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June 7 2010

SEO for Local Business

Blog written by: Dean Richard, CEO of Compass SEO - an amazing new SEO consulting firm located in Bellingham, WA. Please click here to view the website, and click here to email Dean directly.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is on the rise, and rightly so.  Recent studies show that the first three results in any given Google search yield 60% of the clicks.  As if that wasn’t proof enough, read that sentence again- the word ‘search’ is redundant after ‘Google’.  In our world, we no longer search for something- we Google it.  So it is only natural that any business would want to rank #1 on Google- or any other search engines- search results.

This doesn’t just apply to large name-brands, either.  If you have even a small local business, you have every reason to invest in SEO- in fact; you probably have more reasons than large name-brands.  So what can you do to help your local businesses website rise in the rankings?

Spend some time on your site, and look at it from a customers perspective- does it inspire them to convert, either by purchasing something online or coming into your store?  It doesn’t have to be flashy, but is it effective?  Dressing up your site is a great place to start for SEO.  While you’re there, how are your keywords?  That is, when Google looks at your site, how strong is your message.  Two great free(!) tools are the Google Keyword Tool and the SEOmoz term extractor.  Use the keyword tool to see what keywords you should focus on and then run your site through the term extractor and see how you match up.

Once you have taken a look at your site and improved it, it’s time to move ‘off-page’.  If at all possible, start a blog and keep it updated regularly.  This will generate fresh content for your site, and provide a ‘personal touch’ for your product.

Further off-page is links.  Other websites linking to yours is one of the most important areas of your SEO- especially for a local business.  Nowhere is ‘world wide web’ more fitting- Google and other search engines look at your links as the strands that connect you to the rest of the web, and define your place in it.  How do you go about getting links that will help your SEO?

For any local business, the easiest way is to think of the sites you frequent that are related to your business.  Are the local directories (cough, cough, Seattle Umbrella) you can submit your site to?  Are there blogs you could write a guest post for, which then include a link back to your site?  Online journals you can submit articles to?  The possibilities are endless.  A word of caution, though: be sure avoid ‘link spam’, that is hundreds (or even hundreds of thousands- no joke!) of links from spammy sites that are little more than lists of links.  This can actually hurt your SEO.  If you use the Google toolbar, add the PageRank tool and this will tell you on a scale of 1-10 how trustworthy the site is.

Those are just a couple ways you can improve your SEO.  If you really want to do a lot to move up in the rankings fast, consider hiring a SEO consultant.  They can allow you to concentrate on your business while they take care of your SEO.  Depending on the size of your business and your goals, don’t be afraid to read up on SEO and work at it yourself, though- the results might surprise you!

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Category: Seattle Umbrella News
Posted by: Dana Silverman
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