Over the years, I've helped many small business owners, and even some very large business owners with properly optimizing their Google My Business profile.
One of the biggest mistakes I see from so many businesses is that they neglect this very important SEO ranking factor. Always make sure you claim your Google Business Profile if you're trying to attract a local group of customers.
There are three core areas to include highly targeted keywords
- A what’s new post
- The description of your Google business profile. Make sure to include relevant keywords using proximity into your Google My Business profile description, that’s the best way to effectively optimize your Google My Business knowledge panel.
Why are Keywords so Important to SEO?
If you know anything about SEO over the last 20 years or so, you know keywords are, well, "key".
They are what you, as a searcher, use to find new information on a product, or the way in which you describe accessories for your new camera.
Even if you conduct a voice search, you're still using words.
Without going deep into the current Google algorithm, we know there have been some significant changes to the way the search engine views a single keyword.
I'm specifically referring to 2013, and Google's Hummingbird algorithm change.
In the first paragraph, the Wiki listing explains ""Hummingbird" places greater emphasis on natural language queries, considering context and meaning over individual keywords"
Therefore, we as marketers, and business owners, should avoid looking at SEO as focussing on the single, individual keyword,
What are the Big 3 Important Local SEO Ranking Factors?
When we think about keywords, what else should we know? Always take into consideration these three really important SEO ranking factors when it comes to Local SEO for your business.
If you are a local chiropractor in Bangor, Maine, you might want to consider describing your chiropractic service within Bangor, Maine. i.e. Chiropractor Bangor
Proximity is the location your prospective searcher is searching from, but may not necessarily use "geo" specific terms that might include a city, town or country. Instead, you should make sure to optimize for all potential location type searches including those "near me" searches. Google's Consumer Insights has reported a 900%+ increase in “near me tonight/today” searches in the past two years. That alone should encourage you to keep proximity top of mind.
Prominence has to do with the trust factor. How well does your brand stand out against your competitors? This can be further enhanced by incorporating off site optimization in the form of guest posting on other related publisher sites; encouraging natural links. This can also be done with online reviews.
Google reviews are VERY important when it comes to ranking your local business. There are a number of other methods to getting your site more prominently displayed in Google, but leveraging citations is also very important. Don't just get into every directory either - there are some you should avoid, and others that are more important to your industry. It's those important to your industry that you should focus on. Here's a great list from Moz categorized.
Where Should You Include Keywords?
There are a variety of places you can and should include keywords to improve the ability for your content to become more visible to a more targeted audience looking for your help. Below I'll list a few non-traditional methods. Some you may not be familiar with.
- Create a Post inside your Google My Business Profile
- Endorsements or Testimonials and Reviews - Where other related keywords about what you do can appear without being forced, of course
- Description of Your Business - Make sure you do not include that within the title of your business with or instead of your business name i.e. take a look at this business description. The actual business name is "Pacific Coast Sports Medicine". If they decided to "keyword stuff" their title, it might look something like this
"The BEST Sports Medicine Clinic in Southern California for Athletes" That could very likely get them the boot from Google My Business.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Way back in the early days of the internet you might see lots of web pages filled with unnatural looking content. I recall a time when I was helping a writer at a very large well known luxury real estate company with the language of their listings.
What they thought would be "helpful" to Google was actually considered to be keyword stuffing. The description of the home looked something like this. "This Darien, Connecticut home, located in Darien, Connecticut has a large fenced in yard, and brand new pool. This Darien, Connecticut home has been renovated. .."
This went on for paragraphs. I asked them, if they saw value, not as a writer, but as the reader? Does that look natural or forced? Most of what SEO Is, is common sense. Once I explained the Title Tag, the Header 1 tag, URL structure - they understood how to properly optimize a page for the target location.
Anytime you intend to optimize a page for a particular word or phrase, avoid trying to force the same used keyword. What if instead you tried to come up with other variations of that word or phrase?
Instead of "A Caribbean Vacation" you might also use "A Tropical Vacation in the Caribbean" or "An Island Vacation in the Caribbean for couples".
You should always consider variations on the focussed keyword. Consider the searcher's intent. What do they intend to read about or find, based on the type of search question or information they're looking for?
An island vacation in the Caribbean for couples, could be a list of the best Caribbean islands for couples.
Start broadly based on that particular broad search topic. Then, you can narrow down to one location. For example, whatever the best island spot for couples is, you can then develop content based on that one island location and build out from there.
Always leverage a wide variety of ways to describe without words. You can include a YouTube video that provides more insight into that keyword topic. You can include an infographic or whitepaper.
It's important to leverage your Google my Business Profile to incorporate relevant keywords in a natural and non-forced or stuffed manor.
- Be careful to avoid adding additional keywords into your title, especially if the legal name of your business does not include those words.
- Use your What's New Posts, Reviews or other areas in your Google my Business description to leverage keywords.
- Make sure you select the MOST relevant category, which can help associate your business with the industry or category of your business.
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