Tag: SEO

Silverback Blog Posts

The Ongoing SEO Process: Tips + Best Practices

by Damian Yupari | April 28, 2023

Optimizing your web pages for search engines is not something you do once and then leave alone. Google and other search engines update their algorithms constantly. To see continued success, businesses need to stay on top of their site’s content. However, many businesses see setting up a solid technical foundation as the only step needed for good SEO and miss the crucial work of long-term SEO management. While one-time SEO projects are a great starting point, they must be monitored and adapted as you move forward, since the project considered a site’s health and the search engine’s algorithms only at that moment in time

Your organization needs ongoing SEO maintenance if its site is constantly changing and evolving or if you’re introducing new products or promotions at a regular rate. As the structure of a site changes – whether by new subfolders or new content – considerations must be made from an SEO perspective to get the most out of your efforts. 

What is Ongoing SEO?

Ongoing SEO is the process of continually executing SEO strategies that support your business’s goals and objectives to help drive long-term growth. This includes optimizing webpages, content creation, backlink building, and tracking and analyzing the progress. Implementing a successful SEO strategy requires time and effort but can result in higher rankings, increased traffic, and better ROI.

Regularly optimizing and adding new content to your site is crucial for good long-term SEO. Updating your website with fresh and relevant content helps search engines understand that your site is active and useful for users. This can lead to higher search engine rankings and increased organic traffic over time.

Ongoing SEO consists of the ongoing monitoring and optimization of your organization’s digital presence to ensure that they not only maintain a strong technical foundation but are keeping their site in line with best practices. 

What are the Benefits of Ongoing SEO?

The process of ongoing SEO should be an investment for any company or brand looking to increase website visibility. Here are some of the best ways websites benefit from ongoing SEO.

  • Ongoing SEO protects you from fading results from a one-time project protecting your investment in the marketing channel and from becoming less relevant.
  • It helps prevent competitors from stealing valuable organic positioning. If you’re engaged in SEO, odds are they are too.
  • Consistently making improvements across your content and website can help you build domain authority over time.
  • Keeping up to date with changing algorithms.
  • You’ll be able to better identify issues with your website and address them before they negatively impact organic performance.
  • Keeping tabs on how individual pages are performing with analytics tools can help you know when they need to be updated.
  • You can make timely adjustments to accommodate changing audience preferences.

Optimizing your site’s existing pages by using targeted keywords, including more helpful content, improving page load speed, and enhancing user experience can also help improve your search engine rankings. This involves analyzing and improving various aspects of your site, such as meta descriptions, title tags, and image alt tags, to make sure they align with your target keywords.

Tips for Ongoing SEO Maintenance 

Content is and will always be #1 – it’s what brings people to your site. No content = no SEO. As a result, a big part of ongoing SEO maintenance is regularly reviewing top-performing content and figuring out how you can make it better, especially if you notice decreases in performance. 

A couple of tips:

Give away the Answer

Whatever the query (keyword) your content is meant to answer, give away the answer at the beginning of your content. This is a great way to target Google’s featured snippets and not bury the lede. It also draws readers further into your content.

Keep Content Fresh

Refresh and update your content regularly to keep it fresh and engaging. For example, a landscaping company should update its home page for each new season.

Keep Publishing

Publish new quality content on a schedule, like a blog post or new product information.

Avoid Keyword Cannibalization

Don’t cannibalize your content. SEO cannibalization happens when you write multiple pieces of content that target the same keyword(s). When this happens, it can confuse the Google algorithm, which can’t decide which content to rank higher. This can result in your non-priority page being ranked higher than the one you want users to find.

Purge Content Occasionally

Occasionally archive poor-performing content that could be considered low-quality or unhelpful. Google’s August 2022 Helpful Content Update introduced a new site-wide ranking signal that targets “unhelpful content” so having bad content on your site could affect your overall performance. 

Do Regular Technical SEO Check-Ups

Keep the technical infrastructure of your website healthy by doing regular audits to identify and address broken internal links, broken images, potential crawling and indexing issues, redirect chains, or other issues that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Make SEO Simple for Stakeholders

When discussing ongoing SEO with stakeholders, it might help to compare SEO to real-life things or to use analogies to make it easier to understand.  For example, SEO is like stocks. Over time your efforts compound. You not only benefit from the effort you put in previously but also the effort you continue to put in for healthy long-term growth. 

Research your competition

What are competitors doing that you’re not? What’s working for them? How can you stand out as the better choice? What are your competitors not doing that you could do to get a competitive advantage?

Maintain Your Online Listings

For local businesses, it’s important to focus on local SEO and keep your listings in local online directories like Google and Yelp up-to-date and consistent. At the very least, your name, address, and phone number should match across all online listings.

Less Can be More

Focus on quality, not quantity (especially if you have limited resources). Backlink only from reliable sources. Avoid fluff and repetition in your content. Practice what’s known as EEAT: experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

Keep Up with the Industry

Keep up with trends in SEO through sources like newsletters and podcasts. This way you’ll automatically be in the know when it comes to updating your site’s SEO for new technologies, best practices, trends, and algorithms.

Building a Long-Term SEO Strategy Starts with an Audit

Building a long-term SEO strategy starts with understanding your client’s goals & KPIs. The best way to do this is to start with an audit to assess the current SEO situation so that you can better understand the site’s weaknesses, opportunities, and strengths. You can then use this information to create an SEO strategy tailored to the client’s needs. Once the strategy is in place, track your progress and adjust as needed to ensure success.

How to do a basic SEO audit

  • Start with clean up 
    • Solidify top-performing & priority content 
    • Address weaknesses
    • Optimize infrastructure
    • Maintain and expand on what works
  • Establish monthly ongoing SEO tasks
    • Internal linking audits
    • Keyword & traffic performance reporting 
    • Backlink monitoring
    • Responding to reviews on local listings
  • Quarterly Ongoing SEO tasks
    • Speak with clients about their strategic direction for the next quarter (continue with the current strategy vs. pivot to something new)

Tools for SEO Maintenance

Good news: there’s no need to manually go through every piece of content on your website every time you want to audit your SEO. Here are some tools we like here at Silverback that can make the process faster and simpler for you. 

SEMRush

SEMRush offers a set of tools for SEO strategy. These tools help you find new and relevant keywords, track your SERP ratings, run audits on your SEO, analyze your backlinks, and more. SEMRush can help you build high-performance content and build quality backlinks.

Screaming Frog

Funny name, serious tool. Screaming Frog is a “website crawler and log file analyzer.” A website crawler instantly searches the internet for URLs and content. It analyzes the information it finds to better understand the page’s purpose. 

Screaming Frog mimics website crawlers like Googlebot and allows you to crawl your website to identify technical issues on a wide scale.

PageSpeed Insights

 All you have to do here is put in the URL of the site you want to audit. You’ll then receive a detailed report on an individual URL’s page load times, what your users experience when they go to that URL, as well as advice on how to improve your SEO and load times on that page.

Many page speed issues are sitewide so fixing an issue you found on one page can have benefits for pages all across your website

Moz

Another tool similar to Screaming Frog and SEMRush, Moz helps you uncover SEO issues on your website and gives you reports and advice on how to improve them.

Long-Term SEO Starts with Your Decisions Today

Ongoing SEO is a crucial aspect of ensuring your website maintains its ranking and visibility on search engines and continues to grow. Regular optimization of webpages, content creation, backlink building, and monitoring progress are essential aspects of driving long-term organic growth. Need a checklist of even more things to look for? Check out Silverback’s The Marketing Leaders’ Guide to SEO for a full breakdown of all the SEO elements you should be aware of if you’re looking for long-term organic success.

Damian Yupari | Senior SEO Manager

Damian is a Senior SEO Manager passionate about driving organic growth through strategic optimization. With a background in supporting businesses of all sizes at agencies, he has become a well-rounded SEO specialist with deep knowledge of local, on-page, and technical SEO. He especially enjoys technical SEO and on-page SEO strategy which is matched well by his strategic approach to problem-solving and his natural curiosity. With a reputation for hard work and dedication, he is a problem-solver who thrives on analyzing data to develop strategies and deliver results.

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Unlock Your Growth Potential

Silverback helps businesses catapult web traffic, leads, and sales. We combine analytical and creative expertise to drive inbound marketing campaigns and track it all to find insights on what worked, what didn’t, and what we should try out next.

Contact Us

Silverback Blog Posts

Why You Need Audience Research in SEO

by Annie Madden | April 5, 2023

SEO has long been a staple of successful digital marketing, but getting found online and resonating with a targeted audience is becoming increasingly competitive. Effectively optimizing your site for search engines requires a deeper understanding, requiring you to uncover consumer pain points, preferences, and buying behavior to drive more leads and conversions.  

Let’s explore how audience research in SEO supercharges your marketing strategy for a more authentic connection to your ideal customers.

The Benefits of Using Audience Research in Your SEO Strategy

Instead of building content and SEO strategies around SERP opportunities and search volume, audience research allows you to hone in on why customers are buying and their hesitations about a product or service. The goal is to build your website to connect with your audience and provide value, not just to accommodate Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

The good news is Google actually wants you to take an audience-focused approach, especially after their EEAT update, or “Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” The update helped prioritize sites that are truly helpful and demonstrate value. Even if there isn’t any search volume around specific topics or keywords, valuable content that follows EEAT principles can still give your rankings a boost. 

In a modern world where high-quality information is a commodity, tailoring your site and taking an authentic approach to your content marketing is critical. Research shows that 88% of consumers say authenticity is an important factor supporting and buying from a brand. 

Applied Audience Research for SEO Strategies 

Audience research in SEO must also account for several factors to improve your ranking while simultaneously building a connection with customers.

Audience Research for Market Identification

The importance of audience research is unparalleled and could lead to new market segments and niches you never considered before. While working with one of our clients for new paid media campaigns, we discovered that bath renovations were also being done in condos, and not just single-family homes. The client didn’t know this was a popular market and had overlooked creating content for this segment. This whole exercise opened up opportunities for a new customer base and revenue stream. 

With audience research in hand, we could now direct relevant keywords to attract their untapped condo audience segment. Just like with any other audience research, it’s essential to explore the customer journey in every niche you uncover to guide them through their own obstacles and hangups to conversion.

Market identification involves identifying new and underserved markets for a particular product or service. Here are simplified steps to follow to perform market identification:

  • Define the product or service: Clearly define the product or service to help narrow down your search for potential markets.
  • Conduct market research: Conduct research to gain a deeper understanding of the market and potential customers you’ll serve through surveys, focus groups, industry reports, and competitor analysis.
  • Analyze the data: Analyze the data you collect to identify potential market opportunities, including trends or patterns that suggest new or underserved markets.
  • Create customer personas: Create fictional representations of your ideal customers based on your research to help better understand their needs, preferences, and behavior.
  • Identify market opportunities: Use the customer persona and your available data to identify new markets or gaps that your product or service could fill.
  • Develop content and marketing strategies: Develop content and marketing strategies tailored to your new markets, such as creating targeted content or campaigns. 
  • Measure results: Measure the results of your new marketing efforts to determine their effectiveness across engagement, conversions, or preferred KPIs.

Audience Research for Topic Selection

Any audience research in SEO should help shape your understanding of what consumers want from your products and services, giving you insights on how to set topics and shape your content accordingly. It’s also essential to consider the search intent to provide people with highly targeted information and with as few stumbling blocks and clicks as possible. 

SEO tools such as SEMRush help you understand an audience’s search intent with reports and read-outs that provide deeper insights. When applied to your content, you end up with more accurate and targeted information your audience is looking for. 

Audience Research for Keyword Research

When you research your target audience, you uncover keywords and phrases that people use when searching for information related to a business. By analyzing these keywords and phrases, companies can better understand the intent behind the search query, create content that meets the user’s needs, and engage them when they land on your site. The combination of search intent and highly relevant keywords helps enhance the value of your content and how easy it is to find your business online.

Audience research also taps into segments, niches, or concerns about an SEO target audience that you may not have known about before, providing an opportunity to take your keyword research and content in new directions. The process helps generate ideas for new content, but even if it doesn’t have high search value, you could still see your rankings improve by providing highly useful information for your audience. 

Audience Research for Messaging

Audience research is a powerful tool for identifying compelling messaging opportunities that resonate with your target audience. Turning to surveys and focus groups, social media conversations, and customer interviews help piece together patterns and trends from your audience. If they all express similar pain points, frustrations, or insights, the content will likely prove valuable to your SEO target audience. Similar to the process involved in market identification, developing buyer personals 

can also help put all of your data together in a potentially real-world example.

As you craft your messaging, make sure to include language and tone that was represented during your audience research to address any paint points and highlight the product’s or service’s benefits. You should continue to refine your content through A/B tests or focus groups to see which messages resonate the most with the audience. 

Our audience research helped uncover new opportunities to reshape a client’s content. We discovered that people with only one or two bathrooms were delaying getting their bath re-done for fear of it taking forever and losing access to their lone bathroom or shower. Not wanting to shower at the gym, they pushed off renovations until they discovered that our client does bath renovations in less than one day, eliminating one of their most pressing worries.  

Audience research for a mattress client also provided new insights. It uncovered couples with different sleep styles and concerns had significant hesitations in making a purchase. After auditing the site, we realized there was little content on this topic, signaling to build more copy around the concern. By focusing on highly relevant messaging and creating a content marketing strategy around it, we help push people down the conversion funnel while showing how we eliminate one of their main concerns. 

Audience Research for UX 

Audience research affects the messaging on your site, how you organize your navigation and layout, and what information you present. Even the timing of when your audience sees your content can significantly impact the user experience on a website. If you’re not a UX professional, you can still use audience research to apply principles to your SEO choices. By creating a user-friendly website that provides value, businesses improve the user experience, leading to increased engagement, rankings, and conversions.

Upper Funnel

Knowing what catches people’s attention and draws them in helps you update your messaging and entry points for better alignment with what resonates to your audience. Similar to editorial SEO, you can now anticipate everyday questions and hesitations to build pathways and flows that immediately address those concerns and strengthen the audience connection.

Middle Funnel

An intimate understanding of people’s pain points and questions helps navigate them through your website more efficiently. As you create content, make sure the most critical information they need is readily available while reassuring them that you have the solution. 

Lower Funnel 

Knowing why people did or didn’t buy your product or service can help you update your messaging to increase conversions. It’s also an opportunity to craft content around their hesitations, helping guide people through the conversion process while resolving any obstacles to inform their decision. 

How to Research Your Target Audience

Some of the most effective audience research methods include conducting surveys and focus groups, analyzing website analytics, social media listening, and using keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs. Businesses can also use tools like Google Trends to identify trending topics and queries related to their industry. Customer interviews help uncover the story and journey, which is helpful but involves more work. 

The type of research method you choose also depends on the kind of content you’re writing. For example, customer reviews are valuable when it comes to conversion-orientated copy. Those reviews help you quickly identify what prompted someone to convert or why they left your site without buying. It also enables you to determine what caught people’s attention in the first place to weave that awareness into your own content. 

The potential to increase conversions and offer value to new audiences through research is vast. When working with a client that performs one-day bath renovations, our audience research revealed that many people were buying bath renovations for their aging-in-place parents and were thankful for the straightforward process. Our data signaled a need for more content about aging-in-place or future-proofing bath products, while directing that content towards those who used the product and those who helped their parents find them.

Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Audience Research

SEO target audience research may feel challenging if you’ve never done it before, there are some things you need to keep in mind to get the best marketing insights and accurate data out of the exercise. 

  • Don’t assume you are your audience – You have a lot of background on the topic and know the ins and outs of a company, but it’s important to remember that some people are coming into the subject without any knowledge and have different needs and preferences.
  • Consider the entire journey – Evaluate what people saw before the page they landed on, after, and their emotional state after consuming your content to create the best possible experience for site visitors. 
  • Don’t forget about your competitors – If you don’t have many reviews, see if your competitors do. Knowing why people converted or didn’t for your competitor can help give you insights into your audience’s concerns. 
  • Stay as current and recent as possible – A lot has changed in the past few years, and consumer and business behaviors should be accurate for them to be helpful.
  • Avoid using biased or leading questions – It’s easy to accidentally skew the results of a survey or focus group when your questions aren’t balanced and impartial for your intended audience.

Need Audience-Driven SEO?

Authentic marketing and SEO is the heart of connecting with your target audience while increasing your conversions and rankings in Google. Silverback offers audience research, SEO, and digital creative marketing services led by a team of experts in analytics, paid media, design, and audience research to deliver, execute and measure the performance of strategic creative campaigns. Learn more about our best practices and strategies with The Marketing Leader’s Guide to SEO

Annie Madden

Annie Madden is a content marketing specialist with experience in strategy and production for email, social, copywriting, and video. She helps clients reach their audience through engaging and productive content.

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Silverback helps businesses catapult web traffic, leads, and sales. We combine analytical and creative expertise to drive inbound marketing campaigns and track it all to find insights on what worked, what didn’t, and what we should try out next.

Contact Us

Silverback Blog Posts

4 Best SEO Automation Tools for 2023

by Kurt Lambert | March 28, 2023

Nothing replaces the need for good SEO to increase quality, targeted traffic to your website that converts to leads and sales. Yet it also takes a massive amount of time and resources to manage your SEO, analyze, report, test, and make small changes, only to start the process over again. 

While the good news is that there are automated SEO tools that can help, don’t get too excited. It takes more than just a few keystrokes to execute your campaign. You also need a human touch to guide the process and gather the insights to shape project decisions. 

Here’s a look at the best automated SEO software and how it can help your business.

What is SEO Automation? 

SEO automation is the use of technology or tools to automate specific SEO tasks and processes in order to gain efficiencies or produce data insights that would otherwise be too time-consuming or complicated to do manually.

SEO services are competitive and nuanced, requiring time and resources to scale. The best SEO automation tools can also leverage AI and machine learning to discover data-driven suggestions or recommendations. The results? Your team could save a massive amount of time by getting automated insights that typically scale to large or complex projects. All that being said, though, it’s not a good idea to set up a few tools and call it a day with your SEO. 

Can SEO Be Fully Automated?

Short answer: no. Long answer: no, but it’s understandable why you’d try. It’s nice to imagine that a few clicks of a button could optimize an entire website, but it’s just not possible. Although it’s certainly true that some tools help streamline the process and move things along, you’ll always need a guiding hand if you want to scale for real results. Shortcuts with SEO are usually about optimizing for loopholes, so you end up paying the price by witnessing ranking drops as Google and search engines develop more sophisticated search algorithms.

There’s also no single SEO tool that provides all the data and insights needed to execute a well-thought-out plan. Your team still needs a combination of tools to gather comprehensive insights about your website, from bounce rate to conversion rates to improving Core Web Vitals.

How to Choose an SEO Automation Tool

Automating some of your SEO processes is possible with a human touch to guide it, but the more significant issue is which tools to choose as part of that automating process. 

Various factors will influence your decision, including the project’s specific needs, deliverables, priority, and deadline. Most of the best SEO automation tools are highly specialized too, making it essential to have the correct use case and to know what exactly you want out of your tool. Beyond the specifics of your needs, two of the most important things to consider when weighing tools is its price and what integrations the tool offers. 

Price

Pricing is among the most significant factors in choosing the right automated SEO tools. They may save you time and quickly gather insights. However, they’re often so expensive that it’s important to select tools that fit your budget while still providing all the features you want and skipping overcomplicated add-ons. When automated tools are too complex, they require a higher level of expertise, so make sure your team is comfortable using them.  

Integrations 

Keep in mind that SEO automation resources often pull data from other sources, such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console. The tools you use should seamlessly integrate and work with other platforms and workflows you’re already using. The goal is to easily share data and insights to help make informed decisions about your project. 

Ultimately, you should choose automation tools based on how they achieve the purposes of the project while remaining cost-effective. They should be easy to use, provide the data you actually need, and make actionable, more efficient decisions than manually completing those same tasks on your own. 

Using SEO Automation Tools

Although automation tools can be very useful, they should not replace human expertise and experience. Instead, automation tools should be used in conjunction with manual analysis and expert interpretation to identify areas of improvement, track progress, and make strategic decisions.

Depending on the complexity of the task, SEO automation software can vary. The best SEO automation tools can help you save time and resources by automating repetitive or complex tasks such as keyword research, analysis, or reporting, which can take a significant amount of time and effort when done manually. These tools may also provide more accurate and reliable data than manual methods, which can help businesses make more informed decisions and improve their overall SEO efforts.

At Silverback, our regular workflows use automation in several ways:

  • Using a tool to crawl a website and detect technical issues and errors. Tools like this can assign overall health scores and prioritize the most critical tasks that impact the most significantly.
  • Tools that help prioritize the most significant opportunities for internal linking optimization. 
  • Grouping similar sets of keywords to keep strategy and insights more organized.
  • Providing suggested lists of in-depth topics to support a broader topic.

Best SEO Automation Tools and Software

If you’re not sure where to start your automation journey, here are some tools that can help save time and money while fueling your SEO success. 

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a popular tool for keyword research, backlink analysis, and content analysis. Some of its features include Keyword Explorer, Site Explorer, Content Explorer, and others. You can easily track your website’s rankings, monitor your competition, and identify new link-building opportunities.

SEMRush

SEMRush is an SEO automation software providing keyword research, backlink, and content analysis. Its features hold their own against Ahrefs but with additional tools, including site audit, position tracking, backlink analytics, and many more. Whether you need to write better SEO headlines or assess your competition’s ranking, SEMRush offers tools to gather the insights you need.

Moz

Moz is among the best automated SEO software that improves online visibility with keyword research, link building, and website analysis. It also includes features such as Keyword Explorer, Link Explorer, and Site Explorer that could help with tasks like updating and optimizing old content for SEO.

SiteSeer (formally Zyppy)

SiteSeer‘s strengths lie in internal linking, an underrated yet impactful part of a successful SEO and digital marketing strategy. Google values internal links that point to other relevant and valuable content or expands an in-depth topic with optimized anchor text. It can be cumbersome to comb through pages and create internal links manually. SiteSeer analyzes data from the Google Search Console and recommends where to build internal links.

Despite how many items it saves, you still need to humanize the automation process. SiteSeer’s generated recommendations are definitely not ready to implement right out of the box. While some do a great job at highlighting current gaps in internal linking opportunities, many of the anchor text suggestions are not relevant or do not meet an acceptable level of human readability. A thorough vetting process is still needed to ensure the direction makes sense from an actual user’s perspective.

Other Tools

Beyond using some of the best SEO automation software available, we also have proprietary tools to help automate data hygiene and organization tasks, reporting, analysis, and more. Our team uses ScreamingFrog, a go-to tool for its variety of features and capabilities that can help provide insight into every aspect of SEO. With an eye on AI, we’re also exploring ChatGPT and other recently released AIs platforms to extract even more data and insights. 

Keeping the Human Touch

Despite all the buzz around AI and how advanced automated SEO tools are becoming, it still needs an SEO’s guidance. It’s essential to use the insights and data provided by automation tools to guide the creative process and make informed decisions rather than relying solely on automation. After all, SEO is an innovative and truly unique process that requires human-led strategy and execution.

At the same time, it’s vital to ensure your SEO automation tools don’t compromise the quality or effectiveness of your SEO efforts. So how do you balance the benefits of automation with the need to maintain a human touch in your work?

The answer lies in your ability to collaborate. 

We use the tools in conjunction with manual analysis and expert interpretation. Automation tools can provide valuable data and insights, but it’s essential to use manual methods and specialist interpretation to validate and interpret the results. This practice can help to ensure that the data is accurate and the insights are actionable.

Using multiple tools can also provide a more comprehensive view of the SEO landscape and help validate the data and insights each device offers. However, automated tools truly shine when handling repetitive tasks such as tracking, monitoring, and creating SEO reports, allowing more time to focus on creating, analyzing, and implementing strategies.

Do You Need SEO Management Services?

Automated SEO tools are clearly a hot topic within the marketing industry, and we constantly look for updates regarding AI, machine learning, ChatGPT, and new technology. There are clear benefits to using the technology as it continues to evolve, but it will always require a skilled, knowledgeable person behind the technology to know which levers to pull to support the overall organic strategy. 

Ready to see how SEO can impact your business? Explore Silverback Strategies’ SEO Management Services.

Kurt Lambert

Kurt is an accomplished digital marketer with over a decade of experience. He enjoys building out dynamic SEO strategies & solving complex website matters by blending creativity, data & technology.

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Unlock Your Growth Potential

Silverback helps businesses catapult web traffic, leads, and sales. We combine analytical and creative expertise to drive inbound marketing campaigns and track it all to find insights on what worked, what didn’t, and what we should try out next.

Contact Us

Silverback Blog Posts

Why is Local SEO Important?

by Brandon Lear | September 13, 2022

Nearly half of all searches have local intent. This is why local SEO is important. If you know how to improve local search rankings, you can:

  • Increase your business’ online visibility
  • Increase calls to your business 
  • Boost relevant, targeted web traffic
  • Position you as a leader in your community for your area of expertise 
  • Boost in-store foot traffic
  • Put you ahead of your local competitors 
  • Connect you to your community, allowing you to address their concerns

What is local SEO?

Local SEO is the practice of making adjustments to your website, so it has higher search visibility for keywords with local intent. 

There are four main types of search intent: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial investigation. When users conduct an informational search about a certain geography (e.g. “plumber washington dc”) the search algorithm looks for websites optimized for these local searches. This is why local SEO is important. 

Local customers often perform searches that include keywords such as “near me” and “[service] [city]” searches. These queries will pull up a different search engine results page (SERP) layout than a general search. Depending on the industry, Google may serve up local home service ads, regular ads, and a map pack that displays the top three businesses. 

Below is an example of a SERP for the search phrase “plumber washington dc”, which is a highly valuable search with local intent.

Top of the search engine results page for the search query, plumber washington dc the results include both the local home services ads and regular paid ads.

At the top of the page are the local home service ads as well as regular paid ads.

below the ads on the search engine results page for the search query, "plumber washington dc" is the 3 pack map listing, featuring average ratings and reviews.

Below that is the all-important 3 pack map listing. This section is critical because it’s a 24/7 lead generator, and any leads or clicks are unpaid. This area of the SERP also takes up significant real estate and is a huge driver of traffic on mobile.

Why is local SEO important to your business?

If your business has a physical brick-and-mortar location, or if your business services a specific geographic area, you can reap the benefits of optimizing for local search. Some of these categories include; local home service, law firms, hospitality services, restaurants, and medical practices. 

  • Nearly half (46% to be exact) of all searches have local intent.
  • According to Chatmeter, the common “near me” searches that trigger map listings have risen 900% in the past two years.
  • According to Hubspot, local searches result in a purchase 28% of the time.
  • An offline purchase is the result of nearly 78% of local searches on mobile devices, according to SEO Tribunal
  • Position one on the map pack results in 24% of all clicks, also according to SEO Tribunal.


How do you rank for local searches?

Focusing on a few key elements can help improve your local SEO results. 

  • Google Business Profile
  • Local Links and Citations
  • On-Page Optimizations
  • Keyword Research, Tracking, and Implementation

Google Business Profile

The very first and most critical step is your Google Business Profile listing (formerly Google My Business). This is the most valuable asset a local business has, second only to your website. You will either need to claim or create your listing and then optimize.

You must make sure that your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) are consistent across the web with what appears on this listing. This helps build credibility in the eyes of Google as well as the consumer. Listen to the podcast episode below to learn more about how to create a robust Google Business Profile.

Local Links and Citations

Link building has changed quite a bit, especially in the last few years. For example, you should not submit your website and business info to every directory listing site across the web. 

However, there is still value to the core listing services such as Yelp, YP, BBB, etc. Having your website as well as the correct NAP information will be a huge help for your business.

While you won’t want to submit your website to every deep web listing service, you will want to work to generate local backlinks to your website. These are very valuable to Google because they are relevant to your business and local to your area. Some of these include:

  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Sponsoring a local event (Look for a sponsor page on the event website)
  • Supplier links (Not necessarily local but a strong backlink)
  • Church websites
  • Local newspapers, and forums
  • Local bloggers

On-Page Optimization

We have touched on the off-page factors that can boost your rankings for local searches, now let’s take a look at what you can do on your website.

You should have localized content that matches what your searchers are looking for. These pages should have target keywords to help boost up your organic presence as well. Each page should be optimized with an appropriate title, headings, images, meta, alt, etc. If they don’t have these elements, you should refresh that content to add them.

The local NAP used on your website should be consistent with the Google Business Profile and every other listing as well.

These are some of the most critical local SEO ranking factors for your business. In many cases further and more ongoing work will be necessary due to the competitive nature of the industry. 

Keyword Research, Tracking, and Implementation

Along with on-page optimization, proper keyword research, tracking, and implementation is critical.

Local keyword research must be done to see how your customers are finding your business and services. It is also important to track these keywords and how they change over time.

Below is an example from the same industry and search area as before:

map pack example for "emergency plumber washington dc" search

We can see that the maps are pulling “emergency plumbing” keywords from the site. This is why a business would want to optimize services keywords for their local area.

Why is local SEO important to your future? 

Nobody ever truly knows what the next major update from Google will look like, as well as what the changes in user behavior will entail. 

One-third of the population is now using voice search, which can drastically change search queries and how people make decisions.

This is why it is important that local SEO is not done with a “set it and forget it” mentality. What ranked you above the competition in the past may not work in the future.

Get started with local SEO

As mentioned earlier, the return on investment for local SEO is astronomical. Building credibility with Google early will increase your rankings. But this will take time. Especially if the industry is highly competitive or if your business is just getting started with its online presence. 

But this investment will be worth it when these keywords start to display your business as one of the top 3 map positions.

Here is what’s included in Local SEO services when you work with Silverback Strategies:

  • Local link building
  • On-page optimizations
  • Keyword research, tracking, and implementation
  • Google Business Profile optimization
  • Targeted local organic landing pages
  • Reputation management

Contact us today for a consultation with an SEO expert.

Brandon Lear | SEO Account Manager

Brandon is an SEO specialist with experience in home service, B2B, and e-commerce industries. He loves diving deep into nuances of SEO across industries to increase website visibility.

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