Rank your site on Google for results in your local area
A Search Engine Optimization strategy for individuals and small, local businesses
As individuals and small entities, we need a direct and simplified approach to the conventional Search Engine Optimization [SEO] strategy. If you’re a professional, small business owner, or artist operating in a small, local marketplace, this strategy is well suited for you!
If your goal is to improve how your personal brand name or business name appears on in online results, continue reading to learn my process for building webpages that will win your customers’ attention.
Before going ahead, note that it is required that you have a domain name registered and an active website that you can publish to. Creating your own website that you can publish content to is a massive asset toward your self-marketing efforts.
Basic Outline for creating pages to rank your name or brand for local Google search results
I’ll outline this process briefly in a numbered list and again with a series of screenshots, documenting my application of the process itself.
This is the process for creating a new page on your website that you want to start ranking for a local keyword phrase for your profession, products, or services.
- Decide on a ‘keyword phrase’ or the search terms you want to rank for on Google, usually [your town + your name, profession, product, or service]. E.g. “Walla Walla copywriter”
- Write out the page title and description that you want to display on Google search results that include your keyword phrase itself at least once
- Create a new page on your website so that the URL or webpage address includes your keyword phrase, is short, and is descriptive
- Outline the content (information and media) that you want to include in the new page — Should always support your keyword phrase and include a handful of different sections
- Do the writing and/or the media production necessary to complete your content, therefore expanding upon your outline and adding the necessary components to make it into a full page
- Publish your new page, monitor its traffic and user engagement, continually revisit and enhance the quality/quantity of content
Example Screenshots demonstrating how to build a new page of locally targeted content
Additional Tips and Suggestions for optimizing your SEO efforts
Selecting a good keyword phrase to go after
Do a lot of your own Google-ing to help decide on a keyword phrase you want to compete for. Try searching for terms that are relevant to you and what you do. Then, note which search results offer rather weak content. However, don’t pick something so obscure that no one would search for it.
The easiest keywords to win are hyper-local and hyper-targeted around your niche (aka what your customers’ needs).
Get on Google and test out some variations until you land on the phrase you want to go after.
Use these formulas to get a rough idea for how you can select your local keyword phrases in accordance with your name, profession, products, or services.
- If you want to rank for your own name [“YOUR TOWN/NEIGHBORHOOD” + “YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME”] E.g., “Walla Walla Colton Townsend”
- If you want to rank for your profession [“YOUR TOWN/NEIGHBORHOOD” + “YOUR FIRST AND LAST NAME”] E.g., “Walla Walla Website Designer”
- If you want to rank for your product [“YOUR TOWN/NEIGHBORHOOD” + “NAME OF PRODUCT or PRODUCT CATEGORY”] E.g., “Walla Walla Websites”
- If you want to rank for your services [“YOUR TOWN/NEIGHBORHOOD” + “NAME OF SERVICE”] E.g., “Walla Walla Website Design”
Writing effective page title and description copy
There are two goals I generally seek to accomplish when writing copy for my page’s title and meta description (aka, the pieces you see on Google).
- I want to include my keyword phase in the most natural ways that I can
- The writing should be easy to understand and describe what I’ll find when visiting the full page
Ask yourself, “would this copy convince me to follow through and actually visit the page?”
Technically speaking, these pieces of data are called the Title Tag and Meta Description. I generally limit the length of the Title Tag to 60 characters or less and keep the Meta Description at 160 characters or less. There are more specifications and details about these two pieces of code (or ‘tags’) you can read about on Moz.com.
Another technical note: you can only add the page title and description to the website’s code after the page has been created. Most website builders and Content Management Systems allow for you to easily edit these bits of code
Choosing a quality page URL name
If you seek to market yourself as a person, in true Self-Marketing fashion, use your actual name for the page URL on your website. Otherwise, your URL name should basically be a condensed version of the page Title Tag you wrote earlier.
Keep the full URL name rather short. I’d recommend a URL name be no more than 3 or 4 words (less than 30 characters). This limit doesn’t include all of the https://www.yourwebsite.com stuff; I’m referring only to the last part of the address: https://www.yourwebsite.com/your-page-name-here
Tips for Outlining your full page of content
If you’ve made it this far into the process of creating optimized content to win in the Google Search rankings for your keyword phrase, now we’re really to the writing.
Your outline should tend to follow a logical sequence with a clear beginning, subsequent steps, and a conclusion.
Use headings and subheadings to essentially create a table of contents that lead the reader from the beginning of the journey to the end.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of content. For example, a personal biography, past experience/training, projects, Q&A’s, testimonials, how-tos, a menu of services, pricing, locations served, etc.
Revisit, Refine, and Expand upon your existing content
I almost never end the writing process after finally publishing my new page of content. There are two reasons why it’s important to keep improving your page content over time:
- You’ll read through with fresh eyes or with new perspectives that can help you improve the overall quality of the page, adding more detail or trimming useless bits here and there
- A page that is published once and that never changes becomes stagnant. Search Engines can determine when a page was last updated. Making regular updates to your site keeps it fresh and more relevant to the times. Google can consider this as well as readers
Reflect on your content writing and Search Engine Optimization Efforts
Basically, after you’ve done all of the writing and optimizations you can, you’ll just have to publish and wait to see what happens. Do keep testing out search queries and returning to the page for more additions/edits.
Slowly promote your new content however you can. Create some links out to other sites from your page. Keep publishing content on your site.
There’s a whole nother world of strategy that takes place after you’ve done your due diligence and hit the “Publish” button. We’ll get into continued promotional strategies of your content another time.