Many people think of SEO as something that's primarily used by ecommerce businesses to attract more customers online, but SEO, specifically local SEO, is also an invaluable tool for local businesses looking to get more leads or drive more foot traffic.
SEO as a whole is a huge concept, but one of the most important elements of search engine optimization for businesses and marketers to understand is on-page SEO, which deals with the optimization of websites.
When done right, on-page SEO can have a big impact on local SEO efforts, increasing the visibility not only of a business's website, but also of its other digital assets, such as its online business listings.
What Is On-Page SEO?
At its core, on-page SEO refers to the optimization of individual web pages, including their content and technical structure, to enhance their visibility and relevance for search engines.
This process involves tweaking various elements on a webpage to align with search engine algorithms and user expectations.
The components that make up on-page SEO are diverse, ranging from meta data and header tags to content quality and keyword optimization. Here are some of the most important components to understand:
Meta Titles and Descriptions
Meta titles and meta descriptions are concise snippets that provide a brief overview of a webpage's content and play a crucial role in influencing click-through rates from search engine results pages (SERPs).
Crafting compelling and keyword-rich meta titles and descriptions can significantly improve a page's chances of attracting relevant organic traffic.
Header Tags and Content Structure
Search engines prioritize well-organized and easily readable content. Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) contribute to the hierarchical structure of a page, signaling the importance of different sections.
Properly structured content not only aids search engine crawlers in understanding the page's context, but also enhances the overall user experience.
Keywords, or words and phrases that people use to search for products, services, and information online, are at the heart of all SEO.
Integrating relevant keywords naturally within all a site's content, including headings, body text, meta data, links, and everything else, helps search engines understand the topic and context of a webpage.
However, it's crucial to maintain a balance and avoid keyword stuffing, which can result in penalization by search engines.
URL Structure and Internal Linking
An organized URL structure contributes to both user experience and search engine crawlers' understanding of a page's content. Additionally, internal linking between pages on the same website establishes connections and strengthens the overall SEO profile.
Page Load Speed and Mobile Friendliness
User experience is paramount for search engines, and therefore pages with faster load times tend to rank higher, as they provide a smoother experience for visitors.
Additionally, due to the domination of mobile search, search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites, making responsiveness another critical on-page SEO factor.
How On-Page SEO Affects Local SEO
Local SEO is a specialized subset of search engine optimization that focuses on optimizing a business's online presence specifically for local search results.
On-page SEO plays a major role in influencing local rankings, as it allows businesses to tailor their web pages to meet the specific demands of local users and search algorithms.
Incorporating geo-specific keywords into content, meta tags, and other on-page SEO elements is crucial for local businesses.
For instance, a plumber located in Vancouver would want to include geo-tagged keywords like "Vancouver plumber" and "plumbing services in Vancouver," rather than only generic keywords like "plumber." This specificity signals to search engines that the business is relevant to local users searching for services in that particular area.
Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) consistency across the web is a critical factor for local SEO. On-page SEO can contribute to this by ensuring that NAP information is prominently displayed on the website. This both aids search engines in associating the business with its location and establishes trust with users.
Creating locally relevant content is another huge part of improving local SEO through on-page optimizations.
For instance, if a business has multiple brick-and-mortar locations or serves several different geographic areas, the webpage should have a dedicated local landing page for each location or service area. These landing pages should include local keywords and provide relevant info for potential customers.
A blog is another excellent medium for sharing locally relevant news, updates, and other information that can contribute to on-page and local SEO.
On-Page SEO and Local SEO for Business Listings
In addition to its website, a local business's most valuable digital assets are its online business listings, such as Google Business Profile, Apple Business Connect, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and others.
While on-page SEO only directly affects elements on a website, search engines consider all factors when determining local search rankings, so there is some interplay between on-page SEO and business listing optimization.
For instance, if NAP information isn't consistent across business listing profiles and the website, it can negatively impact local SEO efforts.
Google Business Profile Optimization
With Google dominating the local search market, it's crucial for all local businesses to take ownership of and maintain a well-optimized Google Business Profile. This includes providing accurate NAP information, selecting appropriate categories, and adding high-quality images.
The information on the Google Business Profile should align seamlessly with the on-page SEO strategies implemented on the business website. For example, the categories selected should match services offered on the site, and vice versa.
Reviews and Ratings
Customer reviews and ratings are another factor that search engines consider to determine local SERP rankings. Positive reviews not only contribute to a favorable online reputation, but also impact local rankings.
Encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews on Google Business Profile and other listings, as well as showcasing positive testimonials on the website, can boost both on-page SEO and local SEO.
Local Citations and Backlinks
Consistent business information across various online directories and platforms, known as local citations, reinforces the signals sent to search engines about a business's local relevance.
Backlinks from reputable local sources can also significantly impact a business's authority and visibility in local search results.
On-page SEO is a key part of any local SEO strategy, allowing business owners and marketing professionals to make changes to website content and structure that can benefit their rankings in local search results.
From the meticulous optimization of meta titles and descriptions to the natural integration of locally-targeted keywords in content, every aspect of on-page SEO contributes to a business's digital success.
Lastly, the synergy between on-page SEO and local SEO for business listings, such as Google Business Profile, fortifies a business's online presence and cements its position in local search results.