In this post, we bring in Thomas Eder of Sawgrass Digital Marketing to explain 7 different ways you can use local SEO to drive more leads to your website. He covers the traditional ways most marketers utilize SEO traffic and also includes a few methods you may not have considered before. If growth is your goal, this is a great resource.
If you own or operate a business that sells to the local market you are uniquely aware of how important it is to stay competitive, especially in crowded locales like Las Vegas. In a world full of options, consumer loyalty isn’t as high as it used to be and your competitors are always in the running to impress upon your customers and shift their attention.
To compound the issue consumers are shopping for and evaluating products and services in a much different fashion than they did 10 years ago. Consumers have unprecedented access to information, reviews, and pricing that just wasn’t available a few short years ago. These consumers often shop with convenience in mind, choosing to contact the most visible of businesses online instead of digging deep to evaluate lesser known service providers.
In reality success with online marketing in today’s climate, especially in the local area comes down to your level of visibility amongst the competition. SEO provides that visibility and gives you an opportunity to introduce your brand and sell your solutions to the market. Every win (i.e. sale) starts out as an opportunity and if you aren’t generating a suitable number of opportunities you can’t expect to win.
You need to show up if you want to win the game and ranking your website in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo is a great start.
Consider it this way, SEO is the first impression. It’s a handshake and a hello that begins the relationship with a customer and the more relationships you can start the more people you can convert from shoppers into the customer. Today I’m going to examine 7 ways you can position yourself with SEO to spark more conversations that lead to the sales.
When most people think of or refer to search engine optimization they are referencing organic rankings. Organic rankings are typically the main traffic driver amongst the other ranking types. In the SERP or search engine results page there are a number of places to rank a website, most notably the organic and maps rankings, which I’ll cover in the next section.
The organic rankings are the 10 links below the map results. The map results aren’t always included in the SERP and the organic rankings might be below some PPC or paid advertising results. It depends on the location and search term. Typically, the organic rankings will see the highest click-through rate (CTR) on the page and a number one ranking in the organic search results has an approximate CTR of 30%. All these factor combine to make an organic ranking a highly lucrative position for any local business.
Map rankings typically appear above the organic results and below the PPC advertisements. Within the Google search engine, the map results are displayed in a three pack sometimes referred to as the map pack. A map ranking is particularly useful for local service providers like HVAC, plumbing, or legal services. Consumers like to do business with companies that are highly rated, close to home, and convenient to connect with. The added benefit of the clickable website link, star rating, and phone call button for mobile makes map rankings a knockout punch when it comes to capturing online interest.
Mobile rankings are the third type of the group of three and are treated as a specific, unique type of ranking with its own factors to consider. It’s important to understand that just because your website ranks well organically or in maps doesn’t mean you’ll rank well in the mobile search results. Search engines like Google actively filter out the websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, ensuring a quality browsing experience for searchers. Mobile searches comprise nearly 60% of all searches on the web, therefore it pays to have this in order if you wish to stay competitive.
Schema is structured markup based microdata that makes it easier for search engines to parse and understand the data on your website. The topic of schema can extend far and wide but for the purpose of driving clicks and visits I want to touch on the aggregate review attribute of schema. The aggregate review attribute allows you to associate a star rating with a specific page on your website. This star rating both in quantity and quality should mirror the reviews you’ve received on your Google My Business page. When implemented correctly the gold stars will appear below your link in the SERP making your link a more attractive option. Properly implemented schema and the subsequent star rating you receive in the SERP can be responsible for a generous increase in clicks.
This technique is vastly underutilized and when implemented properly can double your organic traffic overnight. In the SERP you are presented with three key pieces of information for each position. These are the title, URL, and meta description (and schema based star rating if you implemented the above) and these three pieces of information are your only opportunity to convince a searcher to click your link instead of the competitions. This is where some skillful copywriting comes in handy. The best way to get a handle on your current CTR for a given keyword is with Google’s Search Console, formerly known as Webmaster Tools. Within the dashboard, you’ll be able to see your rankings, impressions, CTR and other helpful information.
If a ranking with a 0.5 or 1% CTR can be improved to a 2-3% CTR it can blow up your traffic overnight. My personal rule is to focus on and improve the copy in all rankings that have a CTR less than 5%. This is a really easy practice to implement that will yield great results.
If you don’t already have Google Analytics setup on your website you need to implement this ASAP. The information and data you can gather is absolutely invaluable and allows you to make educated decisions when it comes to improving the content of your website.
This technique involves the analysis of your most popular content and the best way to get this information is to drill down using the behavior section of your analytics dashboard. Within you can drill down and determine which pages or pieces of content are receiving the most traffic. Once you have this information you can begin to actively improve those pages or create similar pieces of content. Knowing how your customers enter your site, consume information, and move about your pages gives you the edge you need to create irresistible pieces of content thereby increasing your overall traffic.
Keyword domination is an approach that comes at the problem of traffic generation from both sides. More often than not business owners will focus on the big money high traffic keywords with a damaging level of tunnel vision. These big traffic keywords should be the cornerstone of your SEO strategy but not the entire strategy in of itself.
I recommend also paying attention to the low-hanging fruit we refer to as “long tail” keywords. These are longer search phrases that are typically hyper-specific, meaning the searcher is looking for something and they know exactly what they are after. This signals a high level of intent and means this type of searcher is likely to make a purchase or decision in the near future. The benefit of this strategy is that long tail keywords are often very easy to rank for because they have lower traffic and lower competition for the term. The lower traffic doesn’t mean they are bad search terms to rank for, it just means that they haven’t been flooded with competition.
Thomas Eder is the Founder of Sawgrass Digital Marketing a traffic and conversions focused digital marketing agency. He posts resources and content for marketers on his Facebook page. You can also find him on twitter @thom_eder and YouTube.