A website needs promotion, marketing, means investment; however, local businesses find it difficult to stand strong because of the budget constraints putting a hurdle in way of marketing. It is not easy to determine the exact ROI with genuine SEO efforts. Google’s algorithm changes like Panda and Penguin have made higher rankings a difficult-to-attain dream. Some people, like Neil Patel, are saying content marketing is a powerful strategy to impress Google and ignoring that means annoying Google.
In real, there is more to explore in SEO for local businesses than content marketing. This post will reveal few strategies to stand strong at Google’s ranking ladder and among other SEO Dubai rivals while catering to the needs of local customers.
- Go For Content Alternatives
It seems obvious that people will prefer linking, sharing, or talking about the appealing content they found at a website. Editorial links are food for Google, but company story or sales pitches are not going to win over those editorial links.
Other alternatives of content are utilities, games, and communities. The actual goal here is not the compelling content, but providing users with something engaging and entertaining.
If your target audience is having a problem, you can offer an app to help solving that. Although, it is an expensive venture to build an app than to write a blog post, but blog maintenance needs more resources than building an online tool.
Running an online forum is also more effective than having a website blog because the first option will help building online community, discussing about your business.
- A Big ‘NO’ For Exact Match In Domain Name
Many website owners and SEO pros (if they are not updated with Google) think using exact keyword in the main website URL will help ranking; it is killing. Google has tackled this issue very seriously. Using exact match domain names means annoying Google. A decent brand name can go well to impress search engines for top ranks.
For example, GO-Gulf.ae has not used its main keyword web design Dubai as domain name, instead GO-Gulf, its brand name is used, which is impressive. Business names are catchier to invite visitors and appear prominently in search results. Like, for any queries made with product name, there would be long listings from Amazon in Google SERPS. Here is what Matt Cutts have to say about domain name.
- Build Responsive Websites
Website usability and design help attracting the site visitors at first. Responsive web designs are what Google gives importance to when ranking. Users usually want the most relevant information at a website, particularly when they are using a smart device to access internet. Providing them useless details means forcing them to leave your site. Simple and to the point information should be there in responsive websites. Do run usability tests to determine whether the site is working smoothly on diverse range of smart devices. Customers look for following things at a responsive website:
- Product listings along with price tags
- Visible contact information
- Easy to fill contact form
Although, users may look for blog, community, testimonials, consumer reviews, certifications, etc., but these should not occupy enough space at the landing page. Avoid using photo galleries, business history, and events because these will be less interesting for the site users.
- On Page SEO
For local businesses, on page SEO is still important. Decide about the target keywords. Long tail keywords are better to use. Use Keyword Planner to explore relevant local keywords having high traffic volume and city name with the. Optimize titles, Meta description, heading tags, and images, see GO-Gulf Metas as example where Dubai and UAE is used with keyword. It is recommended to add city / country with the keywords that makes it easier to rank and help you to target only specific location. Improve upon the page load time, which is critical to grab top ranks at Google while making the site user-friendly at the same time.
- Google+ Business Listings
To get top ranks in local Google search results, you need to have business listings in Google+. It will help being shown up in Google Maps. Google+ listings and reviews will help you becoming prominent in local search results. Have a look at Google+ presence of Go-Gulf.ae. The page is adorned with infographic, contact information, review summary, write a review option, etc. Stronger Google+ presence means impressing Google to grant good ranks for your local business.
- Consistent Local Citations
Local citations means you are publishing your business name, contact number, and address over World Wide Web. If your citations are from some authoritative place, you will see a prominent visibility in local search results as well as in Google Maps. Ensure consistent local citations to avoid the messed up information about your location in Google Maps.
- Realistic Customer Reviews
For top local search rankings, realistic reviews from real customers are of utmost importance. Encourage your business customers to post reviews on social platforms like Google+, Yelp, Foursquare, and other places. Reviews on Google+ could be embedded on your website. It will divert more visitors to your site and encourage more reviews.
- Social Media Power
Other than Google+, having a strong presence on different social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, etc., can help local businesses to flourish. Go-gulf.ae has an interesting infographic about social media usage in Middle East. Keep the audience engaged on these social channels. Build communities over there, which could be a powerful approach to grab business and attract customers. Use visual updates on social channels because these have higher chances of being shared.
Switching from content marketing to enhanced website usability, community building, and implementing local SEO strategies can help winning over the right return on investment.
How are you dealing with your local business? Any experience or useful information to share? Feel free to use the comments section below!