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Local SEO 101

As a small business owner, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important to understand and take advantage of. If you want your business to be found locally by your target market, the right SEO practices need to be incorporated into your business marketing strategy. For the majority of business owners, the desire to reach their target audience is a no-brainer. The ultimate goal is to be found by ideal clients, offer services, and receive reimbursement. One of the best ways you can reach a local audience and increase leads is by investing in local SEO.

In a nutshell, SEO helps your business be found by Google. Each page on your website should be about a single topic with relevant text and photos that help explain and describe your services. As Google scans your website, it will pick up on the keywords of each page, determine the relevance of your website compared to what people are searching for, and rank your website pages based on which pages have the best SEO practices incorporated into them.

Cornerstone Web Studio has a team of SEO experts in Portland that have helped local businesses in the Pacific Northwest increase their visibility on Google and grow their companies. Over the years, we have gained a great deal of insight into the best SEO practices for local businesses. These tried and true methods can improve client reach, brand recognition, and overall business growth.

Local SEO Portland, OR

3 Reasons to Invest in Local SEO

At Cornerstone Web Studio, we are often asked why SEO is matters and how SEO can benefit small businesses. Here are the three main reasons why you should pay attention to your website SEO:

1. Google = Modern-Day Yellow Pages
The internet is the preferred tool for all ages when it comes to finding local business services. Gone are the days of flipping through the phone book to find the right company for services such as HVAC maintenance, medical care, legal help, and other needs.

Let’s say you were searching for a web developer in Portland like Cornerstone Web Studio. Rather than thumbing through a phone book, most individuals will jump onto Google and perform a quick search for “web developers near me” or “web designers in Portland.” These searches will bring up local web designers that can offer the exact services you are looking for.

With Google as the new phone book, you can use SEO to make your business visible in online search results. When potential clients in the area search for your particular service, you are more likely to show up on the first page of results if the right SEO strategies are followed.

2. Direct Local Traffic to Your Business
SEO is the best way to direct local traffic and potential clients right to your business website. Without implementing the right SEO practices, you may miss out on business opportunities that will go to your competitors — simply because they are utilizing SEO and you are not.

The good news is, it is never too late to start on SEO. Even if your website is already established, there are things you can do to edit your current content or add to it that will help increase your company’s visibility on Google.

3. Compete with Other Businesses
If Google is your playing field, then SEO is your gameplay strategy. If you want to compete with other local businesses in your area for the top positions on Google, you have to have the right plan of action. SEO does not mean you have to ‘pay to play.’ Rather, you have to show up to the game consistently to play. Outfitting your website with good SEO content will help you compete more effectively with other businesses in your area.
 
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Getting Started with SEO

When starting with SEO, there are five main focuses you should have. Before diving into these tasks yourself, know that SEO specialists have access to web data, tracking tools, and other online resources that most business owners may not. Working with a web development studio that has an in-house SEO expert, like Cornerstone Web Studio, is a great way to take the stress of SEO off of your shoulder and have an experienced team take on the challenge for you.

When you work with our web development company in Portland to increase your SEO, here are the top priorities that will be focused on:

Choosing Keywords

Keywords are the basic building blocks of SEO. Both short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords are important when it comes to being found locally. Long-tailed keywords are especially helpful when it comes to organic search results. Long-tailed keywords are much more specific than short-tailed keywords. For example, a short-tail keyword might include just one or two words, such as “web developer” or “SEO specialist.” Whereas a long-tail keyword might be something like “SEO specialist in Portland” or “web developer in Portland.”

When you work with our SEO specialist in Portland, you can count on personalized research tailored to your industry. The best SEO keywords for your business will be discovered in real-time. Then, the most effective keywords and long-tail keywords will be used to enhance your website content.

Update Google My Business (GMB)

Your Google My Business account needs to be current and active for SEO purposes. You will want to make sure you either create a new business listing or claim an existing listing as your own. Your Google My Business account is a great way to gain customer insights, increase search visibility, help customers find your physical location easily, display useful information for clients, and monitor website traffic.

  • Don’t Forget Citations

    Citations are a directory of your business information. NAPW (name, address, phone, & website) is a helpful acronym that SEO experts use to ensure that all the required information for the consumer is available on a website. Making sure that this information is correct across all platforms is crucial.

    According to Bright Local, 93% of consumers become frustrated by incorrect contact information from businesses, and 80% of consumers will lose trust altogether in a business that has inaccurate or inconsistent contact details. To avoid the loss of potential clients, it is imperative that your website, Google My Business account, and other platforms have the correct business name, address, phone number, and website URL.

    To ensure that your contact information is visible on every page of your website, our web developers at Cornerstone typically place this information in your website’s footer. This allows the content to remain consistent and visible, regardless of which page on your website your future clients might visit.

SEO Portland, OR

Optimize Your Website

Optimizing your website for SEO is where our web developers and SEO experts in Portland can help the most. There is a lot to consider, from blog postings and city pages, to the overall structure of your website. Tailoring your site to be found locally is one of the best SEO practices you can use to increase your website traffic and overall clientele.

According to a Google representative at the 2018 Secrets of Local Search Conference, 46% of all Google searches have local intent. This means that nearly half of all Google searches performed have to do with finding local services or products. Searches that include “near me,” such as “web developer near me” or “SEO specialist near me,” are growing substantially — nearly 150% faster than traditional searches, according to Google.

With this data in mind, it makes sense for small businesses to target local users as much as possible. Here are some of the best SEO tactics to try if you want to optimize your website with local intent in mind:

  • Build Local Service Pages

    When you create content for your website, you want to cater to those searching for “[Your service] near me,” or “[Your service] + {city, state}.” One of the most concise ways to cater to these local searches is by building out city pages. City pages are web pages built for your site that specifically target certain service areas. For example, most Portland businesses will include service pages for Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Tualatin, and other surrounding cities.

    When residents search for your services, their location is automatically tracked by Google. With city pages, the idea is that those in certain cities will easily be able to find your business and land on a page that specifically targets their city and the services they are searching for. Ideally, depending on the structure of your business, you will want to have around 9 to 12 city pages maximum, with each page using the city and your main services as the primary SEO keywords.

  • Regularly Post Updated Content & Blogs

    You have likely heard the phrase ‘Content is King’ while learning about SEO. This is the secret to SEO, even though it is not much of a secret at all. Consistently uploading high-quality content is the most effective strategy for increasing your website’s SEO. Although creating content is straightforward, regularly posting first-rate content is not.

    This is where web developers, content writers, and SEO strategists come into play. Most business owners will hire SEO experts to manage the creation and posting of regular content to help increase their Google rankings over time.

    Fit Small Business perfectly describes the importance of high-quality content for SEO purposes in the following quote:

    “There are no short-cuts with search marketing. People want thoroughly researched, highly-targeted, long-form content. But, that’s not enough. Continuous updates that provide the latest and best information drive significant traffic boosts.”

  • Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

    Even the most spectacular content on your website may go unnoticed if your site is not mobile-friendly. In fact, 63% of Google’s organic search traffic in the United States comes from mobile devices. With the majority of users using their smartphones for searches, your site needs to be optimized for mobile. Otherwise, you may end up hurting your website traffic.

    Our Portland web developers have a great deal of experience optimizing and formatting websites for mobile purposes. When you work with our team, you can always anticipate a beautiful desktop layout for your site, as well as a mobile version that looks and works great on both Apple and Android phones.

  • Request Google Reviews

    Did you know that 91% of consumers state that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business? Although this may seem like an obvious statistic, it speaks to the importance of positive reviews for businesses of all kinds. Google reviews are especially influential, seeing as 63.6% of consumers check Google for business reviews first, compared to just 45% that check Yelp.com and 23% that look to Facebook.

    Our SEO experts at Cornerstone Web Studio recommend that small businesses focus on increasing their number of positive Google reviews as much as possible. This is one of the best SEO practices businesses can follow to increase website traffic and generate additional leads.

  • Track Your Results

    Once you start adding SEO content to your website, you will want to track it. A great way to track how your website is performing is by using Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a valuable tool that offers detailed insights into website traffic volume, real-time analytics, e-commerce reporting, and other applicable marketing information.

SEO services | Portland, OR

Hire a Portland SEO Agency

Proper SEO takes some effort, but it is well worth it. As one of the top SEO companies in Portland, our team at Cornerstone Web Studio is eager to work with small business owners that want to increase their website visibility on Google and generate more client leads by investing in SEO services.

Our web development team helps companies of all sizes increase their web traffic and implement SEO practices that improve their businesses overall. If you are ready to get started with better SEO practices for your business, contact our SEO specialist in Portland, OR today.

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