Table of Contents
With more than 200 ranking factors, Google has high standards for the content it shows to users. And learning to reach these standards takes time. Whether you are just starting a website or have been doing search engine optimization (SEO) for a while, you likely have tons of questions about SEO. Today, we cover some of the most common SEO FAQs, broken down into sections on general, on-page, off-page, technical, and local SEO factors.
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General SEO questions
To optimize your website content to its potential, you have to start with the basics. A strong foundation helps you understand how each SEO technique works to make your website better for users and crawlers. Here are some definitions and explanations of some broader SEO topics.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s a digital marketing strategy aimed at improving the visibility of web pages in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
When a user searches a term in an engine like Google, Google shows them a search engine results page (SERP) with listings of web pages ranked in descending order of relevance. SEO helps website owners get their web pages listed higher in these rankings. And higher rankings are correlated with more organic traffic (unpaid traffic).
There are three main pillars of SEO: technical, on-page, and off-page SEO. They comprise all of the techniques and tactics that marketers use to improve their site visibility and content quality.
Why is SEO important?
SEO is important because it gives websites a bigger potential audience and greater chances for more organic traffic. Without a dedicated SEO strategy, brand content may get lost in search engine results pages. Since Google handles more than a trillion search queries each year, its SERPs are prime digital real estate for generating leads, connecting with new customers, and making sales.
What is the difference between SEO and PPC?
Both SEO and PPC help brands increase their traffic, but PPC traffic costs money while traffic from SEO does not. Here are some of the other important differences between SEO and PPC:
- PPC ads tend to have higher click-through rates.
- The results from PPC ads stop when the campaign is finished. SEO continues to show results over time.
- The ad software that runs PPC campaigns changes less often than the search algorithm, which impacts SEO rankings.
- Investing in SEO typically costs less long-term than PPC.
Will PPC help my SEO?
PPC won’t directly help your SEO performance, but it can help in other ways. When you have ads where users can see them, this improves brand awareness. The marketing benefit of repeated exposure compounds over time. This may lead to more website visitors, increased visibility, and ultimately better rankings.
Should I do SEO, PPC, or both?
The ideal digital marketing approach depends on the type of business you have. PPC can be great for short-term results, which generate more sales. It is especially recommended for ecommerce sites whose primary goal is to find new clients, increase revenue, and boost brand awareness.
SEO works the best for long-term, sustainable results. This strategy works well for newer brands that may not have a large following yet. Over time, it helps to generate credibility and relevance within an industry.
Some businesses benefit more from PPC, while others benefit more from SEO, and many use a combination of the two. Which you choose depends on your business goals.
What’s the difference between SEO and SEM?
SEO and PPC combine to form a SEM (search engine marketing) strategy. In other words, SEM is a broader term that describes both paid and organic approaches to increasing traffic through search engines.
How does Google rank content?
When processing search queries, Google has several algorithms that determine the most relevant results. Google pulls pieces of content in its index (database) that match the user’s needs. It factors in things like when the content was published, whether or not it uses keywords and phrases, who created it, and how many links are pointing to it (credibility) and how well it answers the search query (and many others).
What is white hat SEO?
White hat SEO is the type of SEO that adheres to all of a search engine’s policies and guidelines. This strategy is recommended because it ensures that your site won’t get penalized for cutting corners.
Plus, white hat SEO tactics keep users safe when they come to your website and provide a better experience overall. Some of these tactics include building links, improving mobile site performance, and decreasing page load time.
What is black hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is the type of SEO that doesn’t follow search engine guidelines. It includes tactics like buying backlinks, keyword stuffing, and spamming comment sections.
Implementing black hat techniques can lead to Google penalties or banishment altogether from SERPs. If you want to build a successful website for the long term, avoid this strategy.
What is gray hat SEO?
Gray hat SEO refers to an approach somewhere in between white and black hat techniques. While this approach isn’t as risky as a full-on black hat strategy, the tactics aren’t definitively “legal” with the search engine. That’s to say, gray hat practices won’t be in direct violation of SEO guidelines, but they could still result in penalties from Google.
What is a Google penalty?
A Google penalty is a punishment that websites get when they’ve violated a guideline or policy. Most commonly, a penalty is a decrease in the site’s SERP rankings. Sometimes websites get banned from the search engine altogether. The duration and extent of a Google penalty depends on the type of violation that occurs. Brands can get a penalty even if they unintentionally violate a guideline.
Why isn’t my content ranking?
Your content may not be ranking for many reasons, including:
- The target keyword is too competitive.
- Google crawlers can’t access your page.
- You’ve broken Google or Bing webmaster guidelines, resulting in a penalty.
- Your content doesn’t satisfy user intent.
- The content hasn’t been published for very long.
- Search engine crawlers haven’t indexed the content yet.
- You don’t have any internal links to the page.
The Google Search Console dashboard has an Index Coverage Report which shows how many/which web pages on your site have been indexed. If your content is in the index but isn’t ranking, it most likely means that the content itself needs adjusting.
Does social media affect rankings?
While Google does not use social media to determine rankings, Bing does. Having an active social media presence can improve your overall brand awareness, however. It shows users that you are a legitimate player in the industry.
Plus, social media is a powerful local SEO tool that helps you engage with the surrounding community. These things can lead to better brand visibility in the long run, which may improve your rankings.
How much does SEO cost?
SEO costs vary depending on the size of your website and which type of professional you hire (freelancer, team, etc.). On average, the majority of SEOs charge $100-$150 per hour. Also, the cost of contract-based SEO work is most commonly between $501 and $1000 total:
Can I do SEO myself, or do I need to hire a professional?
There are a variety of factors that influence whether you should hire a professional. These include things like:
- How much content you have
- How competitive your industry is
- How much money is in your marketing budget
- How big or small your staff is
- How old your website is
It is possible to do SEO yourself, but any of these factors can make the process more difficult. If you’re just starting and don’t have too much content yet, you might try to save money and do some SEO without help. As your site grows, or if your content is ranking well in your industry, you may then decide to hire a professional.
Many people find that they have less time to monitor their SEO metrics as they increase their conversions through SEO. This is when many small business owners hire an SEO professional to handle at least a portion of the work.
What are the most important Google ranking factors?
While there are hundreds of Google ranking factors to consider, here are some of the most important:
- Page speed
- Backlink profile
- Keyword usage and relevancy
- Content quality (unique, comprehensive, etc.)
- Site organization and structure (URLs, headings, etc.)
- Search intent satisfaction
- User experience (alt text, image quality, content readability, etc.)
Remember, Google displays what it considers to be the most relevant and helpful pieces of content. Most of the top ranking factors have to do with overall user experience and demonstration of quality content.
Does SERP CTR affect click-through rate?
Google has not definitively stated that SERP clicks lead to a higher click-through rate for a website. Many SEO experts believe that Google looks at user activity to determine rankings in the future, however.
Bing does use SERP CTR to determine rankings. This means that the more clicks you get on your search listing, the better rankings you’re likely to have, and the more people are likely to see it.
Are content management systems good for SEO?
On its own, a content management system (CMS) won’t bring traffic to your website. However, many of these systems have built-in features (and integrations with plugins) which help webmasters implement basic SEO techniques. Here are some of the top ones:
- WordPress: One of the most popular platforms, WordPress SEO features include responsive design capabilities and many plugins for building sitemaps, writing meta descriptions, and more.
- Wix: The Wix SEO features include structured data markup, robots.txt, and XML sitemap documentation, and instant indexing (among others).
- Joomla: It includes extensions to help you streamline your Joomla SEO efforts.
- Drupal: A highly customizable CMS, Drupal SEO services like automated titles/descriptions and optimized URL structures add to its popularity among users.
On-page SEO FAQ
Creating high-quality content is at the heart of SEO success. Optimization related to content marketing makes up a major portion of SEO techniques. Refer to these answers to create the most SEO-friendly content possible.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the process of making website content (content visible to users like text, video, images, etc.) better so that it will rank higher on search engine results pages and draw more organic traffic. It is one of the primary pillars of SEO. Some examples of on-page tactics include:
- Doing keyword research
- Writing high-quality content
- Creating optimized meta descriptions and title tags
- Using headers to organize a page
- Adding alt text to images
These and other on-page SEO techniques make a website more accessible, easier to navigate, and more relevant to search engine users.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of finding user search terms to base content on. Keyword research aims to find words and phrases related to your business that people search for.
Using the information you learn during this process, you can create content that answers their questions. This will help you generate traffic to your website by climbing Google rankings and becoming a trusted source of information for potential customers.
How do you do keyword research?
To do keyword research, you first need to make a list of which topics are most relevant to your brand. After listing out broad topics, start writing down more specific subtopics that you can write about.
For example, if your main topic is “travel,” subtopics might be “how to pack a suitcase” or “things to bring on an overseas trip.” Then, using a keyword planner or the search engine itself, locate related search terms. A great place to look is the “People also ask” box on Google:
Cross-reference your keyword ideas with search volume data. You can do this using tools like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or Google Keyword Planner. This tells you which terms have a higher search volume. You can save time and reach more customers by properly researching relevant keywords before you write your content.
What are long-tail keywords? Why are they valuable?
Long-tail keywords are search terms that have lower search volumes. This is typically because they are more specific than general search terms. Despite generating less overall traffic, long-tail keywords tend to result in higher conversion rates.
That’s because people who search for these terms already have a good idea of what product, service, or information they need. By targeting long-tail keywords, you can often find more customers than if you target more popular, short-tail terms. This is for two reasons:
- Many brands only compete for the most obvious searches because they generate the most traffic, leaving Google with fewer options for lower-volume queries.
- Long-tail keywords are more specific, which means that users probably have a better idea of the product or service they’re looking for. By optimizing for these terms, you position yourself as the solution to their problem. This gives you a better chance of making a sale, getting someone to opt in to an email subscription, etc.
They often come from voice searches from technology like Amazon Echo, Siri, and Google Assistant:
What are short-tail keywords? Why are they valuable?
Short-tail keywords are search terms with a high search volume. They also go by the name “head terms.” These are broader topics like “legal services” or “lunch recipes,” which many people search for each month.
They are valuable because they can help you establish your site’s presence in a niche. Head terms have more competition than long-tail keywords, so it’s harder to rank highly for them. Still, having web pages dedicated to relevant industry short-tail keywords shows the search engine where you want your content to rank.
And for bigger businesses with lots of resources, head terms can help generate a significant source of traffic while establishing the business as a leader in its industry.
What are LSI keywords?
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are phrases and words related to your main keyword. They are like cousins to the primary search term. For example, if your keyword is “lunch recipes,” LSI keywords might be “lunches to pack for kids” or “meal prepping lunches for work.”
Google identifies which words are commonly used for a topic. This collection of LSI keywords helps crawlers understand how pieces of content relate to one another (creating richer search results):
What is search intent, and why is it so important?
Search intent is the motivation behind a user search. There are four main types of user search intent that you should consider:
It is important to understand search intent so that your content is relevant to users. If you don’t know why someone is searching a keyword, you won’t be able to provide them with the most helpful content for their search. Search intent is so important to Google’s algorithm that today it can trump other powerful ranking factors like backlinks and domain authority.
How do you discover search intent?
Look at current search engine rankings for user search intent. Google your target keywords and make note of the following information:
- Type: What kinds of content are ranking for the top spot? Are they how-tos, full-length guides, link roundups, etc.?
- Format: How has the information been organized? Is it in listicle form, step-by-step, paragraphs with photos throughout, etc.?
- Angle: What is the content trying to do? Is it teaching users about a topic, recommending products, trying to get them to buy a product, or sign up for a service/email list, etc.?
Using this information, you can determine what users are looking for. The search results often provide helpful tips on style, design, organizing, and writing your content for search intent.
What is a meta title, and how do you write a good one?
A meta title, also known as a “title tag,” is the headline for a page that goes on the browser tab. It also shows up in the SERPs as the hyperlinked text that searchers click on to get to your website.
Search engine crawlers read these meta tags to understand the page better. They should be 55 characters or less, use a key phrase or word, and capture the overarching topic of the page:
What is a meta description, and how do you write a good one?
A meta description is a small excerpt underneath your SERP listing. It explains the content or gives users helpful information upfront. To write a good meta description:
- Include the target keyword.
- Avoid repeating content in the title
- Describe your unique selling point (USP).
- Have a call-to-action (CTA).
- Don’t use the same description for two pages.
What is a title tag, and how do you write a good one?
How do you optimize a blog post for SEO?
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of optimizing blog posts for SEO:
- Do keyword research to determine the main topic for the post.
- Determine what kind of content the user needs. What is their reason for searching for these terms?
- Incorporate the keywords into the meta description, title tag, and written content.
- Write content that aligns with the top-ranking posts. In some cases, these are specific to the year or season (EX. “best fall boots for 2021”). In other cases, the topic requires evergreen content that will provide value for a long time (EX. “how to change a tire”).
- Organize the web page for readability. Consider using headers, a navigation menu, table of contents, etc., so that the page is easy to navigate.
- Add alt text to the images in your post.
- Make sure to add internal links to other posts on your blog.
- Create a simple URL structure for the post.
- Promote the post on social media.
Does content freshness matter?
Content freshness matters depending on the search query. If your content is about “Classic Furniture Styles for all Houses,” for example, it may still rank years later because the information hasn’t changed with the times. If, however, your content is about “The Best Furniture Trends of 2021,” it may not rank after the current season. If your content is seasonal, it will require regular updates to maintain a high ranking.
Does content length matter?
Content quality is more important than content quantity. Research does show, however, that the average length of a top-ranking post is 2,450 words. Google ultimately wants content that is comprehensive and answers the user’s search query.
Sometimes that is short, like when the user is looking for a definition, for example. Other times, it’s long, like when the user is looking for an article on how to invest in the stock market.
When creating content, worry less about the length and more about addressing all the important points on the topic. It’s also a great idea to use top-ranking results for the search term as a guide. If all the results on page 1 are over 2,000 words, you’ll probably have to write at least that to have a chance at ranking well.
Are videos good for SEO?
Videos are great for SEO because they represent over half of all web activity. It also helps you serve more users. Some people prefer watching a how-to over reading a how-to. And some search queries are better suited to video content than written content.
For example, the search term “how to do keyword research” is likely to return a lot of written content. On the other hand, a search like “how to hem jeans” is likely to return more videos. Adding video content helps users view a topic from multiple angles and can be very effective at selling products.
What are internal links, and how do I use them?
Internal links are references to other pieces of content on your website. Search engine crawlers find new content to crawl and index by following these internal links. They also help users find other important information that’s related to the current page.
Nearly every web page on your site should link to other pages (standalone landing pages are an exception). Simply hyperlink a portion (2 to 5 words) of the text so that they will go to the next page when users click on it.
Why are internal links important?
Internal links are important because they help the search engine find all the pages on your website. If you haven’t submitted an XML sitemap to Google, the only way crawlers will find new pieces of content to index is by following internal links.
They can also increase the amount of time that visitors spend on your website while boosting user experience by providing your website visitors with web pages to dive deeper into a specific topic.
What are topic clusters?
Topic clusters are pieces of content on a website that are centered around a common topic. For example, a site that sells sporting goods items might have topic clusters for women’s athletic gear, men’s athletic gear, water sports, team sports, etc. They are centered around pillar pages which have many pieces of specific content linked to them.
What is a pillar page?
A pillar page is a piece of content centered around a broad topic. They are comprehensive and provide many different types of information, including (but not limited to):
- History and/or background
- Statistics and data
- Additional resources and tools
- How-to steps
- Practical uses and examples
From this landing page, users can access cluster content that goes into more details on specific subtopics.
What are some popular tools for on-page SEO?
Manage your on-page SEO with these popular tools:
- Google Search Console
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
- All in One SEO WordPress plugin
- Moz Pro
- Yoast SEO WordPress plugin
- Screaming Frog
- Rank Math
Off-page SEO questions
Aside from optimizing the content on your site, there are many things you can do to gain traffic from other websites. These approaches can be more difficult to manage because the results aren’t directly in your control.
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO is the set of techniques that build credibility with Google and other search engines. This works by generating backlinks, which are links to your website from external sources.
These links are like upvotes to Google, proving that your content has value and that it is trustworthy enough for other sites to send their visitors to. The goal of off-page SEO is to build more backlinks that improve your site’s reputation, and in turn, its search rankings.
What are backlinks?
Backlinks are links to one of your web pages from another website. In other words, you get a backlink each time another site refers its visitors to you.
Why are backlinks important?
Backlinks are important for SEO because they show the search engine that your site is credible. A strong backlink profile (the total sum of all your referrals) has various sources and several high-authority sources. Having votes of confidence from peers in your industry will positively impact how Google ranks your content. Backlinks are one of Google’s most heavily weighted ranking factors.
How do you generate backlinks to your site?
To get backlinks, you need to create content worth sharing. These are some of the most effective methods for generating backlinks:
- Writing guest blogs
- Replacing broken links
- Reclaiming lost links
- Publishing press releases
- Creating infographics
- Doing industry research and/or data collection
- Making FAQ pages for industry topics
- Posting on forums
- Writing testimonials
- Running an active social media account
What is the difference between dofollow and nofollow links?
Dofollow and nofollow links are attributes that you can tag your links with. They tell crawlers whether or not they should crawl a linked page.
Search engine crawlers do not crawl, and index content from “nofollow” links while they do index content from “dofollow” links. While nofollow links shouldn’t affect your SEO performance, there is evidence to suggest that they might. On the other hand, dofollow links definitely impact because crawlers use the linked content to determine rankings.
Is guest posting for SEO dead?
Guest blogging for SEO is not dead, although it is less widely practiced than it once was. Search engines can’t distinguish between normal blog content and guest posts. As long as you’re creating high-quality content, guest posting can still be an effective link-building strategy.
What do domain ranking and domain authority mean?
Domain authority is a score of how likely your site is to rank highly. It is expressed on a scale of 1-100. The higher a site’s domain authority score, the better chances it has of securing a high rank in the SERPs.
Can I buy backlinks?
You can buy backlinks, but it’s likely to hurt your SEO. Links often cost hundreds of dollars and come from spammy sources. Purchasing them is a form of black hat SEO, and it can result in severe penalties and even banishment from search engine results.
What are some popular tools for off-page SEO?
Popular link building and analyzing tools for off-page SEO include:
Technical SEO FAQ
Many beginner websites focus primarily on the content and neglect the background data. In reality, the backend performance of a website is crucial to user experience. Here are some of the most common technical questions that SEOs come across when first getting started.
Google’s algorithm is mobile-first. What does that mean?
Mobile-first means that Google indexes content from the mobile version of a site. When it returns a search query, Google uses mobile web pages to determine all rankings, even if the search is conducted on desktop.
How do I test for a good mobile experience?
You can use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to assess your site’s mobile experience. It tells you how efficient your site is on mobile devices:
Use the suggestions in the report to improve things like layout, loading time, and image quality.
What is an XML sitemap, and how do I use one?
An XML sitemap is a file that lists out all of the pages on your website and where to find them. It is a road map for search engine crawlers that helps them better understand your site. As a result, they can crawl it faster and ensure they don’t miss any pages.
Many SEO plugins can create an XML sitemap for you. Once you have a sitemap ready to go, you can submit it to the search engine for use through Google Search Console.
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What is a robots.txt file?
A robots.txt file is a file that gives search engines specific instructions on how to crawl certain pages, including which pages they shouldn’t crawl at all:
Using a disallow tag, you can mark a web page as one that shouldn’t be indexed.
How does the canonical tag work?
When you have duplicate pieces of content, Google can’t decide which one to rank. The canonical tag tells the search engine which URL of a duplicated web page it should crawl:
Every time crawlers go to a duplicated page, the canonical tag will reroute them to the master copy for all indexing purposes.
What is an hreflang tag, and when should you use it?
An hreflang tag is an attribute that tells Google what language your content is written in. You should use it as part of your international SEO strategy when you have content for multiple regions and/or languages. It ensures that the page gets displayed for the correct users. Add a hreflang tag to either the HTTP header, sitemap, or content metadata.
What is schema markup, and why should I use it?
Schema markup is an HTML coding vocabulary that defines pieces of your content for the search engine. It is an important technical SEO component that makes your web pages easier for the crawlers to understand.
Using schema can result in rich snippets which are more attractive to users. This is because they provide extra information like star ratings, event dates/times, and more:
Because users will see the content’s value upfront, they can more easily decide whether or not to click on the page. Providing more details through schema markup also makes it easier for crawlers to determine the page’s main topic. When you add schema to your site, you define what certain pieces of information mean. Given more context, crawlers are more likely to put your content in front of the right audience. Over time, this can lead to better rankings.
Is site structure important?
Site structure is essential because it impacts both the crawling process and user experience. Crawlers need to be able to access the pages on your website. If you don’t have an organized structure, this will be very difficult.
The same goes for users. If people can’t find relevant information on your website, they will most likely leave and return to the SERPs.
Do redirects affect SEO?
Redirects only affect SEO if done incorrectly. You should use them when you need to delete old content or change URLs. This prevents users from seeing 404 errors which can damage your site’s credibility. You can use a WordPress SEO plugin to manage your redirects if you are unsure how to implement them correctly.
Do 404 errors affect SEO?
Google states that fixing 404 errors (in most cases) isn’t necessary because they don’t impact rankings. While incoming 404 errors won’t directly affect your SEO, they affect user experience, which is a big part of Google rankings. Make sure your visitors can get to the pages they’re trying to reach.
If you link out to 404 pages on other websites, references known as “broken links,” this can impact your SEO. That’s because they waste users’ time and are within your control to fix. They may take the time to try and find the resource they were originally looking for when they clicked through your broken link, but it’s more likely they’ll abandon the page and find another source for the information.
What is a crawl error?
A crawl error happens when crawlers can’t access one of the pages on your website. They are caused by problems like 404 errors, broken links, duplicate content, etc. This can negatively impact your rankings because the search engine may think your content is unreliable or low-quality.
Why isn’t my site being indexed?
It’s possible that Google hasn’t found your website yet, and that’s why it isn’t being indexed. If you have too many duplicate pages, this could also be creating an issue.
From a technical standpoint, a noindex tag or a robots.txt file with a disallow directive could also be the root cause. Make sure that you’ve submitted an XML sitemap to the search engine and removed anything that’s blocking Google from accessing your content.
How important is HTTPS?
In 2020, Google announced an update that certain aspects of the user experience would become major ranking factors. To determine the quality of a user’s experience on a web page, Google uses a set of criteria known as “Core Web Vitals.”
HTTPS encryption is one of these criteria because it shows whether user data is protected or not. Serving content over HTTPS is essential to keeping your site secure and can influence whether or not Google trusts your content. Without this setup, users will also see a security alert that may send them back to the search results.
Is site speed important?
Site speed is a critical user experience metric, as it is an official Google ranking factor. Research has shown that slow websites have higher bounce rates, and users are impatient when it comes to search results. Making your site faster may increase your conversion rate, too. That’s because users stick around long enough to explore a product line in full:
How fast should my site be?
According to the Google Search Central YouTube page, 2 seconds is an optimal page load time. There is research to suggest that each subsequent second has an impact on user engagement metrics like bounce rate. Any load time over 2.9 seconds puts you in the slower half of all web pages.
How can I speed up my site?
Speed up your site by:
- Compressing data files and images
- Relying on a content delivery network (CDN) for page loading
- Caching user data in the browser (speeds up load time for repeat visitors)
- Upgrading your hosting service
Where can I test my site speed?
Use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to test your overall site speed. Simply input your site’s main URL in the search box and click “analyze.”
The tool will tell you where your site is taking too long to load and also give a suggestion for how to improve it.
What is AMP?
AMP is an open-source platform for developing web pages that load near-instantaneously. It does this by restricting some of the code and makes it easier for the browser to render the page.
What are some tools for technical SEO?
Technical SEO tools can save you a lot of time troubleshooting simple errors. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Broken Link Checker
- Google Mobile-Friendly Test
- SEO Browser
- Screaming Frog
- Google Analytics
Local SEO questions
For brands with brick-and-mortar locations, local SEO is an essential part of getting new customers. Google searches for “store open near me” grew by more than 250% from 2017-2019. If your website isn’t optimized for these search results, you’re invisible to all the people searching them.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of making your business more visible in search results within your geographical location. The goal of local SEO is to ensure that people looking for stores in the area will be able to see yours as an option.
It includes tactics like NAP citation building, voice search optimization, and local keyword targeting. Without this process, you may be missing out on a significant amount of in-store traffic from people researching before they visit.
How is local SEO different from general search engine optimization?
Local SEO helps businesses improve their online visibility so they can earn more local customers. A general SEO strategy is for increasing organic search traffic when location is not a factor in delivering a product or service. If you don’t have a physical storefront, chances are you won’t need local SEO.
What are NAP citations?
NAP stands for “name, address, phone number.” A NAP citation is a directory reference to your business that includes those three pieces of information. Common places to find NAP citations include Yelp, YellowPages, and other industry-specific directories.
What is a Google My Business page? Why do I need it?
A Google My Business (GMB) page is a profile that displays user-relevant information about your business on both the Google Maps application and in SERP results. It includes information like:
- Contact information
- Customer reviews
- Hours of operation
Having a GMB profile is important for earning foot traffic from online searches. If a user is searching for restaurants in the area and your profile is missing/incomplete, they most likely won’t choose to visit you over a competitor.
What is the local snack-pack?
Google displays the top three most relevant local businesses when someone does a local search. This box is known as the local snack-pack. It is shown at the top of the results page and shows information like location, contact, website, reviews, and more for each business:
What are some good tools for local SEO?
Some of the best local SEO tools include:
- Whitespark: Citation opportunity finder
- BrightLocal: Full-scope local SEO tool
- Yext: Automated local listing management tool
- Moz Local: Local listing management tool
- Local SEO Checklist: Free list of local techniques to implement
- SEOPresser: Site auditor
- Synup: Local listing management tool
- BuzzStream: Backlink building tool
Get a complimentary SEO audit
SEO is a multi-layered strategy that takes time to implement. Understanding technical, on-page, off-page, and local SEO basics will help you build a strong foundation for more complex techniques down the road.
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