Local Search: Keywords Aren't Key?
For some time now the power of keywords in relation to local search has been diminishing and so it is important that your website not only have the right keywords, but much more. Google and other search engines are looking at your website for overall site integrity, usefulness in relation to where your business is located, the product and services you provide and the actual user that is running the search.
The Key to Keywords for Local Search
While the days of keyword padding are long behind us, keywords are still absolutely useful and you should continue to be very intentional about using them. However, the way you use keywords needs to be different from the days of stuffing them into grammatically correct sentences.
How to Use Keywords
- Naturally in alt tags and page titles
- Guide research on your site and your site metrics
- AdWords campaigns and for targeted advertising
Notice a pattern? You shouldn't be stuffing your website with keywords to target different audiences. If a keyword naturally comes up in the phrasing of your website's content that is great, but if you're writing the same things in different ways just so you can include a keyword that is bad. Google's algorithms are actually more likely to skip over your website than highlight it.
Overall Site Integrity for Local Search
The hard truth is that if you want long-term success with local search and SEO, then you're going to have to implement a long-term strategy. Your website will have to climb the ranks over months, not days. Set your sights on success over the next several years, not the next several months.
When Google's algorithms evaluate your website for overall integrity, here are some of the things they're looking for:
- How many links go to your website
- The quality of those links
- How much or little content your pages have on average
- "Spammy" keyword-riddled pages of content
Overall Website Usefulness
Your website should be designed with the consumer in mind, not Google. If it's useful to a consumer, Google will pick up on it. More importantly, real people will pick up on it, tell their friends, who refer friends, who tell friends. This gives you real business. Tips to make your site useful for real people:
- Make sure your website is intuitive and easy to navigate
- Website layout is clean, easy to read and not cluttered
- Have a clear search function visible on all pages
- Make sure your homepage or landing page answers 90% of questions visitors have
The purpose behind local search and SEO is to get real business. Keywords are useful, but make sure you have an awesome website that's easy to navigate, with valuable content and you will get real customers and valuable search traffic!
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