Local Business SEO Basics Part 2: Optimizing Your Website Specifically For Your Audience

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The major search engines have standards they hold all websites up to.
If a website doesn't make the cut in one area, it is considered less important and less relevant than the competition.
While every online presence must cater to a target audience in order to be effective, this must be approached strategically and consistently.
The good news is that if you are a local business and have geo-specific marketplace to target, you can achieve your goals in a few short months.
My intention is to give you a jumpstart on creating and executing on your strategy.
Before we can get into the minute details of a well-oiled and precise SEO campaign, some big picture items need to be determined.
I have countless clients that approach me and my firm about wanting to rank well and get lots of traffic.
Before anything of the sort can be considered and even be effective, business owners need to get clear on some things: 1) Who are you selling to? Do the people that buy your products and services even shop online for what you offer? 2) Why would anybody buy from you over your competition, and does your website communicate that clearly? 3) What are the specific results you are expecting out of your website? No, I am not the first SEO Professional to say such a thing, and I won't be the last.
Don't let the lack of originality on the above line items cloud your mind from what I am really communicating here.
You are in business for a reason.
You are good at what you do, and your products are superior.
The customers you serve are grateful that they met you and are happy to spend money with you again and again.
You need to figure out what it is that they see in you and your employees that makes you so special, and then you need to send that message from your website without apology.
At this point forget about the search engines and make your website for humans first.
Make sure your audience can read it and know exactly what you are about and why you and your company are the best, period.
You need to offer such a clear message and as many details as your audience could possibly want to know that by the time they make that final purchase decision, they think buying from you was their idea.
From an SEO and usability perspective, the name of this game is to have specific pages of your website ranking for specific terms on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
You want to break the information up into bite-size pieces, so if the readers want to learn more, the can choose to click over to another page and keep learning.
This also makes things easier for the search engines to know exactly what that specific page on your website is all about.
Most people think that when they do a search in Google that they are searching the Internet.
Wrong.
When you type a search phrase into Google, you are searching an index of websites that Google has found and has decided is the most relevant search result to your query.
So, as a website owner, it is extremely important that you keep each page of your website simple and specific so search engines can read the page, know exactly what it is about, and index it correctly.
One of the most vital mistakes SEO practitioners make when they are first starting out is they put all the attention on the home page of their website and ignore all of the other pages.
They often direct all external links pointing to the home page of their website only.
Then they spend all their time trying to stuff all the major key search phrases they want to rank for into the copy on the home page.
This is bad for several reasons: 1) While your home page is the first page of your website that comes up when people type in your domain name, it is not necessarily the page that will be the most relevant to prospective customers searching for a specific item, service, or piece of information you offer.
2) There is no way that you can possibly get the home page of your website to rank well on the SERPs if you cram it full of different key words.
The rule is you should assign no more that 3 to 5 search phrases to a page on your website.
A search phrase can be made up of more than one word, but you want every page of your website to be concise and specific to one topic.
If you have other topics and products to offer, create more pages for your website that can give the proper attention to each of the products, services, and pieces of information your website is intended to offer.
In our next installment of this article series I will get specific about how to make sure each page of your website is indexed properly, but for now, just make certain the information on your website communicates exactly what you are about, and in small concise chunks of information spread around multiple pages on your website.
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