The Importance of Keywords in Your Local SEO Marketing Plan


In case you had any doubts about the importance of Google to the success of your SEM (Search Engine Marketing) plan and your efforts to be effective with local SEO (Search Engine Optimization), consider this: as of early 2017 Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day.

“Googling” has become an integral part of consumers’ purchasing process and as a result, has created intense competition for placement on that all-important first SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Local SEO Web Design

Having a website is no longer enough to grow your business. In today’s competitive online world, you have to make sure your website is showing up when customers are searching.

If your business has a local address and needs local customers, you must optimize for local search.

Local SEO is a procedure for optimizing your website to help it display more prominently in the local SERPs on Google. (For this article, we will talk about non-paid or organic search results, not pay-per-click {PPC}.)

Google typically displays ten results for local businesses when someone searches. What gets listed? You and your competitors. What can you do to distinguish yourself?

The foundation that supports a successful local SEO program is keywords, the word or phrase people type into a search engine when they want to search for something. Keywords form the basis for all SEO strategies.

AdWords KeyWord Planner

Google gives you a free Keyword Plannerhttps://adwords.google.com/keywordplanner

Follow the link and click “start.” (Although this is the starting point for a Google ad words campaign, Google lets you access their keywords generator for free. You don’t have to enter anything in this form to continue.) Go to Step #2, scroll down to “Keywords.” Then type in a word or phrase that you think people would use when they search for you. The tool will provide a list of associated keywords with information about the number of searches done for each keyword per month.

You can also use the Auto-Complete feature of Google to find popular keywords for your business. Auto-complete shows the words and phrases other people have used as they typed into a search box. These can be a valuable source for keyword ideas. If you own a jewelry store, type in “jewelry” and see what others have typed in while looking for “jewelry.”

“Long-tail” keywords are search phrases (three+ words rather than one word) that are relevant to your business that people type into Google when searching. The more specific a long-tail keyword is, the easier it is for your website to rank when people search for it.

Where should keywords get placed?

Include one or two keywords on each page of your website, including the page title.

Another place to include keywords is in the meta tags. Meta Tags aren’t visible on your website, but they show up in Google search results. It’s the words you see under the blue title text in Google search results.

If you are not in charge of your website, ask your Web Master about including your list of keywords in the Meta Tags. When you completed the information form for your programmer to use when building your site, you probably listed keywords, and they got put into the Mega Tags.

Geo Targeting

When you add your city and state to keywords, they are geo-targeted. The concept is a bit dated, but it can’t hurt. Now Google can determine where searchers are located so city and state don’t need to be entered to get businesses near them to appear in the search results.

Whenever you include a clickable link in your website to an industry site, use one of your keywords for the link. These are called Outbound Global Authority Links. Tip: Make sure the source opens in a new page so your site visitor doesn’t navigate away from you.

Google offers some no-nos to go with using keywords.

Don’t just stick in keywords without having them make sense in the context. Google can detect keyword “stuffing”. Auto-generated content that’s been created by a computer is a huge mistake. Paragraphs of random text that make no sense to the reader but contain search keywords is called “webspam” and you could have your site removed entirely from Google’s search engine.

Another practice that can get you in trouble with Google is link schemes. These were popular a while ago – “link to me and I’ll link to you”. The thinking was that the more external links you have, the higher your site will appear in the search engine results. Google nixed this pretty fast. Any links intended to manipulate search engine results violate Google’s policies.

Now that you know what all those letters mean (SEM=Search Engine Marketing, SEO=Search Engine Optimization, SERP=Search Engine Results Page, PPC=Pay-Per-Click) can you make them work for your local business?

Begin by making a list of 100+ keywords and long-tail keywords and get them incorporated into your website copy. This initial time investment will pay off over the long run with improved rankings on Google, which will ultimately lead to increased customers.

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