I have worked with some of the largest enterprise companies in the area focusing on their local SEO efforts as well as dealing with complexities that go into building large scale websites in addition to my years in experience helping small to medium sized businesses. What I have learned over the last 20+ years optimizing for clients and in-house as a full time employee is that whether you’re Microsoft trying to capture local searches for you brick and mortar stores, Nordstrom capturing searches for restaurant, cafe, and alteration search in addition to the high fashion you’re known for or the local personal injury attorney in Seattle just trying to get some more business and beat out that other lawyer spending money on scammy SEO and winning. Optimizing for local Seattle SEO searches and large scale local projects for “near me” or travel related things to do is complex, and I have been through it all.
Seattle SEO – Optimizing for Local Searches in Seattle
If you’re a small business owner looking for a top local Seattle SEO consultant it’s difficult to know who you can trust. Making sure that your website is ranked in the local search results is vital to the growth of your business and there are many shady agencies and consultants claiming to be the only Seattle best local SEO consultant. The problem is that most local business owners like you probably are not aware of what local SEO is and how exactly it works. This quick guide will break down the basics and provide a local SEO checklist Seattle business owners can use.
What Local SEO is and Why It’s So Important
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your business website so that it appears in the top results for the local Seattle SEO searches (and other local areas). So if somebody enters “Indian restaurant in Seattle”, the search results will provide a list of Indian restaurants in the city. The challenge is in getting your site ranked on the first page and near the top to generate valuable leads and bring in new customers.
Local SEO is very important because most consumers now look online to look for businesses in their area. They use the search engines to compare businesses, read reviews, and find their business information. Local searches also have very high buying intent. Consumers that make a local business search are very likely to either visit the business the same day or call the business for more information.
Google Patents and Local SEO
My experience in optimizing for local searches includes countless hours of research reading Google’s patents and testing algorithms with enterprise SEO (Groupon.com/local and Nordstrom.com/stores) I have worked on, as well as some testing strategies on my own sites (Vashon-Maury.com). For further reading on a more technical level you can check out my article on Search Engine Journal titled: Local SEO for Enterprise Sites From 2004 to 2019 in which I cover the Authoritative Document Identification Patent and the Merging Search Results Patent.
Optimizing Your Site for “Near Me” Searches
One of the most popular searches that people are making is the “near me” search. For example, users are typing in things like “Chinese restaurants near me” and “dentists near me”. This would bring a list of businesses that are near the user’s area. This is more specific to the location radius around the user as opposed to the city they are in.
My name is Jenn Mathews and I’ve been a SEO expert for over 5 years. As a Seattle SEO consultant, I’ve been seeing this search query being used very often. One of the projects I’ve worked on was for Groupon. They wanted to be the go to website to help people find a wide variety of activities in their city. We managed to get their site ranked for many cities for the page /local/things-to-do. This page customizes the results based on the user location.
Here is a local SEO checklist Seattle businesses can use to rank for this type of search.
- Optimize your Google My Business profile by entering all the essential information about your business (name, phone number, about us, directions, hours, address, photos).
- Make sure that your website is optimized for local search queries that include the city name (ex. Seattle barber shop, barber shop in Seattle, haircut Seattle, etc.).
- Generate strong Google reviews for your local business. Reviews are a big part of the local ranking algorithm, so you cannot ignore them.
- Focus on making your site is mobile friendly. Many of these local searches are made from mobile phones, so you’ll penalize yourself by not optimizing for mobile devices.
Make sure that you claim all your GMB listings if you have multiple locations.
Optimizing Your Site for Specific Local Searches
While I have worked with smaller businesses optimizing a site for local SEO in Seattle considering other common type of search queries that consumers make is a business type in x city. Searches like “Chinese Restaurant in Los Angeles” and “Limo service NY” are good examples. Most local businesses aim to rank for these types of searches. The process of optimizing for these types of searches is fairly straightforward.
We managed to rank for the search term “vacation rentals la paz Mexico” for this page by going through this checklist:
- Build citations by submitting your site’s information on various business directories. It also helps to list on industry specific listings (directory for dentists, ) for more citation value.
- Create high quality content for your landing pages. Ensure that the information relevant to the search query is provided and you communicate value.
- Don’t forget to build links. Because many local businesses have similar citations, you have to generate links from relevant sites in order to get the edge over the competition.
- Try to get reviews on other sites as well like Facebook, Yelp, Zagat, FourSquare (if relevant). While not as important as Google reviews, they still help.
- Do all of the things listed in the previous checklist as they also help for these types of searches as well.
If you’re looking to work with a Seattle SEO consultant to help your business website rank in your city’s local search results, reach out to me today.