Welcome! This page is a continuation of our guide on how to rank in local search for Tampa and Brandon area business owners interested in Local SEO. If you’d like to check out part 1, click here.
Some Other Tools Google Offers
Google offers additional tools to help small business owners get the word out, although many of them aren’t free. A new feature Google has been rolling out throughout the past few months are “Google Guaranteed” ads. For certain industries, you have the option to be background checked with a Google representative and then list your business prominently with the “Google Guaranteed” checkmark. You can see an example of how this would look in the example below:
Under that, you can see that Google Ads are displayed. Moving farther down the page…
We get to the Google “Snack Pack”. This is where Google My Business listings come in handy, as they will allow you to show up in Google Maps and in the 3 listings Google provides for each search. If you aren’t showing up here, you have more work to do.
Under that you’ll find the standard organic Google Search Results. Note that Google tries to intuitively determine if you are looking for a service or business locally. If it determines you are, it will provide you with those options above the standard organic results.
Step 2: Claim Your Business on as Many Local Listing Services as Possible (Citations)
Many in our industry agree that citations became less important in 2019, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can ignore them.
What are citations? Specifically, they are links or references to your businesses from third part listing services. A few of the third part services that offer business listings are shown below:
You’ll want your business to be listed on as many as possible, and you’ll want them all to have the exact same listing information, which we in the industry abbreviate as “NAP” (Name, Address, Phone). You’ll want them all to point to your website, and you’ll want the info displayed in the footer of your website to be identical as well.
This is one of the steps where having a local SEO professional in the Tampa or Brandon area can really be helpful. Proper citation work is tedious and needs to be done correctly. When Google indexes each listing service and finds your info, it will store any mistakes.
There are services out there you can use to do this step for you like Yext. However, a common complaint is that they want payment monthly for this service, and if you ever stop paying them, your listings go away.
Step 3: Ensure Your On-Page SEO is On Point.
This section can be a bit technical, but unfortunately, there is really no way around it.
What does “on-page SEO” mean for Tampa and Brandon Local SEO? Simply, it means that the code on your page is friendly to Google’s index bot when it comes to crawl your page. It allows Google to display information correctly and increase the number of clicks that come to your page.
This is one of the things that really separates websites that perform and websites that just end up being an online brochure. Unfortunately, pagebuilders like Wix and Squarespace just don’t give you the flexibility to take care of this, and even if they did, doing things correctly takes a lot of knowledge and time.
Title and META tags
You’ll want your SEO Title to be between 50-60 characters, and your META description to be between 100-120 characters. Additional features like Schema can be added as well, but that is beyond the scope of this guide.
On-page SEO extends to content as well. You’ll want to make sure you use proper heading tags (H1, H2, etc) and keep your content simple and easy to read. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough content. Current industry consensus classifies anything under 500 words per page as “thin content”. You’ll want to have enough words per page to avoid this, but remember: Google doesn’t like fluff. If you can’t think of at least 500 words of quality content for a page on your site, it should probably not be there.
Ideally, you’ll want around 1300 words per page. You’ll also want to be updating your site frequently with new content. This is where having a blog comes in handy.
As a small (and self serving) side note, doing your own citations, writing your own content, and making sure all these rules are followed can get a bit tedious. The Emu team put together plans that include all of this on an ongoing basis (and more) for an affordable monthly fee. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and would like some help, feel free to reach out. We also offer free customized comprehensive marketing reports to locals businesses.
On To Marketing!
With most of the big ticket items for local SEO out of the way for now, let’s move on to marketing locally. A side note: Brandon Local SEO and Tampa Local SEO (or any SEO campaign) are not “one-and-done” deals. Google’s algorithm is changing constantly, so you’ll need to stay on top of the changes to ensure your site is optimized. Just because your site was optimized for local SEO yesterday does not mean it will be tomorrow.
Step 4: Make Sure Your Business is Set Up On Social Media
There are many social media tools out there, and you should make use of them to reach potential customers locally. Which one is best for you really depends on your type of business.
Are you a more B2B company? LinkedIn is probably a great platform to check out. Direct to customer sales? Twitter will let them keep up with your latest announcements and give them a conduit to reach out to you as well. Facebook is great for general marketing. Youtube and Vimeo are perfect for video marketing. Instagram, Pintrest, Reddit, and many others all serve specific demographics.
Whichever one (or ones) you choose, you’ll want to make sure of one thing: that you are maintaining your social media presence by posting often, and that you are posting things that are relevant, topical, and engaging with your follower base.
A side note here: our free marketing report gives you an overview of how your social media presence is doing. In addition, Emu marketing plans make this incredibly easy… we research, write, and post content for you across a host of social media platforms weekly so you don’t have to keep up with it all.
Step 5: Capture Your Customers Information From Day 1. Use that Info to Market and Inform.
There are many tools out there that allow you to market directly to your customers, but before you can use any of them, you’ll need to make sure you are capturing your customers information. A good web designer can integrate this automatically… customers who interact on your website and submit their information will automatically be added to a database for future use.
Some of the tools that are popular for email marketing are Constant Contact and MailChimp. Both allow you to use pre-made templates to build an email newsletter for your clients, and both maintain mailing lists for you so you aren’t marketing to customers who have opted out of your email communication.
The ability to opt out is important, for the obvious reason that you don’t want to annoy your customers. Also because if you abuse this tool, you can be banned from using the service or worse, your domain can be blacklisted. For example, by purchasing a list of contacts and blasting them all with newsletters.
For these reasons, it’s important to make sure that you are doing things “by the book” when email marketing. You would want any website or business you share your information with to be respectful. Make sure you do the same.
Step 6: Update your Website Often with Original Content that is Relevant and Topical to your Visitors
This is where the grind begins. If you ask Google what it wants, it will give you a really simple answer: Google wants to send its users to the best place to find the information they’re looking for. Therefore, if you want to rank higher in Google’s search results, you need to generate high quality content consistently.
What does this mean in practice? It means adding a blog to your website and updating it often. You’ll want to write articles that are relevant and topical to your site visitors. It means making sure that each page on your website is there for a reason. That you aren’t spreading your content out over dozens of useless thin-content pages that could be condensed into one.
This one is usually the toughest for small business owners to accomplish, because it isn’t a “one and done” deal. It means consistently staying on top of the trends and topics in your industry. Write articles that are more than just fluff… you can’t “go through the motions” and expect results. You have to deliver something that people will have a reason to read. This area, above many others, is what a competent SEO company can help with.
Do you Have Questions?
Our goal with this guide is to provide practical and actionable tips to help you rank higher on the web. If you have questions about any of the topics we’ve discussed, please feel free to shoot us a message. Also, check back often as we plan to add to and update this guide as new information becomes available.