SEO. What is it? For starters, it stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. Maybe this clarifies what SEO is…or maybe you’re even more confused! Don’t worry, the team at Cornell Studios are here to help. We help lots of local businesses by boosting their business rankings and improving their websites – all without the technical jargon. Therefore, in this post we are going to explain exactly what SEO is, the strategies involved, and how local SEO can work a treat for your business.
It will come as no surprise to you that the majority of searches on Google are local. People want to know about the area surrounding them. If they need something fixed, they are going to want to find the closest repair shop. If they want a coffee, they want to know where the closest coffee shop is. Therefore, if you are a local business, it is vital that your company is appearing when people are searching online for local businesses to support. The first step to do this is through local SEO.
Let’s unpack first how Google works (for Google is the search engine that the majority of people use). When a potential customer is searching for something, let’s say ‘Thai restaurant near me’, the first results that come up are called a ‘snack pack’ and will show a map of your surrounding area, followed by a small selection of businesses that match your query. The results that follow this are known as ‘organic’ results. Users are most likely to click on the results that are at the top of the page, so the point of SEO is to get Google picking up your business and ranking it as close to number 1 as possible.
The first two steps to helping this process, is to make sure your business is ‘owned’ on Google. This allows you to make sure the address, telephone number and opening hours are all correct. When you have claimed your business on Google, it will boost your rankings as Google can trust that your information is correct and reliable for customers. The second step to boosting your local SEO rankings is to make sure your website is optimised for mobile. A huge percentage of search engine queries are now from mobile devices. Your website is not going to perform well if it is not optimised for mobile. Therefore, ask your website provider to ensure your website is optimised for both pc searches and mobile phone searches.
The next important step in SEO strategy is keyword research. This is carried out by a digital marketing expert who will be able to give you all the keywords people search for when searching for businesses like yours. For example, if people are looking for a local coffee shop, they may be searching ‘how long to walk’ there, or ‘what is the phone number’ of said business. Using keywords are vital for all content (we even did it for this blog post!), so it is worthwhile spending some time making sure the language and words you choose are maximising your SEO efforts. This is an easy step for a digital marketing team, who can effortlessly research keywords your competitors are using and ensure your content is up to scratch. It is important to note you shouldn’t overuse words that users are searching for, this is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and Google can pick it up a mile away. The best approach to take when using your keywords is to remember that the people searching Google for your business are human…so talk to them like humans.
The next step is accuracy: all details must be correct on your website. This means correct phone number, correct email address, correct opening hours – and of course, correct address. This allows Google to accurately show where you are on the map, and your details will appear when people find you online. This is particularly important for mobile searches, as people can then tap on your phone number straight away to call you, or they can simply click on the map to get directions straight to your door.
While you are ensuring all details on your website are up to date, on-page SEO can be improved also. This means keywords in H1, keywords in URLS, to-the-point meta descriptions and alt-tags for all images. To put it simply, Google needs to see very, very clearly that your business is exactly what it claims to be, with no confusion. When your website is being built, your design team should be taking into account SEO optimisation and your digital marketing team can run a fine-tooth comb through all content to ensure it is optimised. Here at Cornell Studios, we are happy to run an SEO audit for your website to take a look at how your business can be further optimised and raise your local search results.
The last step to take for SEO is link-building. To further build your credibility on search engines, you will want to gather back-links from other websites. This means that other companies are mentioning your business. You can do this through a series of steps: by ensuring your business is mentioned on local business listings and business directories. You can also reach out to other reputable sites to request an exchange of links. Link-building is one of the most time-consuming aspects of SEO, as it is important the links you are gathering are from reputable sources that will show search engines you are a credible business.
You should also link your website to your company’s social media accounts. It’s important to show Google that you are relevant and actively producing content. A great way to do this is through social media, where you can regularly update your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Another wonderful way of creating content is through a blog. We always recommend a blog or news section for our client websites: this is a space where they can easily share company news and updates, while also benefitting their SEO.
We’re working with lots of business throughout Northern Ireland and beyond to help them rank for local searches. If you want more information on how you can up your SEO game and boost your business rankings, we would love to hear from you. Our small but mighty team are experts in what they do and love nothing more than helping local businesses. So, get in touch today via the contact section on our website.