Want to improve your search engine ranking?
If the answer is yes, you will have to do two things very well:
First, make your website simple and intuitive to navigate.
Second, create content that is relevant, shareable, and easy-to-read.
Seems simple enough...
Except you might be making these 19 common SEO mistakes, and they hurt your ranking. Instead of messing up on the stuff you can avoid, I am going to show you exactly what problems people are running into and how to fix them.
Statistics say the 5th spot and below are no good...
I began to see a trend when writing this article. People in lower ranking positions were committing many of the same simple mistakes. I thought to myself, "how many clicks are they losing out on because of simple blunders?"
The answer is stunning:
The first 3 rankings on Google receive 50% more clicks on mobile and an even higher number on desktop.
How much do you think the 5th ranking gets?
A small and moderate sum of 4.65%.
Sure, you can still get traffic below that, but a simple mistake shouldn't cost you that many potential customers. So let's try to avoid those mistakes... and in the process I will also show you how to:
- Teach Google about your business and get ranked for the right keywords,
- Optimize parts of your sales funnel for clicks, engagement, and conversions,
- Use silo structures to improve the ranking of your service pages,
- and much more...
You can skip to any section using the quick navigation below.
Let's get into it!
Chapter 1: The Art of User Navigation
1. Use less keywords and attract more clicks on your Google listing
Your listing in Google should be written for humans, not Google.
I'll show you why.
How many keywords do you see in this listing?
... I count 17 keywords.
In short, these listings are from businesses who rank well on the first page.
But as you move to the 2nd page the listings become more keyword stuffed and generic...
... I count 30 or more keywords, see what I mean?
Let me explain.
A Google listing has three parts: a title tag, URL, and meta description.
How does Google use meta descriptions?
The meta description is for humans only... not search engines. Instead of stuffing your meta descriptions with keywords, write meta descriptions to grab attention and speak to your target audience.
If written well, a convincing meta description can attract more clicks.
Unlike meta descriptions though, search engines use title tags to understand the meaning of a web page.
Use keywords in your title tags, but don't stuff them in there.
Your title tag is for both humans and Google...
... you must write your title tag for both.
Solution: 3 Formulas for Writing Google-Friendly Titles and 5 Tips For Writing Meta Descriptions that Get Clicks
If you want to try these formulas right now, go ahead and open up SEOmofo:
This application will help you craft listings without going over the character limit...
... otherwise your listings will be truncated and summarized by Google.
Now to the formulas.
It's simple, just plug it in:
Title Formula 1
Title: [Business Name] + [Business Type] + "-" [services] + [state] + [city]
Example: Janson's Roofers - Replacement & Repair AZ, Pheonix
Title Formula 2
Title: [Service] + [City] + "|" + [Name of Doctor] + "|" + [Specific Service]
Example: Chiropractic Tuscon, AZ | Dr. Mohacey | Spinal Decompression
Title Formula 3
Title: [City] + [target] + [service] "-" + [pain point] + "|" + [target audience] + "|" + [benefit]
Example: Sierra Vista Young Clinic - Pain relief | Children| Wellness
Click here to expand this solution: 5 Tips for Writing Meta Descriptions that Get clicks.
According to Neil Patel, a prolific marketer who serves fortune 500 companies, meta descriptions are the most important feature to increase click through rate (CTR).
This makes 100% sense considering that Google doesn't care what keywords you put in your meta description, they care about user satisfaction on the page.
Unfortunately, I cannot give you a formula for this, but I can give you tips:
Meta Description Tips
- Be exact with your words. If you are a dentist, someone could be searching for "crown work" or "whitenings". Include specific terms to grab customers with buyer-intent.
- Show your benefits. Why are your the premier local destination for your services? What can you do for customer? Let them know that their "smile will shine" or that they will "feel less back pain."
- Be inviting. Tell them what will happen when they come in for a visit. For example... "Walk-in today for a $49 checkup."
- Add a deal or promotion. Are you selling something at a discount? Let them know your service is 10% off for the next 2 weeks and compare your CTR.
- Use the correct length. The standard meta description length is 156 characters, otherwise your description will be truncated.
Of course, meta descriptions are often challenging for business owners. That's why I reached out to my friend Kemar Lawrence, co-founder of Gold Mind Digital, for his opinion the subject:
As a business owner you hear that title tags and meta descriptions are important to SEO but that can easily get lost in the noisy online marketing space. Here are 3.5 things you need to know about the importance of optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions to get more website traffic.
- Keyword stuffing is an archaic tactic that has little bearing on your rankings in the SERPS. Plus it puts your website in Google's Doghouse and this is something you can't afford especially if the lifeblood of your business depends on targeted traffic.
- Treat your title tag and meta descriptions as headlines: Your title tag is the boldest, most obvious element in a search result and ultimately people are busy and will only engage in things online that instantly grab attention within 7 seconds or less. No one cares if you have world class content if you fail to pass the headline test.
- By optimizing your title tags and meta descriptions as headlines, you can drastically improve your click through rate (CTR) and rankings in search engines because of the perceived value you bring to people who are searching for that specific topic, product or services.
Bonus tip. On the exhaustive lists of SEO to- dos, this is probably the easiest tactic to implement (low hanging fruit) with some of the highest ROI.
2. Shorten URLs For More Clicks
For a moment, look at the URLs below and guess what you will find on those websites:
Pretty obvious huh?
A little bit harder to understand, right?
... shorter URLs are easier to understand!
Of course this can also affect navigation, but we will talk about that later...
For now, let me show you the average URL lengths from a study analyzing over 1000 keywords:
On average, shorter URLs perform better. Why? Three reasons...
First, shorter URLs give users a top-level overview of the page's content.
Second, well-written URLs can serve as their own anchor text when posted on forums or social media sites.
Third, including your main keyword in a URL helps Google compute rankings.
Are your URLS short enough?
Let's find out:
You will need Screaming Frog SEO to do this. (It's Free!)
Click here to expand solution: Find URL Length With Screaming Frog SEO
After downloading the program, enter your website into the top section:
Locate the URL folder in the scrollbar:
You can organize your results by content to find your main pages:
Scroll to the right, and you will see your URL lengths. Take note that “text/html; charset=utf-8” are your web pages:
Now you know which pages can use a trim and which pages can be left alone.
3. Land Appointments and Phone Calls by Simplifying Your Home Page
Now that your customers are wide-eyed and frantically clicking to your listing on Google, let's talk about your home page.
Too many local websites mess up here, so look closely:
If you were searching for a chiropractor, what would you do upon landing on this page...
... I think you would click the "back" button.
Simply, there are too many choices and too much information... and it isn't very organized.
Not very useful...
When you look at the research from analyzing over 200,000 domains, if a customer doesn't find your website useful, they will leave.
And this hurts, here's why:
- You have a high bounce rate. This means people don't find your website useful and leave without looking around.
- Low page views. Many of your web pages receive little exposure because customer's find certain pages irrelevant or your home page doesn't give them reason to browse around.
The key to improving these metrics is relevance.
Below I provide a formula showing you exactly how to provide relevance...
... but first here are some examples.
Solution: Simplify your home page with relevant headers and benefit-driven copy.
Let's take a look at The Joint Chiropractic's website:
The Joint Chiropractic does a wonderful job leading customers to do 1 single action (learn more).
The "learn more" button can lead to a strong business action, for example: get the customer to book and appointment, get an email, or call a number.
Another strong point: they list out relevant benefits using check points. This makes their service easy-to-understand.
Let's check out another example...
Brian Dean is a leading expert in the SEO space and he believes that your home page should drive people to the one action you want the most.
For example, he wants email subscribers. When you take a look at his home page, it is made to do just that.
A simple header.
A simple subhead.
Then a call to action to sign up.
It is not a local business... but many of the the top local businesses follow this method.
Here is a method you can follow, step by step:
This home page tells us 7 things:
- Located in Manhatten
- Dental care
- Get a beautiful smile
- Get a healthy mouth
- Look great
- Feel great
- Their phone number
7 points of information communicated in 15 words...
... and it is easy to understand.
To follow this example, just fill in the blanks:
- Benefit 1
- Benefit 2
- Benefit 3
- Benefit 4
- Phone number or ROI action (email signups , book an appointment, etc)
I did a sample to show you exactly how. Just click the box below to expand the solution:
Click here to expand this solution: Simplifying your home page (example)
- City: Sierra Vista
- Service (occupation): Chiropractor
- Benefit 1: Feel Limber
- Benefit 2: Feel Younger
- Benefit 3: Reduce Pain
- Benefit 4: Prevent Future Problems
- CTA: Call Our Office
Let's turn that into a home page introduction:
Sierra Vista Chiropractic
Reduce Back Pain and Prevent Future Problems
Feel Younger and Longer
Call Our Office (999-999-9999)
HAHA, the baby was too cute I could not help but use this photo.
Conclusion: I had to change benefit #1 to make it fit. But still, the formula is effective for creating a simple and actionable home page introduction.
4. Don't Just Describe, Drive Business On Your Service Pages!
Your service page isn't for just describing your service, no...
It is meant to sell.
Describing your service is so 1999!
Another reason you should sell is because you can target higher-buyer intent keywords.
For example, you may provide dentistry services, but a service page for "crown work Tuscon" is much more specific. We can assume that customers who type in specific searches are more likely to buy.
A good general rule for targeted keywords:
The more specific a search query is, the more buyer intent behind the search.
Let's study a near-perfect service page to show you an example of quality selling:
Solution: Educate, connect, and call customers to action.
- "Car accident Lawyer" immediately addresses what the customer is looking for. Visitors who visit this page have been in a car accident and are searching for help from a lawyer.
- "Who is responsible" provides clarity for people seeking help. Clearly, if someone has been in an accident and searches for this page, they want to know "who is responsible" to see if they have a case.
- Images can instantly connect with the customer's situation. Two cars bumping? Of course this is going to connect if you been in a car crash.
- A call to action immediately gives users a chance to contact this law firm. Giving your users a choice to contact you before finishing a page is ideal, because some users already know what they want, and others need less convincing.
- "Causes of Car Accidents" gives visitors insight into their incident. Clearly stating this in the headline also promotes curiosity. Customers are thinking, "what kind of accidents are there?"
- Specific stats are highlighted. This customer has just been in an accident, and this law firm is showing them how common it is. (They are reassuring)
- Specific situations are listed for the customer to compare with. Once the customer identifies with one of these situations they will think, "oh yeah, sounds just like me!" It immediately opens them up to contacting this law firm.
- AND they include a to-do list for people who just got in an accident. I'd love these guys if I got in an accident, wouldn't you?
- Each step is clearly listed out. Makes it simple for the customer to see the value on the page.
I do have one gripe... not enough call to actions. I would include a call to action below this to-do list.
Have you followed some or all of these steps to protect your health, wellness, and right to compensation?
You might now be a lawyer, so I don't want to leave you with just this service page study. Creating a compelling service page is hard...
... that's why I reached out to conversion copywriter, Peter Boyle, to give us insight to what creates a high-conversion service page:
"The problem most businesses make in creating landing pages is taking a generic approach. They write one page and think it's going to speak to every single visitor who finds it.
But that's not going to work.
You've got to understand the stage of awareness of your users and tailor landing page copy to their expectations and needs.
Someone who finds your business through the search term "how to manage my money and save" is looking for helpful tips. If they see a page that aggressively pushes a service they're not going to purchase because they're not ready to pay.
99% of your site visitors won't purchase on their first visit and in the above example you'd be better off providing a free email course on money management. It speaks to the needs of that person, will grow your email list and the course will warm the lead until they are ready to purchase.
The only time you should aggressively push a service is for those fully aware of your business. For the users who find you with search terms like "[YOUR BRAND NAME]'s financial advice consultation" or similar.
Every user who lands on your site has different needs and expectation. You've got to tailor site content so it aligns with those needs. With SEO and PPC in particular you can use the keyword users search to understand their stage of awareness and direct them to the most relevant landing page.
If you want to learn more, I recommend you read this piece on the topic.
5. Simplify Your Unique Sales Proposition to Improve Engagement
A website is like swiss cheese. Imagine that every hole leads to a page on your website.
People can enter your website from anywhere, but a well-developed USP placed on each page can keep visitors educated and less confused...
... and less confused is always a good thing.
Your unique sales proposition (USP) represents what you can do, who your product is for, and how the customer will benefit.
It's that simple.
Solution: Include your USP on more than one page.
This dentist's website shows a USP on every page with a header:
A great solution to remind your customers, no matter where they land.
Now let's take a look at a website that does not do this:
We know this is a dentist website, but nothing on this page shows how they are unique, helpful, or specialized.
But you can easily fix this problem...
If you can specifically drive traffic the way you want to and have a sales funnel to lead them through, you can strategically educate throughout that process. But if you need a simple fix... just add your USP on the first paragraph of the important pages.
This reminds me, you might not know how to create a USP yet.
You know, the ones that capture attention, lead customers, and sell products? Instead of hiring someone, I have created a worksheet that will help you create a stone-cold converting USP in just 20 minutes...
5 simple steps to a High-Conversion USP
Grab the USP Cheat Sheet with 5 simple steps to create a USP that captures attention, engages customers, and sells your service or product.
6. Make Content Easy to Skim For Fast Sales
You have to make the sales process painless for your customers. Look at all the steps they must go through before deciding on you.
That's a lot of steps... but you don't personally have to bring a customer through them all....
Instead, your website should do it for you...
That's right. Whatever question your consumer has, you need to show them the answer, even if you are fast asleep on a Sunday morning.
And a great first-step forward is by creating content people can skim...
- Use Bullet Points
- Create Simple Headers for Every Change in Topic
- Highlight your important points with bolding.
- Use italics for questions.
- Include multimedia that expounds on your business and ideas (photos, images, gifs, video)
- Don't use adverbs like "inextricably" or "vehemently"
- Strategically place links to fulfill informational needs
Here's a quick tutorial on creating free multimedia:
Creating a GIF only takes a few seconds. Just download LiceCap, click record, and wallah!
You can also take screenshots using LightShot. A cool aspect about this tool, you can mark up your screen shots with arrows, shapes, and more.
If you are decent with design, you can use the free version of Picktochart. It is an online application with visual editor toolset and free templates to choose from:
Because the art of creating engaging, useful content is hard and confusing, I reached out to BKA Content's marketing director, Jon Bingham, to get his opinion on the how to create content people can find answers from:
"They key to creating content that answers questions is being direct. I can't even count the number of times I've Googled a question, gone to the first few results and been hit with mindless stuff. If you are truly looking to be a resource for your customers, or potential customers, then give them what they want.
While having a longer piece of content may look better or give you the opportunity to incorporate more keywords, content that answers questions quickly and clearly almost always performs the best with your target audience.
Don't waste a paragraph or two with content clutter to pad your post. Get right into the meat of the answer and give the reader what they want. Not only will this make your website a better resource for questions related to your industry, it will also improve your chance to rank in the Google Quick Answer Box as well as increase your search engine ranking.
Chapter 2: Maximize Website Crawl-ability (So Google Understands You!)
We just went over a few human elements in SEO. Now we are going to shift a little bit to the simple but technical aspects of SEO.
But keep this in mind, local small business SEO is no longer the practice of making search engines happy.
Instead, it is a fine line between creating content for the user experience, communicating with other websites, and making sure we upkeep our website to help Google understand it.
Here's the upkeep.
7. Let Google Crawl Through Your Website by Removing Broken Links (a simple common SEO mistake to fix)
Google hates broken links!
Imagine speeding across a desert landscape in a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss. Up ahead, while jamming out to Led Zeppelin tunes, dust spinning off your wheels, you see a cliff up ahead.
If you don't stop, you will launch off the cliff...
What do you do?
Stomp on your brakes of course!
Talk about frightening... but that's the broken link experience for Google's crawlers (the little bots who catalog the web).
Instead of frightening Google so they never list you on their search engine, we are going to find these broken links and eliminate them!
Solution: Use Broken Link Check to find these baddies!
Broken Link Check is a simple tool that anyone can use. Just open it up and fill in the information it asks for:
There are myriad of reasons why broken links hurt your ranking. That's why you should check for them consistently.
You never know when a broken link will appear.
8. How to Avoid Keyword Cannibalization and Improve Your Ranking with Link Silos
Some topics are harder to understand than others... and that's why information has to be organized for us to understand it.
Humans ain't smart... and the funny thing is, Google ain't no genius either. We have to teach search engines about your website.
Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as writing page after page. We have to help Google find which pieces of content relate to one another.
To do this, we use internal links to create navigation:
Let's just say you offer "spinal decompression" as a service.
For a chiropractor, this service page will be your silo page. Look above to see where the silo page is located.
In short, your silo page should link to articles about spinal decompression... and vice versa.
I'll show you how the circle silo works in the example below:
This is a service page with no links (only leads back to the home page). This is not ideal.
After looking around, I find that this website does have content to link to:
Currently, this is what their navigation looks like:
Imagine for a moment that internal links carry "ranking power " in them. By linking to another web page, you are passing this linking power...
We call this power link juice or link equity. You don't want to waste any of it!
But as you can see from the sample above, the link ends, and that link equity has nowhere to go...
And to make it worse, Google will be confused because it doesn't know which page to give priority to, or how they relate to each other (because they are all organized on the same structural level). In short, the blogs will cannibalize the ranking power of the teeth whitening page.
Let's make it simple for Google.
Solution: Let's rewire this to get the link juice passed around
We don't want the blogs under the service page anymore because it is confusing for people and for search engines. Because of this, we have moved them under "blogs".
After moving the blogs, we then place internal links on both the blogs and service page. We want to link them together. Look at the image above to see how the red arrows and blue arrows navigate and pass link juice between the pages.
If you are feeling confident in your understanding, you can also include internal links within the blogs that navigate in between each other. (Blog 1 <----> Blog 2 <----> Blog 3 <----> Blog 4)
Again, the content has to be absolutely relevant to the service... and to take advantage of link siloing you can use anchor links like this:
That is how I recommend doing it.
Or you could follow Search Engine Land's Guide to SEO as an example:
To give you an idea of how to teach Google, this infographic from MOZ shows how keywords and topics can relate to an overall topic:
9. Educate Search Engines with External Links and Get Ranked Properly
When you link to another website, that is like saying, "hey Google, I like this website!"
That's an external link.
Search engine crawlers gather context about your website using external links (by reading the content of those websites).
I recommend using external links for blogs and articles though. If you do use them on a web page and don't wish to give credit to another site, under the right circumstances you can include a nofollow link to prevent spreading link juice.
Here's how to do it:
- Find relevant high-quality content and statistics.
- When making a point in your content, use the content and statistics from your research. (You can see that I do this in the article when I make certain claims.)
- Give credit to your sources by creating external links to your sources.
- Or, if you think a user might like a little information on a term or subject, create an external link to that source, like this. Learn more about external links.
- (Bonus) Reach out to these websites and ask for them to share your content.
10. Redirect Customers Properly to Maintain Your Website's Authority and Ranking
There are two different kinds of redirects:
- 301 - Permanent redirect (You should never change these, unless you have no other choice)
- 302 - Temporary redirect (You will be back soon!)
Using the wrong redirect will confuse search engines and potentially cause a loss in traffic.
Solution: Use redirects under these circumstances
When to use 301's:
- You are moving URLs and you want your new URL to rank.
- Content was moved elsewhere and will never have the same URL.
- You are finished with a sale/advertising campaign.
When to use 302's:
- You are temporarily upgrading content and need to redirect users to another page.
- You are closing down a page temporarily because you are out of stock and will have the product at a later date.
If you are still unsure of what to do, refer to this article on redirects.
Chapter 3: Increase Engagement
I'm a copywriter, so I have a penchant for intertwining copy and SEO.
In a sense, copywriting is about increasing the quality of a page.
In SEO, the quality of your page is important because metrics like time on-page, page views, and more are indicative of user satisfaction...
and Google wants nothing more than to please their users with great search results.
In this section, I talk about your specific pages and how business owners miss out on opportunities to capture more customers.
11. Don't Lose Customers With Dead-End Pages, Link Out!
Don't you hate it when you land on a page like this?
I am going to be honest... I am not looking hard for all of these mistakes. All I do is make a local search, click on any ranking below 4 or 5, then look around.
How many website's are committing these SEO mistakes and losing customers because of it?
I don't know, but there is a simple solution.
Solution: Give a user multiple ways out of a page
When linking out to other pages, make the link relevant. Again, the point behind most of these strategies is to enhance the user experience (and help search engines crawl your website).
So don't get too crazy with the links. Each one should have a purpose.
12. Direct Customers With a 404 Page to Stop Them Leaving
You never want people to find your 404 page...
But they will, and lots of them.
Some websites leave their customers with a message like this:
That's an automatic LEAVE for most customers (this is a dentist, no one is going to type "teeth whitening" into this search bar).
Solution: Create a custom 404 to lead customers back
This is a lovely way to lead customers:
Give the customer a CLEAR choice. A search bar by itself will just overload someone.
I don't want to think, "how can I get help from this business?"
People just want the help automatically. Give it to them!
You can also add your popular posts to your 404 page if you wish. The choices are endless.
I use Thrive Themes for my 404 page. It only takes 5-10 minutes to create. (Not an affiliate, they just have a great product)
If you need to use an FTP or any other method to create a 404 page, I recommend referring to a professional for help. Use this article for further reference.
13. Your About Page Has "ME" Syndrome - Focus On the Customer!
It is human nature to think your about page is about you...
... but an about page is for the customer.
Instead, you can relate your experience and show how it benefits the customer.
Solution: Talk about the benefits!
You do not have to do this for every single claim you make, but if you say:
"I was educated at NYU"
"Trained in family law under a large firm"
You can follow it with a benefit for your customer, for example...
"I was educated at NYU, a top 5 law school that specializes in family law. Because of this, my clients enjoy working with an attorney who understands the ins and outs of state and federal law related to divorce and family disputes."
Disclaimer: I don't know if NYU is a family law school. But the ideas remain true in this section.
14. Write at a 7th Grade Level to Keep Customers Reading...
Why do you have to simplify your writing?
I once had a client who said, "customers here are stupid Brian... we got to talk to them like they are children..."
You guessed it, this is exactly NOT the reason...
Instead, the reason is because the writing on your website should be effortless to read. We aren't trying to be Charles Dickens or Shakespeare here!
Write to be understood, not to sound smart!
Solution: You can use the Hemingway App to check your writing for grammar mistakes, writing level, and more.
The Hemingway APP has indicators to show you why something is hard to read:
As well, you can hover over sections for suggestions:
Even if you are a writer, it doesn't hurt to check your writing.
15. Use a Static Header to Direct Customer's, Not Sliders
Everyone loves to have a slider on their website.
But is this really a useful tool for your money?
In my experience, sliders are more expensive than static headers, and 90% of the time less effective (sorry, don't have any stats to back this up).
But bare with me as I show you why...
... does this gallery tell you anything?
Besides having beautiful mountains:
It doesn't tell us what the business does.
It doesn't show anything unique about this business.
Just a photo of nature...
Take a look at it for a second.
I have a question for you... did you know the gallery above is from a dentist website?
I didn't think so! Or leave a comment below telling me I was wrong!
The gallery below makes much more sense:
But still, I recommend static headers because they are cheaper and just as effective, if not more when used correctly.
Solution: Use a simple header and call to action.
This sample immediately asks for an action. Also, the header and sub header contain benefits for the user.
To create one yourself, follow the solution in section 3 of this article.
One more thing:
Because I focus on the writing aspect of marketing more so than design and development, I went ahead and reached out to Micah Marcano, the owner of Tampa Bay Web Design Firm. We've been working together for about a year now, and I know he has useful information on implementing sliders and other website elements:
"To be honest, I'm on both sides in the sense that, if it has the potential to help your website convert better then you should test it. When it comes to sliders though, you shouldn't add it to your website because you think that's what websites should have. I've had clients request them for that reason alone and that's not how you should approach this vital area. On the other hand you also shouldn't rule them out entirely.
The above the fold content is the first thing people see so how you set this area up is essential. Outside of the visual aspect there are additional factors to consider such as SEO, performance, UX, and ultimately your conversion rates.
Like every other aspect of your website it basically comes down to how effective you can implement each strategy. Sliders might work well for one website and it might be terrible for the next because of how they were developed or the audience they are serving. The important thing is to see if it or any other strategy works and then understand why it did or why it didn't, and then go from there."
Chapter 4: Build Your Community
In this chapter we talk content, getting subscribers, email marketing, and how it plays a role in building your business and your ranking.
16. You Don't Release Content - Your Customer's Will Love You Forever If You Do
According to HubSpot, “Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 - 4 monthly posts.”
Does this mean you have to publish 16x a month? No! Of course not!
But the sentiment remains the same: businesses who create content get more traffic and more leads.
Solution: Create content based on customer data
You have a major advantage by being a local business:
You can directly ask customers, "what are your biggest problems?"
Afterwards, create content that helps them solve these problems.
Just a few examples to get your noggin churning out ideas:
- 34 Exercises to Reduce Back Pain at Home
- 21 Products that Help Manage Gum Disease
- Have Knee Pain? Immediate Actions to Take to Reduce Swelling and Start the Healing Process
- Think it is Hard to Eat Cheap In Sierra Vista? 15 Places to Eat for Under $5 (and our new deal!)
17. Google Doens't Understand Your Website - Fix this With On-Page SEO
Google needs help to understand your website. We call this on-page SEO.
The solution is simple: download the Yoast plugin for your WordPress website.
If you do not have WordPress, or want a better method than Yoast (this tool isn't perfect) you can refer to this article about On-Page SEO.
But if you want a simple method that will help you get your page 50% of the way there (trust me, this can mean a lot), then keep reading.
When you open up your web page in the back-end of WordPress, Yoast will show you indicators and an area to edit your meta description:
The program is very simple. All you have to do is turn the indicators green by implementing your keyword in the way it tells you to. To explain each part of the plugin:
- SEO Indicators - These show up as green, orange, or red depending on how well you are optimizing your page.
- Meta description editor - Prevents you from creating listings that are too long.
- Readability indicators - Helps you make your content easier to read, and it tells you how to solve specific readability problems. I personally wouldn't follow it 100%, but it can have useful suggestions.
Despite any help you may receive from plugins like Yoast, you still have to write something people are willing to read.
It takes strategy, discipline, and a little know-how to do this, which I we will get into now.
18. Your Content is a Created For Consistency, Instead Create For Quality
Remember the data I showed you on consistently publishing content?
Statistically, the more you publish, the more traffic you will get.
But this is skewed...
To translate this, companies with big budgets can publish everyday because they have the resources (hence, they get more traffic).
Here's why you are at a disadvantage:
Local businesses don't have guest writers lining up, neither do they have $300-$1000 to spend on content every week...
... nor is it worth investing butt-loads of cash.
So what can you do?
Solution: Create Evergreen Content That is Immediately Relevant to Your Customer with this 1-2 punch
I am going to give you a basic formula for winning the local content game...
- Create content for your customer's problems. Ask customers about their biggest pain points. Also, do you ever see trends? Do more than 3 people suffer from the same problem? Write specifically to those people and help them solve these issues. (Refer to section 16)
- Look at your competitor's content and make yours 300% better. This way, there is no reason to go to your competitor's content over yours. If they have "10 ways to reduce ankle soreness in older adults", create the article "32 ways to reduce ankle soreness in older adults".
Maybe you don't have the time. How can you get this content written up?
Method #1: Hire a local writer who is looking to make a living writing.
There are a ton of people who would love to write for a living. Create an outline and give one of them a shot. Post on your local FB groups or craigslist asking for one.
Method #2 (recommended): Hire a specialty writer on Forbes or other big writing sites.
You can easily find writers who write about your expertise. It will be quality content, but the trade off is that it will be more expensive. Refer to this article on hiring content writers if you are interested in doing this.
Method #3: Hire on UpWork
There are many good writers on UpWork. Although, you will have to pay extra fees for using the platform, and you might have to go through some mediocre writers ones before finding the writer of your dreams.
Remember, the key is relevance and quality. It is better to release 1 quality blog a month than 4 mediocre ones.
Because many businesses fail at the content game, I reached out to CGI Interactive's Marketing specialist, Andy Bukuras to tell us a few key points about creating content locally:
"Local businesses often struggle with creating great content because they feel that there isn't anything exciting to talk about. The great thing about being a small local business is that you know exactly who and where your audience is. This is your advantage.
I urge you to focus on the great people around you. Your employees, the regulars who are familiar faces and other popular businesses around town. Begin to interview these people and post this video content on your Facebook and your YouTube page. It doesn't need to be a Hollywood production, just use your smartphone and have a quick conversation, tell a story or talk about how your business has affected them in a great way.
By focusing on the great people around you, you will create shareable content that will engage your audience and build a community around your business.
19. Email Subscribers Can Give Your Content an Initial Boost - But You Don't Give Them a Reason to Sign Up
Would you join this?
How about this?
Unfortunately, many businesses use signup forms like this, and they don't work.
Solution: When asking someone to join your list, make the value obvious
Notice how specific we are about the outcome. We are telling the user, "we can help you make that back pain go away!"
Let's improve on this concept by adding a lead magnet and clarifying the message more:
This ebook is what we call a "lead magnet". In some cases, lead magnets have been known to increase signups by as much as 384%.
Circling back to SEO, your email subscribers can give your content a spike in traffic and engagement when you email it to them.
I created all these samples using Thrive Theme's lead plugin. Again, I am not affiliate, but I love the product (and it only took be about 10 minutes to create all these samples).
Have Some SEO mistakes to Fix?
That's it folks. Of course, there are always more mistakes to cover so I will be updating this list in the farther future.
Although some of these mistakes are costly and time-consuming to fix, each part of your website is important for leading customers down your sales funnel.
If the information I put together will help you improve your website and SEO efforts, share my article on Twitter. (I spent more than 30 hours writing, researching, and formatting this! Give me some love!).
19 Common Local Business SEO Mistakes that Kill Your Ranking!
If you feel like you don't understand something, or have a question about converting more customers and improving your websites ranking...
Ask me a question below right now.
... and be nice... or be mean. I love a good argument!
About the Author
Hi, I'm Brian and I am a content strategist/copywriter in Sierra Vista, Arizona. I'm on a mission to help small business owners market their websites and make more money through smart content and conversion copywriting. Instead of working on your website, make your website work for you.