Nick LeRoy is the Director of SEO at ICF Next – His SEO experience includes working with large brands such as Wiley Education, Discover Boating and Betty Crocker in addition to bringing lunch talks to companies all around Minnesota with #SEOForLunch. If you sign up for ONE newsletter about SEO news – it should be his! Check it out here.
Watch the entire video here – or read each key tip bullet-pointed below!
Ensure your Google My Business listing is fully complete and updated often (local SEO)
You don’t have to have a beautiful website to get started on your visibility on Google. Create a highly optimized Google My Business listing, and if you don’t have it 100% filled out – do it now!
- You can sign up even if you don’t have a website.
- Make sure you have reviews.
- Make sure your name, address, and phone number are consistent all over the web.
- Add photos of your team and office, even if they aren’t perfect.
- Make sure your every single field is filled in – and take it seriously.
- Use your legal name entity (or make sure it’s consistent all over the web.)
To understand how many clicks/sessions are coming to your site from Google My Business listing – add a UTM parameter to the link on your GMB listing. This will allow you to parse out in Google Analytics.
Add ” /?utm_source=gmb ” to the end of your website link.
Sort in Analytics by Acquistion > Source/Medium > in the search box put “gmb” – here’s an example
Keyword research is the foundation of any good SEO strategy. Before you write or do on-page SEO, spend a good amount of time ensuring that those keywords you’re focused on actually have a good amount of search volume. Use your own knowledge of your area where appropriate.
- Do keyword research in Ahrefs, SEMRush, Keywords Everywhere, or Google’s Keyword Planner
- Focus on the areas you really want to serve, and that you can provide a high level of service to.
- It’s ok if you understand the market to go after terms with less ‘keyword volume’ if you KNOW that there are people looking for that service there.
Ensure you have proper “On-page optimization” – with super-targeted and descriptive titles, descriptions, headers, content optimization, etc.
Don’t do ‘keyword stuffing’ but do mention the keyword, and mention synonyms and ‘shoulder topics’ to round out the content – make sure the content reads naturally and services the ‘intent of the searcher’ above all. Comprehensiveness is important but answer critical questions quickly and without the fluff.
- Incorporate the keywords all throughout your content
- Name your images with-keywords-in-them-like-this.jpg
- Add the keyword to meta-titles and descriptions.
- For 2020 – be careful not to ‘stuff keywords’ – Nick talks about the new Google Algorithm Update BERT – ‘Natural Language Processing’ – and not using ‘fluffy content’ but rather making sure that the content is the absolutely best for a particular search.
Make sure your site is 100% Mobile-friendly (Google’s mobile-first indexing)
Not only should your site load and fit the screen without people having to pinch and zoom – but there should also be a useful and well-ordered experience on mobile devices. Google is now crawling your site on mobile-first, and for many people, their mobile traffic is exceeding that of people finding the site on desktops and laptop computers.
- Google is now indexing websites mobile-first.
- Make sure your content is all accessible from a mobile device.
- If you have a separate mobile version, try to move to a ‘responsive‘ design.
Site speed – faster is better, for both user experience and google (SEO) benefits
If there’s one thing local businesses should prioritize in 2020 along with having a fully optimized Google My Business listing, it’s making sure their site is lightning fast to provide the best possible experience to people looking for answers and services QUICK.
- Google wants a ‘sub 1-second’ load time for mobile, and a ‘sub 3-second’ load time for desktop.
- Use caching, minification, and CDN to get as low as you possibly can without sacrificing the ‘user experience’
- Images are usually the one place where you can find a lot of savings – use a tool like Pingdom, to identify bloat and systematically cut out things creating heavier load times.
As we mentioned at the beginning of the post – if you have one SEO newsletter you sign up for – make it Nick Leroy’s!
It’s accessible, but also up to the day SEO news without the fluff. Check it out here.
Looking a savvy SEO team? SEO niches we serve: Roofing, Plumbing, HVAC, Law Firm, Financial Services, Construction, Medical. Some cities where we serve clients: Chicago, New York, Omaha, Detroit, Dallas, Cincinnati.