Today, every business has to struggle. We aren’t talking about the struggle that you face in the market. We are talking about struggling in the race to appear at the top of any searches when people look for similar businesses on Google and other search engines. Every business has countless other similar businesses to compete with. You need proper strategies to rank your business higher when searchers look for businesses in Edmonton. In other words, you need to up your local search engine optimization (SEO) game.
Local SEO is a lot different from your average SEO campaign, and the local search results are changing more rapidly than any other. So we will give you tips that will help you rank higher in the local market.
Who Exactly Needs Optimization for Local Search?
At first glance, it’s obviously those who want customers to walk through their doors physically. But those, who conduct business without meeting people face to face, are still going to need local SEO as long as there’s a benefit and opportunity to attract customers from a specific area (whether it’s a single town or an entire country). Many businesses fool themselves into thinking that, because their products or services are available to a worldwide market, there’s no benefit in specifically doing well in the region where they are located. This is often a mistake.
At its core, local SEO is about two things:
– Placing your site in the most visible spots in local search.
– Gaining your target audience’s trust.
And both are perfectly within your reach.
Here are the SEO tips for businesses in Edmonton.
Use Local Keywords
This is the most important of all SEO tips for businesses in Edmonton. Normal search can be described as “find me this thing“. Local search adds an extra component: location. Users tell the search engines “find me this thing in this place“, and all other places are recognized as irrelevant and filtered from the results. What remains? Results that are relevant since they are about that thing in that place. And because websites rely on keywords to be found via search queries, you can imagine that not just any keywords will do. They will need that extra component.
Examples of local search-friendly keywords:
– Plumbers in Edmonton
– Electricians near me
– Real estate agents in Edmonton, Alberta
– Closest bicycle store
You can also try to include local jargon in your keywords (Example: Yeg). It’s a way to localize them without explicitly naming the place.
That’s how local keywords are different from normal keywords. The next thing you need is the best keywords to pick.
There are two major factors.
– Search volume: The number of monthly searches by users. The higher this number, the more users you can potentially attract through search engines, so aim as high as you can.
– Search intent: A good keyword clearly represents what the users are trying to find. Local keywords are already more specific about that thanks to including a location, but you can increase your chances to attract the users you need by doubling down on details. Compare these two keywords: “dentist in Edmonton” and “emergency (or 24/7) dentist in Edmonton“. Adding extra detail signals to potential customers that you have exactly what they want.
Now, with all of the above in mind, all that’s left to do is find the best local keywords for your site. There is a long list of keyword research tools that you can use for this purpose. Just don’t forget to add the location or a local tag to the keyword.
Create a Google My Business Listing
Another one of the helpful SEO tips for businesses in Edmonton is Google My Business – Google’s free tool for managing your appearance in local search. Let’s make this clear: these days, there is no local SEO without Google My Business. If you don’t create a listing there, customers will have so much trouble finding your business that they will probably not bother with you at all. The benefits of using GMB are so enormous that everyone wants to successfully register with them, and disregarding them means to doom your business to obscurity.
If you still need more motivation, here’s what you will get for creating a listing on GMB.
1) Ranking boost in local search.
2) Google Maps: a spot on the map for every address you occupy.
3) Local 3-pack: a place in that list with three results under Google Maps.
4) Knowledge Panel: the large panel with information at the top right side of Google’s first page.
Head over to the Google My Business page for adding and claiming GMB listings and enter your most important business information such as the name, address, phone number (NAP) to ensure your business doesn’t already have a listing that you need to claim. Create or claim your Google My Business listing to help improve your local search visibility and performance. Fill out the remaining input boxes with your business details, ensuring everything is accurate and grammatically correct (capitalize your business name, street names, etc.). Be sure to find the best relevant category for your business (there are a lot of variations to choose from).
The last option listed asks if the business being created delivers goods or services to customers at their location. This is valuable for many businesses that operate away from their brick-and-mortar headquarters and, typically, at the home or business of the customer (cleaning services, construction companies, pest control, other home services, etc.).
Get Local Links
Building good quality links from good quality local websites is critical for local pack visibility. Links are a well-known SEO ranking factor and their importance isn’t diminished when moving from traditional organic SEO to local SEO. In fact, our research shows that 100% of local SEO experts think link building is an effective way to boost local rankings, with local news, community and industry sites being the best sources of inbound links. As you might expect, the community is at the heart of local link building. Seeking out volunteering positions and searching for ways to give back to your community provide tons of link-building potential for Edmonton local SEO. Many of the link-building tactics you may already be familiar with can be adapted for local link acquisition. Research the sites that share a niche with you – backlinks from there will be the most valuable. You can look up many examples of such sites in the Content Submission tool.
What Kind of Sites Should You Look for?
– Local forums
– News portals
– Blogs about local events
– Other businesses’ sites
– Business directories
It’s also a great idea to check your local competitors’ backlinks – their linking domains could be useful to you too.
Creating locally-relevant content is a good place to start, as is reaching out to local newspapers and media outlets with newsworthy updates from your business. Local and regional media will often host annual business awards: entering a relevant category can lead to coverage and a link. Collaborating with a local influencer could also be an option, depending on your industry and business type.
Online reviews, today, have a lot of importance. The volume of reviews you have, how often new reviews are posted, how many positive versus negative reviews you have, and how many reviews you have mentioning keywords or using images are all taken into consideration. As with most of our local SEO tips for businesses in Edmonton, taking time to establish a review generation and management process has wider benefits beyond simply boosting your local search rankings. Reviews are used as a decision-making aid by the majority of consumers, meaning they can directly impact your bottom line, too. Google is a popular review platform in its own right and generates more new reviews than its closest rival Facebook by a large margin. It makes sense to boost your business’ visibility in its immediate geographical area and focus on generating Google My Business reviews from unbiased local customers, especially if resources are limited. To get started, develop a few ways to physically ask all of your customers to leave a review. This could be done as part of a transactional email confirming shipping. Once reviews start coming in, be timely with responses, thank customers for their feedback, and take note of any areas which pinpoint opportunities for service improvement.
Don’t limit yourself to Google; try other local directories and platforms too that are renowned in Edmonton and are related to your business. For instance, if you are a restaurant or eatery, encourage and manage reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Build Accurate Citations
Building citations is one of those things that sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. A citation simply means your business information (name, address, phone number) is displayed online. Typically, you’ll find these on directory sites, on social media profiles, and in content such as event listings or local newspaper stories online. Citations are often included with beginner local SEO tips because they are easy to implement and are a top 5 local pack ranking factor according to Moz. They’re considered ‘table stakes’ for local search. If you don’t get citations, you don’t get a seat at the table. Other than Google, a lot of other websites use citations as a source of business information, so it’s important that you have sufficient citations to be found and that those citations are both consistent and accurate. Out-of-date or incorrect details can send confusing signals, both to search engines looking to verify your data for local pack purposes and to consumers wishing to find your business with a view to contacting or visiting you. You can build citations manually, via a data aggregator, or by using a citation building service, which may well perform the other two for you. If you’re going to build citations manually, you’ll need to source a list of citation sites and visit each one to submit your business information in turn. It’s vital to ensure that your NAP is entered consistently on every site. You should aim to build a mix of citations from local sources, industry sites, and general directories.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile
The way things are going, it’s fairer to say that PCs are competing with mobile devices for online traffic, not the other way around. Still, the two often work in tandem like this: users look up a product on a mobile device and switch to a PC to make a purchase. Here are two things for you:
– Don’t be too alarmed if bounce rates are high and CTRs are low when examining mobile traffic.
– Make your site mobile-friendly so it might convince users to seal the deal right there – without switching to a PC.
Now for achieving mobile-friendliness, there’s quite a lot of work to do, but it all boils down to making your site easy to use on mobile devices. Since you don’t normally make two separate sites for mobile devices and PCs (at least you shouldn’t), your site needs to be optimized for both at the same time.
But here are all the necessary steps.
1) Large, easy-to-read text.
2) High-quality images with minimum file size.
3) Mobile responsive design.
4) Low page load time.
5) Space between paragraphs of text, links and interactive elements.
Also, try using your site yourself to make the final judgment. Bonus points if you check your site from several devices with different-sized screens.
Localize the Website Content
Whether you have a single brick-and-mortar location in Edmonton or multiple stores in various locations inside as well as outside Edmonton, localizing your website is an essential, yet fairly easy, task. For single-location businesses, localization can take place site-wide. An easy place to start if your local business website is focusing on one location) is to check that you have your full address on each page of your site (most likely in the site footer). You should also add local keywords into page titles and page content, where it’s relevant to do so. For businesses with more than one physical location inside or outside Edmonton, you’ll need to create a dedicated landing page for each of your premises. Each page should include that location’s full address, including street name, zip code, and state, as well as useful information about that outlet.
For example, you may wish to offer driving directions, a list of services specific to that location, opening times, and other helpful details such as the location of the nearest car park (again, including street address). For both types of local businesses (single and multi-location), localized content should also form part of your content marketing strategy.
Make Rich Snippets with Structured Data
What’s the best way to make your search results more clickable? Titles, meta descriptions, URLs – these are all good places to start and improve. But the absolute killer way is to turn your results into rich snippets. Look at these examples:
Don’t they look enticing? You can make these for literally any site. All you need to do is schema markup (also known as structured data) and the knowledge about how to use it. What do you normally mark up on a website for a local business?
2) Telephone number
3) Opening hours
4) Review score
6) Menu (for the foodservice industry)
7) Number of rooms (for hotels)
8) Number of screens (for movie theatres)
And more. Anything you want to show in your search result, you name it.
There are two important things to keep in mind with structured data:
– Mark up the information on your web pages correctly. If you don’t, your rich snippets will show your information in the wrong places – for example, your product prices where your telephone number should be.
– Validate your pages with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. It’s the easiest way to spot any errors you may have made.
While some of the tips are one-off activities where you can set it and forget it (e.g. making sure your NAP is clearly written on your site), other tasks, such as building reviews and publishing locally relevant content, is an activity your business needs to do on an ongoing basis for long-term local SEO success. If you think this is too much for you to manage alongside your business in Edmonton, leave it to us. Rapid Boost Marketing is an established form in Edmonton specializing in all types of local and global digital marketing services. We want to see you on the first page of Google and will create the right path for you to achieve the same.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.