Local SEO Tips Your Business Needs to be Doing Right Now | SEOblog.com

Local SEO Tips Your Business Needs to be Doing Right Now

Brodey Sheppard
Local SEO Tips Your Business Needs to be Doing Right Now

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Local SEO has forever been a challenge for small businesses. As the industry of internet marketing has grown, more small to medium-sized businesses have been looking at search engine optimization (SEO) agencies to improve their online exposure.

The growing need for SEO in the local business market has highlighted issues such as agencies over-promising and under-delivering and new black hat strategies coming into play.

It’s a sad reality that for most small business owners, the industry of search engine marketing has turned into one of little-to-no results and a high turnover of clients.

“It’s a shame businesses are trusting in these agencies to provide a service that never gets delivered,” said Brodey Sheppard from sitecentre. “It’s six to 12 months before a blindsided customer realizes they have fallen victim.”

Thankfully though, what 90 percent of agencies offer, can be done by any business owner by themselves with little to no experience.

These DIY strategies have proven to provide quick and effective results and it’s unlikely your competition is utilizing them yet. More importantly, you can increase your traffic upwards of 30-40 percent within a week.

Schema Markup

Introducing the fabulous schema.org, an absolute gold mine for local businesses looking to get that extra little boost in rankings. Essentially, schema is designed to help assist in the understanding of the internet. 

Designed to help “structure data” in an easy-to-read format in which search engines can very quickly identify the contents of a page.

Technically, this is “code” but don’t let that scare you away, this small easy-to-modify code is quickly added to any website and offers unreal results instantly.

To make your life easier, I’ve even added samples that you can easily modify for your business. If that’s too hard, I’ll add some resources at the end to where you can generate similar code using a form.

Although there are a lot of schemas available supported by Google, we have reported the most significant increase by using the following:

  1. LocalBusiness
  2. FAQ
  3. Product

I’ll cover each individually, and show you how to combine them, and finally, test them before publishing.

1. Local Business

LocalBusiness Schema is a physical business or branch of an organization. Technically, if you’re a brick-and-mortar retail store or a service-based business, this is the schema for you. LocalBusiness is categorized into even more specific business types like plumber, electrician and florist. Here is a complete list of LocalBusiness types.

I’m going to use the structure of florist in my example, if you cannot find your specific industry in the list, choose one that matches it closely or play it safe and the original LocalBusiness.

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

{

“@context”: “https://schema.org”,

“@type”: “Florist”,

“name”: “Stacies Place”,

“address”: {

“@type”: “PostalAddress”,

“streetAddress”: “123 Fake Street”,

“addressLocality”: “New York City”,

“addressRegion”: “NY”,

“postalCode”: “212”

},

“image”: “https://example/image.jpg”,

“email”: “[email protected]”,

“telePhone”: “123 456 464”,

“url”: “https://example.com/”,

“paymentAccepted”: [ “cash”, “credit card”, “invoice” ],

“openingHours”: “Mo,Tu,We,Th,Fr 09:00-17:00”,

“openingHoursSpecification”: [ {

“@type”: “OpeningHoursSpecification”,

“dayOfWeek”: [

“Monday”,

“Tuesday”,

“Wednesday”,

“Thursday”,

“Friday”

],

“opens”: “09:00”,

“closes”: “17:00”

} ],

“geo”: {

“@type”: “GeoCoordinates”,

“latitude”: “40.712775”,

“longitude”: “-74.005973”

},

“priceRange”:”$$”

}

</script>

Where I have the word “Florist” next to @type you simply replace with your closest matching industry type. The rest is simple. Update the name, address, email, website and image as well as your opening hours in the format above.

The latitude, and longitude can be tricky to find. So here is a tool for that.

The priceRange is simple a 1-5 scale from affordable being $, to expensive being $$$$$. 

2. FAQ

FAQ schema is a lot easier, it’s a question and an answer. You can find a code sample here if ours doesn’t provide enough information.

{

  “@context”: “https://schema.org”,

  “@type”: “FAQPage”,

  “mainEntity”: [{

    “@type”: “Question”,

    “name”: “How long do flowers last in the sun?”,

    “acceptedAnswer”: {

      “@type”: “Answer”,

      “text”: “This greatly depends on a number of factors from the breed, to how much water the flower is designed to have.”

    }

  }, {

    “@type”: “Question”,

    “name”: “What is a bouquet”,

    “acceptedAnswer”: {

      “@type”: “Answer”,

      “text”: “A bouquet of flowers is a fancy word for a bunch of flowers.”

    }

  }

    ]

  }

Key things to note here is to be generic, don’t advertise yourself or make it promotional. If you do, the schema won’t show. If you keep it generic you’ll get more clicks and they will end up on your website with all your information at their fingertips. It’s important to note, this schema should be unique for each page and shouldn’t be added to every page.

We recommend doing between four to eight questions and answers around your industry.

See the schema in action:

3. Product

Product schema might not make sense for your business, but we will use it because as of February 2020. It’s the only way to get the star rating under your organic results.

This is what the product schema looks like if setup correctly:

product schema mobile

It looks even better on mobile:

product schema mobile

The added real estate gained by adding this schema is of enormous value, the more real estate you can take up on a search result, the better your click-through rate is going to be.

The schema looks something like this:

   “@type”:”Product”,

   “url”:”https://fixedtoday.com.au/suburbs/castle-hill#Product”,

   “name”:”Castle Hill Plumbing”,

   “description”:”Fixed Today Is The Plumber Castle Hill Residents & Businesses Trust Most. Contact Your Local Plumber On 1800 349 338, Local Leading Castle Hill, 2154 Plumbers.”,

   “category”:”Plumbing”,

 “image”:”https://fixedtoday.com.au/templates/fixed-today/assets/images/suburbs/castle-hill.jpg”,

   “brand”:{ 

      “@type”:”Thing”,

      “name”:”Fixed Today Plumbing”

   },

   “aggregateRating”:{ 

      “@type”:”AggregateRating”,

      “ratingValue”:”4.8″,

      “reviewCount”:”79″,

      “worstRating”:”1″,

      “bestRating”:”5″

   },

   “offers”:{ 

      “@type”:”AggregateOffer”,

      “url”:”https://fixedtoday.com.au/suburbs/castle-hill”,

      “priceCurrency”:”AUD”,

      “price”:”From $49″,

      “lowPrice”:”49″,

      “priceValidUntil”:”2022-12-31″,

      “availability”:”https://schema.org/InStock”,

      “seller”:{ 

         “@type”:”Organization”,

         “name”:”Fixed Today Plumbing”

      }

   }

}

That is the exact schema seen on the screenshots. This will throw warnings in testing. However, those are warnings are not to be confused with errors. These warnings are completely fine.

Important to note: Price can only be numbers, a currency symbol is incorrect formatting. Make sure your URLs and ratings are all accurate. Do not fake your ratings, use real reviews or you could face a manual action.

Pro Tip: To get the image showing on mobile make sure the image is seen above the fold after one or two paragraphs of text and ensure the image is either 16:9, 4:3 or 1:1 — you can calculate those here. It’s also important to add a link to it in the schema.

Combining Multiple Schemas on a Page

You’ll be showing off to the local SEO agencies trying to compete against you with this gem.

If you’re using multiple schemas on a single page, it’s important not to use a <script type=”application/ld+json”> for each one. They can be combined using a graph. For this code to work, it’s advised to have it within the <head> of your code. If you’re using WordPress, you can just add this into your page content and it’ll work as well.

You’ll need to wrap the code in this tag:

<script type=”application/ld+json”></script>

In order to comebine you would do the following:

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

{

“@context”: “https://schema.org”,

“@graph”: [

{

“@type”: “Florist”,

}, {

 “@type”: “FAQPage”,

 …

 …

}, {

“@type”:”Product”,

}

]

}

</script>

 

Noting the last schema doesn’t end in a comma and the @context isn’t repeated for each one as it’s included above the graph.

Testing and Troubleshooting

Testing your schema is easy. Simply go here and paste your code into the editor and click test. It could not be easier but the errors outputted can be less than helpful. More or less, it identifies where the issue is, not what it is.

To help you identify why, take a look below.

If you’re experiencing issues with your testing, the most common issues are:

  • You have used a double quote in your text — If you need to use a double quote, slash it out first. See: This is how I would \”slash\” out double quotes. This makes it useable.
  • The last instance of something has a comma — Notice the last instance of item in the code, if it has a commas. It’ll most likely throw an error.
  • You have forgotten to update a value from the code snippet provided resulting in incorrect data.

Increase Branded Search Terms

There is no doubt Google and Bing love brands. A search engines’ job is to show the best result to the query asked, if you can somehow answer the query in the best way possible, you’ll ultimately get the first position.

When a brand is searched for often and most times answers the user’s intent, it increases that brand’s trust authority. This is then passed on to all of the website’s inner pages and impacts keyword rankings.

This method is extremely powerful, but a lot harder to achieve.

Methods we have found that work really well is running TV or radio ads and instead of telling people to go to our website, our call-to-action is “Google _____ us today”. Believe it or not, TV and Radio ads are not dead; they still play a huge role in marketing and generate impressive results.

This can be implemented into your social media strategy. Ask your customers to leave you a review by simply Googling your business name and clicking ‘leave a review’. You’ll have a slightly higher drop-off rate resulting in fewer reviews, but you get the branded search query.

Website Performance

Increased and optimized website performance is not a new idea; there’s been a massive push from search engines to encourage developers to look for ways to provide better performance. Google has lead many developments in this space from their AMP project to their lighthouse page speed optimizations and, more recently, the introduction of webp

Sitecentre started implementing performance improvements to all clients’ sites and noticed a direct correlation between performance and ranking. The quicker we could get content on a website, the better we would rank. This led us to restructure our development process and find new ways to bring page load times down.

Although most of these are very technical, most of the crucial actions can be easily completed. The three most significant causes for slow loading websites are images, caching, and un-optimized scripts.

Optimize Images

Optimizing images is easy, simply use one of the tools below:

Upload your images, download the optimized version and use these on your website. Our preference is kraken.io simply because we can download all files and folders, upload them as a ZIP and download them within their correct structure ready to be uploaded to replace old files. However, TinyPNG seems to do a better job of optimizing.

Use a CDN

CDN is short for content delivery network, put simply, it’ll serve your images, css, js and fonts from a server closest to wherever your traffic is viewing from saving time in delivery.

CDN’s also offer caching, which allows the browser to store a localized version of your website to load other pages quicker and more efficiently. 

We use two services for this:

Cloudflare is great, it’s free and offers great security, SSL and helps dynamically optimize assets. These include CSS, JS and HTML to deliver smaller-sized files. Imagekit is also free and useful for dynamically optimizing images, serving them in webp format, and allowing you to scale them down. Both are easy to install, and both offer world-class customer support to help you get started. 

Optimize Scripts

Cloudflare does a great job of compressing your files, but they don’t optimize them. Optimization is the combining of multiple compatible scripts into one, in turn reducing the Http requests required by the browser. Although this requires a developers’ know-how, if you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of plugins that can help optimize your scripts. Consider plugins like WP Rocket, Autooptimse and WP Cache.

Extras Tips

  1. Reduce above the fold padding and wasted space – by reducing padding and blank space, you can position important content above the fold. This helps with dwell time and search engines show positive signals when doing so.
  2. Remove over-optimized internal links to the home page – if you’re using internal links in pages and blogs that link a primary keyword to your home page, remove all of them. These look spammy and add no value to the user, negatively impacting your rankings.
  3. Geotag your images to your local area – after optimizing images, upload them to geoimage.app and tag a location to the image. This adds a small code snippet to the image, sending local signals.
  4. Update old articles and pages – if you run a blog or have a lot of pages, go through every page and make small adjustments. Check spelling and add a paragraph or two to show the content as fresh and up-to-date.
  5. Use emojis in your title and description. Two we notice work well are: 🥇☎️️ This boosts your CTR, which ultimately helps with rank.

Hopefully, this article has helped you glean a better understanding of how to implement SEO. These simple yet effective local SEO tips are all proven to increase your position and give you an edge over your competition in any industry.

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