your website for longer. Not only does this reduce your bounce rate, but it helps search engine algorithms better understand and evaluate your content and your overall website structure. Search engines seek to establish a hierarchy of importance among the pages and blog posts on your site. To get this hierarchy to prioritize the most important pages, a local SEO expert will give the most important pages and posts more links, and more prominent links. Simply implementing a good internal linking strategy can improve your local SEO performance. Do not expect the links in your website’s header or footer to count toward your internal links. Since headers and footers generally appear on every page, their links and content is often completely ignored by search engine crawlers. Focus on ensuring that your internal links appear naturally throughout your website, and are positioned where they make sense both to users and to search engine algorithms.

Pitfall 17: Overlooking Indexability Issues If for some reason Google or other search engines are unable to index a page on your website, that page will not appear in search results. Pages may fail to index for any number of reasons, such as blocked slugs, missing pages, broken links, improper redirects, or server issues. Usually, these issues are fairly easy to spot and fix. Google Search Console offers an easy-to-use tool for tracking and fixing these issues as they happen. By registering your website with Google Search Console, you can even sign up for email notifications of indexing issues and their respective causes, enabling you to implement quick indexability fixes with minimal impacts to your SEO performance.

Pitfall 18: Failing To Implement Schemas and Structured Data Congratulations on dodging these 17 previous pitfalls that can be the undoing of your local SEO campaign! Unfortunately, there’s another pitfall waiting for you just down the road. In recent years, Google and other search engine providers have defined structured data set formats called schemas that they have come to rely on for quickly and easily analyzing website content for their algorithms. These schemas provide the structured data formats that you see on search results pages, especially in question answers, shopping product listings, and other data formats. There are numerous types of schemas available that can be applied to your page. As of this writing, the documentation of the different schemas that can be found on schema.org, the official website that contains the technical documentation of the different types of schemas available, consists of 779 schema types. These schema types are currently composed of 1390 properties, 15 data types, 81 enumerations, and 437 enumeration members. New schema types are added fairly frequently, and existing schema types sometimes receive new properties. If your website currently does not implement schemas, your SEO expert will read through your content and will determine which of these schema types are relevant and will then implement that schema type. This will ensure that your data is structured so as to be easily readable to search engines.

Summary We remember when we were new to local SEO campaigns, and we know how stressful they can be when you are first getting started with them. We know what these pitfalls are and how to solve them, because we have seen these mistakes made countless times now. By being aware of these pitfalls before you start a local SEO campaign, you will be better poised for success.

Avoiding Common Local SEO Pitfalls Hopefully, this all made sense and helped clear up some of the causes of the most common local SEO pitfalls, but if not, we have the local SEO expertise you need at Off Osborn. Whether you choose to hire us to professionally manage your local SEO campaign for optimal results or whether you plan to use us as SEO consultants, our experts are here to help and have the answers that you need for your campaign. Call us at 1 (888) 830-5020 or visit us at offosborn.com to get started!

Success Strategies for Local SEO Campaigns While dodging the potholes in the road will keep you from blowing your tires on the journey to the local SEO successes that you are envisioning, you need to have a roadmap to success to get to your goals. Here, we will look at the success strategies that the most successful local SEO campaigns employ.

Success Strategy 1: Define Your Budget First Start by knowing what your budget for your local SEO campaign will look like and by figuring out what you can do with that budget. SEO campaigns require money for purchasing SEO tools and for outsourcing any work tasks that you do not wish to do yourself. Without a defined budget, your SEO campaign will struggle to set and achieve goals. If you have not yet gotten on a call with Off Osborn to discuss how you would like to run an SEO campaign or to forecast the approximate costs and returns that a local SEO campaign can yield, set up your free phone call with Off Osborn. We are happy to help you go through this part of the local SEO planning process for free!

Success Strategy 2: Brainstorm and Research Your Keywords Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm a list of keywords that are relevant to the searches that you would like your website to appear on. These keywords will be your list of initial seed keywords. For example, a plumber might start by writing down a list of keywords like plumbing, water heater replacement, toilet repair, garbage disposal repair, water pressure repair, emergency plumber, pipe unclogging, and so on. For a local SEO campaign, you will need to have a high-quality page with content relevant to and optimized specifically for each of those keywords that you want to rank for. Then, that list of seed keywords will then become the basis for a comprehensive analysis of keywords to find the best keywords to target and rank for. To achieve this, we then use keyword planning tools to get lists of related keywords. The Google ads campaign manager has a free AdWords Keyword Planner research tool inside its platform that you can use for this task, even if you are not interested in running a PPC campaign.

Success Strategy 3: Structure and Organize Your Keywords Simply having a list of keywords from Google is unfortunately not enough. You will then need to go through that list of hundreds (or even thousands) of related keywords manually, to sift the good keywords from the bad ones. Your best keywords will be specific and will show an intent to buy. They will perform well in a local SEO campaign. For example, our plumber will definitely want to keep a keyword like “emergency plumber near me” in his/her campaign. Other keywords, on the other hand, will be nonspecific or research-based and will not convert well into paying customers and should be eliminated from your list. Our same plumber would not want to target a keyword like “how to fix a clogged garbage disposal” from his/her keyword list, since it is clearly a research-based keyword. When you finish organizing your keyword list, you should have a solid list of keywords that will deliver results in a local SEO campaign.

Success Strategy 4: Analyze Google’s First Page For Ideas What search results appear when you search for the keywords that you have just decided to target? Scan the first page of results and take note of what you find. Are the results informational? What types of data are presented? Is there a 3-pack of nearby map results? Are the top hits mostly informational? Is there an expandable list of “people also ask” questions and short answers? Are products displayed for sale? By answering these questions for each of the search terms that you wish to target, you will gain some insights into your strongest competition for those top spots. For example, the types of structured data that you see will tell you what schemas you will need to implement on your page to also be considered for a top ranking. The content on the web pages that are ranking give you ideas for how you can design page content that will raise the bar. If there are map results, you now can compare your Google My Business listing to the listings that appear in the 3-pack for ideas on how your listing can outperform. And if your competitors are selling products that are being featured, what are you selling? Take notes on whatever ideas pop into your mind for how you can up your game to match and outperform what your competitors are doing. By knowing what they are doing, you can know what you will need to do to outperform them.

Success Strategy 5: Create and Test Compelling Web Pages Once you have your ideas for each of your keywords, you need to focus on creating compelling webpages that will outperform. Google will not move your page up ahead of your competitors’ pages if your webpage does not clearly outperform their pages. And be sure that you not only create the page content needed to rank, but that you also create the relevant schemas so that Google can find it whenever they come back to and crawl your site. Once you have created your new webpages, test each one to see how users respond to it. Put together a focus group that looks like your target audience. Your focus group should consist of individuals willing to give you honest feedback on your webpages. Test out your webpages on them, and ask them what they like, what they dislike, and what they would like to learn more about. Perform A/B tests between different versions of the webpages to see what gets better feedback. Repeat the process as often as necessary until you have the most compelling and informative web pages possible.

Success Strategy 6: Have a Powerful and Relevant Call to Action As you have read through this document, you have probably noticed the occasional gray boxes where we remind you that Off Osborn is here to help you run your local SEO campaign and offer our expertise and resources. If you have seen our website, you probably already knew that we offer local SEO services, but these gray boxes throughout this document are examples of calls to action. Calls to action exist to remind users why they are looking at your content, and how your content can solve their problem. Each of your pages should have a prominent call to action that users can easily see and complete with minimal effort. If we think back to our plumber that we talked about earlier, his web pages should have a web form that users can easily fill out, a phone number that users can click to call, and a chatbot that users can easily interact and engage with. That way, the plumber can go from simply providing information to the public to earning people’s business.

Success Strategy 7: Build Your Citations and Social Profiles Congratulations! At this point, you have finished your onsite SEO and you know that your onpage content is at least competitive with your strongest competition’s content. Better yet, you are an overachiever, and you have come up with and tested and validated content that is better than your competition’s in every conceivable way. Are you done with your SEO campaign at this point? Unfortunately, you still have a lot of work ahead. First, you need to build citations and social media profiles for your business across the Internet. You will likely need to build hundreds of profiles on all sorts of website directories all across the Internet. Your business needs to have a consistent name, phone number, URL, address, and website link across every directory site. Google and other search engines expect business owners to work to get their name out there on just about every conceivable web platform, and if you have not done this, Google will probably not regard you as a legitimate business. Unfortunately, creating all of these citations and social profiles is going to be tedious. To make this easy, Off Osborn has developed ways to build out the hundreds of these citations that are needed at affordable price points that will save you this work. Be sure to contact us for details on our citation and social profile building services.

Success Strategy 8: Build Your Backlinks Once your citations and social profiles are done, you still have a lot more work ahead. Each of your competition’s sites have backlinks, and you will need to use your backlink-finding tools to try to find these. Then, you will need to get as many backlinks from the same sites that your competition got their backlinks from while also going to the next level and attracting more backlinks to your content. To do this, you will need to reach out to these webmasters and ask for opportunities to give them guest posts. Typically, bloggers will be happy to take original blog content from you for a new post on their website in exchange for linking back to your site as long as you pay them a small fee or give a favor. Of course, these fees and favors can and will add up, as link-building is expensive. Off Osborn has worked hard to reduce the costs of backlink acquisition to make this part of the SEO process as affordable as possible. Eventually, all of this will add up, and your page will move to the top rankings.

Success Strategy 9: Get Your Act Together What happens in your business when someone fills out your webform or your chatbot on your website asking for a quote? What happens in your business when your phone rings? Are you seeing unusual differences in closing rates from phone calls, webforms, or chatbots? How good are your quote request followup processes? Are there any gaps in your back office processes that need to be fixed? In the case of our plumber, if someone has an emergency water leak and clicks on our plumber’s ad and calls for a repair at some odd hour of the morning, is there a 24/7 answering service contractor in place that can take that call, schedule an appointment, and close the deal? Also, are you tracking your office’s sales closing rates from phone calls, chatbot engagements, and webform submissions? If you are not, now is the time to start. Make sure that your staff is competent, prepared, and trained to handle the influx of new leads from your ad campaigns. Ensure that you and your staff are prepared to succeed at closing jobs as they come in, and that there are no problems in your business model.

Summary We hope that this document gave you the tools, understanding, and resources that you need to be successful with your local SEO campaign. You have to understand what the benefits that a properly conducted local SEO campaign can bring to your business, what the potential pitfalls are, how to avoid the most common pitfalls, and how to be successful. At Off Osborn, we are experienced in local SEO projects and are rooting for your success. We would love to be a part of your journey to business growth. Feel free to call us anytime at 1 (888) 830-5020 or visit us at offosborn.com to book a consultation on our calendar!

Achieving Local SEO Success Keep this guide handy as you continue to plan for your local SEO campaign. Creating a solid local SEO campaign is a complex process, and while many things can go wrong, you can avoid the pitfalls and achieve success with the proper planning and foresight. Off Osborn has the expertise you need to achieve success in your local SEO campaigns, and our experts are happy to assist. Call us anytime at 1 (888) 830-5020 or visit us at offosborn.com to schedule a free consultation!

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