First, the very basics: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website and online presence so that your business appears at the top of search engine results when someone searches for services you offer. The better your website's SEO, the higher you will rank.
The goal of SEO is to increase the quantity and quality of organic (non-paid) traffic to a website from search engines.
As a local business owner, SEO can be an effective way to increase your visibility and attract more customers to your business. It is also one of the most cost effective ways of marketing your business.
SEO for local businesses
A local business is one where the service, product, or store serves a local area. If all of your customers are in one specific geographic location, you run a local business.
Local SEO is usually easier than general SEO because there is less competition for the search terms you are targeting. For a new business that is not amlocal business, you might want to skip SEO as your first marketing step.
If you do run a local business, here are the steps you need to know for a basic local SEO strategy.
Keyword research and strategy
Let's walk through an example of a new business built on Durable. Let's say you start a personal training business in Miami, Florida. You would want your website to appear at the top of the search results when someone in Miami searches for "personal training" or related keywords.
Instead of targeting “Personal training in Miami,” write a list of all the specific services you offer and customers you work with.
A few examples:
Pilates instructor in South Beach
Female personal trainer in South Beach
Fitness classes in South Beach
Personal trainer for injury recover in South Beach
Personal training for seniors in South Beach
The more narrow you can get with the terms you are targeting, the better chance you have at ranking. However, the broader the terms, the more search traffic. When first starting out, we recommend starting very narrow.
The more targeted your keywords, the better. When your online presence improves, you can then expand your search terms.
You can also try and include both terms that you are targeting.
Pilates instruction and personal training in South Beach.
With finding keywords, you want to pick the search terms that are most relevant to your target audience. From there, you can then create an SEO strategy around them.
Use a keyword research tool
Once you have your list of relevant keywords, see how much search volume there is in a keyword tool. Some popular tools include Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz. Simply enter your initial keywords into the tool, and it will provide you with a list of related keywords along with data on search volume, competition, and other metrics.
With a keyword research tool, you can also analyze search volume and competition. When evaluating keywords, it's important to consider both search volume and competition. Search volume refers to the number of people searching for a particular keyword. Competition refers to the number of other websites trying to rank for that keyword. Ideally, you want to target keywords with high search volume and low competition.
Once you have identified a list of potential keywords, choose keywords that are most relevant to your business and have the highest potential to drive traffic to your website. You may want to target a mix of broad keywords, like "personal trainer Miami", and more specific long-tail keywords (longer, more specific keywords), like "Miami strength training for women" or "Miami fitness coach for seniors".
By doing keyword research and optimizing your website for the best keywords, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages and attracting more potential clients to your personal training business in Miami.
One free tool we recommend is Wordstream.
Here we can see that the competition for Pilates in Miami is lower than personal training, with about the same search volume. That's an ideal keyword to go with!
Optimizing your website
Pick a great domain name
Choosing a great domain name is an important step in establishing an online presence for your business. Here are some tips on how to pick a great domain name for your business:
- Keep it short and simple: A domain name that is short, simple, and easy to remember is more likely to stick in the minds of potential customers. Aim for a domain name that is 2-3 words long and easy to spell.
- Make it easy to pronounce: A domain name that is easy to pronounce will help people remember it and share it with others. Avoid using complex or unusual spellings that might be confusing or hard to remember.
- Make it relevant: Your domain name should be relevant to your business and give people an idea of what your business is about. Incorporating a relevant keyword or phrase can help to make your domain name more memorable and relevant to your business.
- Choose a unique name: Try to choose a domain name that is unique and not too similar to other businesses in your industry. This will help to avoid confusion and make it easier for potential customers to find your website.
- Consider the extension: The extension of your domain name (such as .com, .net, or .org) can affect how people perceive your website. In general, .com is the most common and recognizable extension, so try to use that if possible.
By following these tips, you can choose a memorable domain name that will establish your business's online presence and attract more customers to your website.
Create a great homepage
The most important page is your homepage. It sounds cheesy, but it's effectively the "handshake" for your business — your first impression. Pick a header image for your website that's high-resolution, and clearly showcases what your business does. Your headline and supporting copy should feature your business name, location, and a brief description of your services.
From there, the structure of your homepage really depends on your business. But generally, you'll always want to include the following:
Testimonials: reviews from happy customers is a critical part of building trust and securing new business. We highly recommend adding the "multiple testimonials" section to showcase this. If you don't have any testimonials, reach out and request some from past happy customers or clients.
Services: most businesses will feature a services section on their website. This is a simple breakdown (usually three to five) of the core services your business offers. Again, this will drastically vary depending on your business!
An image gallery: again, this depends on your business. But most businesses will feature an image gallery or carousel of images that help relay their business and service (for example, if you're a lawncare company, showcase past projects and results).
A contact form: make sure potential customers have a way to get in touch with you. Remember: Durable automatically generates a contact form for you!
There are a ton of other elements you can add to your homepage to make it really stand out. As long as it looks professional and it clearly relays what your business does (and what makes it great), you're on the right track.
Create multiple pages
The more pages you have, the better. Within reason. As long as the pages have unique content and are relevant for your customer, it’s valuable to have more. Some ideas are a services page, about us, contact page, testimonials, videos, or a booking form.
Optimize your page content
Each page should be specific, but also include content that relates to your business. Use the keywords you identified in your keyword research in your website content, including the page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and body text. Be careful not to overuse keywords, as this can be seen as spammy and hurt your search engine rankings.
Durable has built in SEO features that make this easy. For the fastest possible setup, head to your SEO tab (within the Website section) and simply hit the Generate SEO button below.
That will automatically populate all SEO fields with relevant keywords based on your business and location using AI. However, if you've done your own keyword research, you may want to add some of those keywords in different fields manually. To do so, hit "Add SEO manually."
When adding manually, make sure to fill in the title tag and description on each page with keywords that make the most sense for your audience and business.
If you’re not sure about a specific section while adding SEO manually, click the Durable lightning bolt and our AI will suggest some terms and copy for you.
Be sure to enter a name and description for every page you create that includes important keywords. Again, don't go overboard on keyword stuffing here!
Creating external business profiles
Create a Google My Business profile
Google wants to know if you are a real business. They use a variety of ranking signals to determine this. Creating profiles on relevant websites always helps with ranking. The number one recommended platform is Google My Business.
Think about when you last found a new restaurant. What did you look at? Google reviews.
Google My Business is a great way to get found on local search.
Create your Google my business profile and verify your account. This can take a few days. Once verified, Once your business is verified, you can set up your Google My Business profile. This includes adding photos, business hours, phone number, website, and a brief description of your business.
When you have updates, you can add posts about your business like new products, services, or events.
Reviews are the most important part of your listing. Encourage happy customers to leave a review on your profile. Positive reviews can help to improve your search engine rankings and attract more customers.
Create other business profiles
Besides Google My Business, there are many other options to list your local business.
Thumbtack and Angies List
Local business directories
Many industries have a specific marketplace as well that can help you get clients. For example, Wag for dog walking. Do some research! Chances are there's a marketplace that will serve your specific business.
Last thing: for each profile use the same specific business name, location, and content. Consistency of your brand and business is key.
Why SEO matters
SEO is crucial for local businesses looking to establish an online presence, attract more customers, and grow their business. By optimizing your website and online presence for search engines, you can improve your visibility in search results, attract more traffic to your website, and generate more leads and sales for your business.
With more and more customers turning to the internet to find local businesses, it's essential for local businesses to invest in SEO. By optimizing your website, using relevant keywords, creating high-quality content, and building backlinks, you can improve your search engine rankings and attract more potential customers to your business.
While SEO can take time and effort, it's a valuable investment in the long-term growth of your business. By staying up-to-date with the latest SEO best practices and continually optimizing your website and online presence, you can establish your business as a trusted and reputable source in your local community, attract more customers, and achieve long-term success.