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SEO Best Practices for Small Businesses – Part 2

SEO Best Practices for Small Businesses – Part 2

search the world for local businesses like modern earth that hosts sites locally within canada

Good content for local searches is subtly different than national searches and it comes down to the intent of the user.

People have more access to smart devices in their homes, like their phones with assistants, Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others. These devices pave the way for voice search to be one of the primary avenues of executing local searches – conversational voice searches.

“Hey Google” – voice searching is increasing

“Find a family lawyer near me” or “find a 24-hour emergency plumber near me” or “who hosts sites in Winnipeg” is easier to say to a device than to type, so it isn’t surprising to see many local queries based on conversational voice search. If your industry is service-oriented, try out keyword phrase variations that include questions on your page and post content. If content matches the search, you have a better chance of ranking higher. This doesn’t mean you need to stuff your content with hundreds of variations of the same question! Keep it readable. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, now, Google’s AI can determine the relevance of your content to the audience so providing QUALITY content is what will increase your rankings.

Your content should answer genuine questions about your firm and your industry. If a customer has asked you a question about your services in-person look to answer it on your site. Does your website content inform? Does it help? Would people share your information? The best content does more than making Google happy – it’s informative enough or interesting enough that people share it – and that also boosts your rankings within search engines.

Use lots of words, but don’t get wordy

There is no ideal length of content but Google does favour long-form articles over short. There is simply more data for Google to parse through and to be able to figure out what searches are relevant to that content. Word count only matters if the quality of the content is high. Again, don’t try to pad an article to hit an imaginary “best number of words”. Good writing is good writing, it has no pre-determined length. Your goal is to write to cover the topic well. Long-form does appeal to readers as they can skim to the relevant points in one article versus going through several to find the information they want. That’s right, people tend to skim through articles, find the relevant sub-heading, and read that part of the article, and move on. Rarely do people read the entire article so the formatting of your information into digestible chunks, even in long-form writing, is important to the user, and to google.

Formatting matters to the user AND to search engines

How information is presented matters to search engines. It helps them understand the article’s intention much, in the same way, people process information. Use sub-headings to break down the different points of your information to help people skim through the article. Also, use bullet lists to help prioritize information. People love bullet lists, here’s why:

  • Keeps content concise,
  • Gives the reader an idea of how much data is in an article,
  • Easier to absorb the information,
  • See what we did there?

Google works hard to understand your writing, and having structured data provides explicit clues to the relative importance of your writing. To quote Google: “Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content.” – in essence, it helps Google understand your content. The effect is that if Google understands your content, it can present relevant snippets to searchers enabling special search result features and enhancements. For example, a recipe page with valid structured data is eligible to appear in more locations in a search result because Google now understands the different parts of your recipe.

At all times, it is more important to supply fewer but complete and accurate recommended properties rather than trying to provide every possible recommended property with less complete, badly-formed, or inaccurate data. Quality trumps quantity in terms of word count and the tools to make your content relevant to Google.

The good news is that by using the built-in formatting tools in WordPress, bulleted lists, linking to other articles, headlines, etc., you are well on your way to following accepted formatting and best practices which will increase your success on Google search rankings.

Other considerations for content are relevance, timeliness, and depth.

  • Keep content relevant to your business and industry. Try not to veer off topic. Write directly to your customers interests and make mention of your area of operation (like web marketing, site design, and site hosting to Winnipeg companies).
  • Look for news and be timely. If a topic is trending in your industry you should try to post a relevant article or blog post, to add to that wave and ride it as well. Topical (new) content is searched for more often by people, we all want the latest news, and companies can benefit and garner more search results if they have content that is timely. There is a reason many influencers do internet challenges, they want to be where people are searching. So watch the trends and see if you can take advantage of relevant news topics on your site.
  • One blog post won’t cut it. You need to create a wide breadth of relevant content to help Google understand that you are an authority in your field. Your competitors have already built up this on their sites so you may need to double-down and over produce content at the start of a new site.

Need help with content on your site? We have local Winnipeg writers who understand local searches and write to help businesses improve their relevant search rankings. Ask us about our content plans for local businesses.

In part 3 of this series of posts on local search improvements, we will explore the technical and backend requirements that Google uses to rank a site, such as hosting speed, tagging, and accessibility.

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SEO Best Practices for Small Businesses – Part 2

by Rod Salm Reading Time: 4 min