Local SEO is extremely important for any brick and mortar business who’s target market is their neighborhood.
So, if you own a local business such as a cafe, car sales lot, repair shop, computer store, hairdresser or any other service that people need but wouldn’t travel more than say 50 miles to get it, then you need to seriously consider your Local SEO rankings.
Two weeks ago WebMaxformance started working on a WordPress powered website for a car repair and customization shop in Fort Myers, Florida. The owner wanted this website to rank on the first page of search results for the main lines of service: Spray on bedlining, lettering and logo application, collision repair and car customization. The priority was on bedlining services, so naturally we decided to first focus our efforts on ranking for this service.
What it takes for a new website to rank high in local searches?
When we got the list of main services and address, we first did some resarch to find a suitable name for this new startup. The name needed to be:
- clear, so people can immediately know what the business and website is all about;
- memorable, so it’s easy to build a brand around it;
- easy to localize.
After a few days of brainstorming, we came up with a few suggestions, and the owner settled for www.palmbeachcustoms.com. It’s great for branding, it tells you the shop is all about customization of vehicles, and it’s quite localized, as the shop is on Palm Beach boulevard.
Names for startup businesses aren’t easy to promote, so when we thought of a name, we wanted to piggy-back on some big and well-known brands, so the name would get sticky fairly quickly. Leveraging the location of the well known Palm Beach Boulevard was a no-brainer too.
To rank high in local searches, the website should have the target location in its URL.
How important is the site structure for SEO?
After nailing down the brandable, localized brand name, we moved on to building the website’s structure. Site structure needs to please users and search engines alike, so the requirements for a good website structure of www.palmbeachcustoms.com were:
- offer immediate overview of all major services the workshop offers
- clearly convey user-centric, not self-centric focus
- intuitive and easy to navigate
To achieve these goals, we decided to use the main services as the primary navigation, and moved the corporate stuff to the side. In this case, we had enough space on the main navigation bar to squeeze everything on it by cutting down the navigation menu label items to single-word, while keeping a more descriptive slug. If this wasn’t the case, we’d just move the business-centric pages off to the footer, or place them onto the sidebar.
A good site structure planning created keyword-friendly and intuitive navigation tree that users will like.
Do websites really need Content Marketing to succeed?
After a brandable name and solid site structure, we got to a situation where this new website was…well, average… assuming that every other website has a solid site structure and a cleverly thought through brand name. At best, even if this site was in the top 1%, it wouldn’t be enough to rank well for a phrase such as “spray on bed lining in ft. myers”, which counts 8.8M results, or “spray on liners in ft. myers” that gets 14.4 million results (Bing):
When we checked the site traffic, honestly, it did come as surprise that palmbeachcustoms.com ranked #4 for the bedliner service, just ten days after the domain registration. Ahead of PBC we had two listings on Yellow Pages, and on #1 was a site of an old website owned by a multi-million dollar company, but the target page didn’t have strong business value as it had no clear call to action, so people had enough room to do plenty of “unsupervised thinking”, as Dr. Flint from MecLabs says. So, how did it get up there?
Well, the site name helped, so did the clever site structure. But what made the difference is SEO copywriting. Better yet, copywriting that not only pleases search engines, but users too.
The landing page for the bedliner service had to be good from an SEO, Readability and Usability perspective, as well as to have a clear call to action.
To achieve all three objectives we settled for a good mix of images, tables, lists, cleverly written text, some more pics, and an intriguing button for a call to action.
The text is targeting the keyphrase, which is also located in the Title and URL, thanks to the SEO-friendly site structure:
The keywords are sprinkled in the text, they’re found in lists and in H2 tags. The images also are named and ALT-ed with sentences that have the keywords.
The entire text is focused on user-benefits, and keywords are used naturally, so that they catalyze reading of the text instead of being stumbling blocks.
Every website that is populated with well-written text will rank better than sites without good SEOed user-friendly texts.