There are actually two different sets of SEO strategies that are commonly used to help drive search engine traffic to your website: off-page and on-page. Both are critically important to your success, and a weak or ineffective effort in one area will seriously limit your results in the other.
Off-page SEO focuses on those activities that are external to your website, and rely in part on your skills at interacting with third parties for successful fulfillment. Off-page techniques typically include inbound link building, generating local citations from relevant directories and other authority websites, and attracting social media signals.
On-page SEO, on the other hand, is completely under your control and consists of those techniques that are implemented directly on your site in order to make your web pages more visible and relevant to the search engines for your targeted keywords.
How to Improve Your Local Rankings with a Properly Optimized Website
1. Optimize the Title Tag for Each of Your Web Pages.
A correctly optimized title tag will provide the search engines as well as prospective customers with an accurate description of what your page is all about, and is probably one of the most important on-page ranking factors for local search. For best results, limit your titles to no more than 50 characters. Place the primary keyword that you wish to rank for as close to the beginning of the title as possible, and be sure to include the appropriate geographic term for your location or service area.
2. Offer Truly Useful and Relevant Content.
Your prospects expect it and the search engines demand it. From their perspective, your website is there to provide helpful information that answers questions and solves problems. Ignore this and you probably won’t even get the chance to make your sales pitch. How do you determine what’s useful and relevant? Listen and make note of the type of questions your current customers are asking – in your store as well as on the various social media channels.
3. Include a Call to Action in Your Meta Descriptions.
Meta descriptions provide a thumbnail idea of what search users can expect to find on your web page. You can increase the number of search users who click through to your page if you include a compelling call to action offer.
4. Include Your Targeted Keywords in Your Content But Don’t Overdo It.
Mindlessly stuffing your content with keywords will annoy your readers and earn you a penalty from the search engines. Keywords need to appear naturally in your content to keep everybody happy; once in your article headline and no more than three times in your body copy is a good ratio to aim for.
5. Include Your NAP Information on Each Web Page.
NAP is web shorthand for name, address, and phone number, and should appear in the footer at the bottom of each page. This is important if Google is to recognize your site as a local business and give you the visibility for local search terms that you’re entitled to.
6. Include an ALT Tag for All Images on Your Website.
Google’s indexing robots only read text not photos, so be sure to write a brief descriptive tag for every image displayed on your website. Users will also appreciate ALT tags if they’re not able to view your images because of a slow Internet connection or a visual impairment.
7. Get Your Website Mobile Friendly.
There are now more searches being made on mobile devices than on desktop. If your site does not display well for mobile users, Google will penalize you by not displaying your site for mobile search – which cuts your business off from more than 50 percent of all search traffic. Take advantage of Google’s free mobile friendly test tool to check your site for mobile friendliness.