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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
Do proper keyword research, use localized and extremely targeted keywords
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.
Watch this quick video to see how savvy businesses save time and hook better leads: