Rank your site on Google for results in your local area

Know your competition and inspect the search results for your target keyword. Learn how to start ranking for your target keywords by building an optimized web page
Last Updated:
January 22, 2020
First Published:
January 17, 2020
VIDEO: Video stream of Colton trying to define self marketing, why it matters, and who it can benefit
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Hey guys! This is Colton Townsend again, coming at you with another video covering self-publishing and self-marketing. Today's topic is about SEO, generally, and the question is "how do I get a page to rank for the local keywords that I want it to?" So, you go on Google and you're looking for something in your local market, in your hometown, in the town you live in, and so you're gonna type in generally the name of your town plus the service, the product, or the professional type-thing you're looking for. For example, that could be "Springfield Carpet Cleaners" and so that search intends that I want to find someone to clean my carpet in the town of Springfield. Great! So, how does your personal craft or industry or business fit in to that equation? Basically what you need to do is to determine what your profession is and the type of search or the specific need that's there, what those search terms are. And then the easiest part is just tying it to your town or your neighborhood or your local area in some way. The more specific and hyperlocal, the better. So, another example would be: I can say that I'm a copywriter and I live and work out of Walla Walla. So, I'm gonna go do a quick search for copywriters in Walla Walla. I'm going to review the results, determine that the pages that are there are pretty weak — they don't really look like a copywriter, or are not what I'm looking for, and I've determined that I can make a better page than that. So, my personal website is now going to contain a page that is meant to outrank everything else because I'm just going to simply make a better page. So the first thing to do in going about making a better page is to write a page title and description — That's basically what appears in the Google search results. Each listing is the title and description, so write the copy to include the keywords as well as to be compelling and to invite the users to visit your site, actually, and then hopefully contact you if they're a good fit for you. Next, you need to make a page on your site so that the URL, which is the full page address, also includes the keywords that are in line with what you're going after — with what your target keywords are. If you do that, it'll just help everything make more sense. It all has the same meaning behind it: your titles, your URL, and then as well as the content on the page, which we'll get to next. Writing content is pretty big task for the most part, so start with an outline. If you're a "blank" kind of profession in "this city", start outlining what it is that you do, what your services are, maybe you even explain your entire menu offering. You can talk about your your bio, your past experience, maybe showcase projects – the sky is really the limit in what content you can contribute there. Just make sure that it's all under the same bracket of being in the local area, because you're doing "this" in "this area", and you love this area. Submit your background in the area, whatever might be, and "this" is your profession, "this" is what you do, "this" is how you do it. So many things can go into this outline. Try to create about 500 to 1500 words that are going to be on this page and then the work comes into actually totally fleshing out that page outline with headers and paragraphs and all the proper web elements that are going to be in there: Images that need to be optimized as well as tagged, some more technical work. And then once this page is built you just got to publish it. You got to publish it and let it exist in the Google sphere for a long time. Keep coming back to it, revise it, link out from it to other relevant pages on your site or even externally, that's fine. As well as the best thing that you do would be to get other websites to link back to your page because they say, "hey! you're a "this" kind of person, profession, in "this" area. Here's a link to you." That's ultimately the goal. So, in four minutes I've attempted to describe kind of the entire process of SEO while leaving much of the details out. But, overall I've kind of laid the bare bones foundations for what to do. There's a lot of help on the internet for how to do this, but that's how we start ranking for the terms we want to online so we can be found. Until next time!

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.

  1. 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”
  2. 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
  3. Create a new page on your website so that the URL or webpage address includes your keyword phrase, is short, and is descriptive
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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

The local search term I'm competing for is "walla walla copywriter"
ABOVE IMAGE: The local search term I'm competing for is "walla walla copywriter"
A screenshot of Google Search Results for the term "walla walla copywriter. The page title and description I've written for my page are displayed on here now
ABOVE IMAGE: A screenshot of Google Search Results for the term "walla walla copywriter. The page title and description I've written for my page are displayed on here now
The URL walla-walla-copywriter I've selected as my new page address
ABOVE IMAGE: The URL walla-walla-copywriter I've selected as my new page address
My initial outline for the full page of content I'll develop for what I want to list on Google rankings
ABOVE IMAGE: My initial outline for the full page of content I'll develop for what I want to list on Google rankings
An overview of my completed page of content as a word document which I'll copy/paste into my new webpage
ABOVE IMAGE: An overview of my completed page of content as a word document which I'll copy/paste into my new webpage
Publishing your newly developed page using your website builder or Content Management System
ABOVE IMAGE: Publishing my newly developed page using my website builder and Content Management System, Webflow.com

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).

  1. I want to include my keyword phase in the most natural ways that I can
  2. 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:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

Happy writing!

colton james townsend smiles for the camera with the seattle port in the background

Colton James Townsend

Storyteller and Teacher at coltonjamestownsend.com, "Fearless Story Productions" and "Wake Up & Do Me"

I live, work, and write in the fine city of Walla Walla, Washington. I help creative people and business owners publish stories and content for the web so they can achieve results online, personally and professionally. You're an expert in your field or a person with a strong story to tell — I help you broadcast your knowledge and experiences effectively. The results? Amplification.

MISSION: "Bringing Your Brilliance to the Whole Wide World"