The only thing constant in the world of SEO is change. To stay on the top of search engine results placement (SERPs), you need to follow the current trends and optimize your website so it can reap maximum benefits. Unlike other things, SEO is not one size fits all proposition, however. Here are the tips that you can follow to get on the top of the search results:

Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

The most noticeable element on the search engine result page is the title tag. Title tags are so basic that they often get ignored, despite the fact that the first thing a user notices about your website is your page title. Experts say that title tags are the second most vital on-page factor for SEO, after the content.

So here are some valuable tips to optimize your title tag:

  • Auto generated title tags are your enemy. For instance, you can let WordPress create your title tag, but sticking to it will cost you visitors. Analyze that what could possibly be the best title tag that sums up your whole content in an appealing way and use that instead as your title tag.
  • Don’t try to stuff your titles with keywords. Use a keyword which is also describing the title.
  • Keep your title tag in the front. It’s helpful for both search engines and users.
  • Your title tag should guide the user, so make sure that you’re making title tags for humans, not just for search engines.
  • The meta description gives you 160-200 characters to play with, so make sure you are making full use of it.
  • Be as creative and descriptive as possible. Consider your title like your own little ad space.

Local search is becoming more fruitful, especially when compared to large scale search. If you are a local small business owner, you know the specific requirements of the local audience and that’s where you can beat your competitors.

Online Directories and Citations

Local search is becoming more fruitful, especially when compared to large scale search. If you are a local small business owner, you know the specific requirements of the local audience and that’s where you can beat your competitors. Nowadays, being the best bakery shop in California is much better than being an OK bakery shop on a national level.

Be sure you are listed in directories for your town and your industry. Also make sure that your citations across all platforms are completely the same (address, phone number, website, etc.). Don’t use “123 Main Street” in one directory, “123 Main St.” in another, and “123 Main” in a third. Make sure detail about your business matches on all directory and citation listings. Consistency is key.

Dominate Local Search Results in 2017

Google My Business

Google My Business is an online directory, but it’s so big and significant that it deserve its own section. Hopefully you already have a Google My Business account, but if you don’t, set one up now.

It’s highly likely that your business information will be on Google already, so all you have to do is to claim your Google My Business page. Don’t worry, Google will not charge a single penny.

In order to claim your Google My Business page, you will have to go through the verification process. Google will send a postcard with a PIN to your physical location. You can then use that pin to verify your business and claim your Google My Business account.

You should also claim Bing places for business because many people use Bing as well and you should not miss any opportunity.

After claiming your Google My Business and Bing Places accounts, go through each and every section and provide all the information they ask for. It’s crucial that you list as much information as possible because Google uses it as a ranking factor and it can help you to get into the local three pack and making sure you show up in that local three pack helps to ensure more visitors to your website.

Often times, your happy customers and clients don’t bother to give reviews. They had a pleasant experience and move on. But, the ones who disliked your product or service will surely pour out their hate on as many platforms as possible.

Reviews Matter – A LOT!

It’s a no brainier that reviews play a more important role than ever before. Almost everybody performs local search before patronizing any business so that they can make a well-informed decision and know who they are going to be working with ahead of time.

They not only go through your website, but also check out reviews about your business on different platforms. They are taking advice from others and also sharing their own personal experience with their friends, family members, and strangers as well using sites like Yelp.

You must focus on the reviews that your business is receiving, postive and negative. Any negative review will negatively impact your business in both the short and the long term. So, if you are looking forward to gaining more and more customers than focus on getting positive reviews.

Often times, your happy customers and clients don’t bother to give reviews. They had a pleasant experience and move on. But, the ones who disliked your product or service will surely pour out their hate on as many platforms as possible. You can’t totally avoid bad reviews, but you must mitigate any possible damage from these types of reviews.

You can also do your part to ensure that only positive reviews get highlighted.

You might be wondering how you can do that, here’s how:

  • While many happy customers don’t think about giving reviews, if you encourage them to do so, they will surely make the efforts. After anyone has completed a transaction with your business, direct them to your review page (if you have one) or after a set period of time has elapsed send the review page links to their email.
  • Most of the time a satisfied client or customer will be more than happy to review your business, with that gentle nudge. After they have left a positive review promote it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
  • You may also want to consider placing a reviews widget on the website to encourage engagement. You can also ask your happy customers to post reviews for you on Google and Yelp, which will help to improve your brand presence online.

Use Structured Data Markup

Despite the sheer importance of structured data markup, only 31.3% of websites are using it. Structured data markup provides more information about your business and products/services to search engines, helping you stand out from the crowd. Adding schema markup to your website’s code will help the Google bots to determine what your site content is about. Which will ultimately benefit you.

Conclusion

This is only a “starter plan” for dominating local search, and there are many other ideas which can help you rise in the results. What have you done to catapult your business to the top of search engines?

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Nora Kramer
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Nora Kramer

Lead Web Designer & Developer at Nora Kramer Designs
Nora Kramer is a website professional and online marketing consultant with over two decades of experience in graphic design, website development and company branding. She also has a passion for photography and writing. Nora received the Charlie Award (1st Place) in 2002 for "Best Magazine Feature Article of the Year" from the Florida Magazine Association.
Nora Kramer
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