Digital strategy revolves around three key goals to increase awareness, traffic, and conversions. Everything you do online should aim for those three things.
Strategically, local SEO tools are not complicated. It only boils down to two key areas:
- The quality of the content and
- The quality of the experience.
But tactically, it can be a little more complicated.
So in an attempt to simplify things, here’s a high-level look at a few tactics. Not an exhaustive list, but some of the things I do that you can do to start.
It’s pretty much a given nowadays that speed has major impacts on SEO. But it also can affect engagement, conversions, and sales. For a business with ecommerce, an extra second in loading time can translate into thousands if not millions in lost revenue.
But for a professional like you, it often translates into missed lead opportunities, lower user engagement, and above all, poor credibility. A slow site impacts how people perceive you, and people won’t share your content or refer others if they feel your site is slow.
If your website is on WordPress, you have the ability to make your life easier with SEO plugins like Rank Math (the one I use) and Yoast.
These plugins save you a lot of time because they add important meta-data to your page, including titles, schema markup, internal link suggestions, 404 monitoring, breadcrumbs links, sitemaps that Google understands, and more.
To extoll all the virtues of using SEO plugins would take me forever. Just know that you can leave it to the plugin to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.
Schema Markup is truly the quintessential optimization tool because it helps Google understand the context of your content (your content’s intent), and matches it with the user’s search intent.
Is it a blog post, news, a book, a recipe, etc? Is it a how-to tutorial or just a new release? That’s where schema comes in.
The SEO plugins mentioned earlier add article schema. But you can also add:
- FAQ Schema (questions people ask and your answers)
- Business Schema (details indicating you’re a real business)
- Product / Service Schema (details about what you provide)
- Author Schema (important for professionals, see next section)
You’ve seen “about the author” resource box at the bottom of articles. They are indicators of credibility, i.e., that the article was written or reviewed by an expert.
Why is this important? Because Google specifically looks for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT). Adding an author box lets your users know that the content is credible.
But adding author schema lets Google know, too.
Don’t go overboard with these short bios. You can add as much as you want on your about page, and you can link to it. But keep these author resource boxes to a couple of paragraphs and no more.
“Fake news” is such an overused term these days, but it’s imperative, as a professional, that you ensure your content is reliable and trustworthy.
Since Google wants to give its users useful information, they want to make sure any claims your content makes are true. They do this within the search results to a large extent, but you can also use some fact-checking tools to verify the veracity of your content.
More important, you can add Schema Markup to indicate you’ve done so.
Internal links are important. But external links help, too, such as providing additional information, further reading, and references to information pulled from other sources.
The key is not to overfill your content with links (or “link stuffing”). Just look for natural linking opportunities. If there’s another article that supports something you wrote, or that shows it’s relevant and further supports your point, link to it — be it internal or external.
If there’s one thing that both Google and users hate, it’s dead links. They inhibit user experience. So make sure to keep your links relevant, working, and direct (not redirects). Use online tools to help clean broken links and prevent link rot.
Your content should be fresh and evergreen. But it should also be timely and helpful in a modern context, too. Many professionals have seen considerable bumps in rankings if their content provides first-hand expertise.
For example, say you’re searching for financial advice due to the recent pandemic lockdowns. Would you rather read an article by a content writer who has done great research, or a chartered accountant who has worked with thousands of affected businesses?
Think of ways to demonstrate timely, real-life expertise in your content. Review existing content too, especially your most important articles, and infuse them with updated, real-world scenarios and solutions in them.
Your contact page is a key asset. It’s obvious that your forms should be functional, simple, and easy to use, particularly on mobile devices. But what’s not obvious is your contact information and how it relates to SEO.
Your contact information needs schema markup, too. The key is to make sure it matches with your contact info everywhere else.
Your “NAP Profile” (i.e., name, address, and phone number) should be consistent across all channels. In other words, all three have to be exactly the same on other directories, platforms (like social media), and search engines.
Places like Google My Business, Google Maps, Yelp, Trip Advisor, BBB, and professional- or industry-based directories should have the same NAP profile. This also includes your WHOIS information — the contact information for your domain name.
If your contact information on your contact page doesn’t match other directories, including your WHOIS record, it weakens your credibility and may cost you rankings.
There you have it.
These are only a handful of things you can do to improve your SEO. There are lots more, but I’ll save those for future articles.