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SEO Search Engine Optimisation - Keeping it Simple 

If you are a business focussing on the local area to drum up business, then it is really important to focus on your local SEO; indeed, commentary on digital marketing spending for 2023 suggests that companies are planning to spend more money and time in the field of SEO. And that goes for any size of business! 
Of course, ‘Word of Mouth’ remains critically important and many businesses rely on this source, and arguably in some cases perhaps too much so. Printed Ads, once a key driver of inquiries, have less of an impact than they once did. 
Today, Web Browser Search Engines, dominated by Google, are fundamentally important and if you do not rank well online, for your services such as web design Watford or web designer near me then potential business development will be limited. 
However, the good news is that there are some super simple and essential actions any local business can take. 
Watford area on a map

Relevance of Local SEO – why is it important? 

Strong SEO should drive more leads and traffic to your website, which, if optimised to perform, will generate more conversions, and therefore more business. 
Also, those curious visitors browsing the web will be more aware of your business, which may lead to word-of-mouth mentions to others, building awareness. 
Indeed, your business may feature in the Google Map pack – those three businesses getting a special mention, following immediately those paying for Google Ads – and your special treatment is for free! 
Do not forget, local SEO can help a smaller business compete with the Big Boys and their much bigger resources yet fall short on local focus. 

What do you need to do? 

Google Business Profile 

Formerly referred to as Google My Business. Do not underestimate the power of this FREE local listing. You display your business name, address, location, contact details, and opening hours, add images, posts, FAQ,s and so on. Google provides helpful tips on how to optimise your profile, for anyone to follow. 
PLEASE NOTE that Google does take this seriously and into full consideration when ranking businesses in organic searches. Once visitors are looking at the profile listing, you will be able to direct them to your website for more information which may lead to direct inquiries.  
DO NOT pass up on this free opportunity. Here is a helpful link 

Smartphones in everyday life 

As you read this, you will probably already appreciate how the smartphone has become an integral part of everyday life for most. 
It is estimated that over 60% of the population has a smartphone and that 70% of smartphone searches can trigger an action within the hour. People are always browsing for local information like where to eat, product information, services, answers to questions, and so on. 
So, you do need to ensure that your website is optimised for the smaller screen so your website reconfigures automatically: stands to reason! 
Furthermore, the download speeds need to be good with easy mobile navigation and clear calls to action, such as a clickable phone number and a simple contact form. Otherwise, the visitor may move on elsewhere due to poor user experience. 
illustration of a shop on a mobile device

Do you collect online reviews? 

Genuine customer reviews are regarded highly by search engines eg Google reviews. Particularly for ranking locally. 
The more positive reviews you have the better. And when clients take the time to leave a review, you must send a note of thanks and acknowledgment. 
So, when appropriate ask for reviews from your clients. 

Connecting with local businesses- Backlinks and other websites 

You may have heard the term ‘backlinks’, where other websites are linking back to yours for legitimate reasons – directories, a website-written article that includes a link back to your site, complimentary businesses linking to your website as a trusted partner or associate, and business networks. 
These are really useful for SEO, as they are recorded by Google as citations, and the better/most authoritative the source the higher credence Google gives that link. 
There are Directories out there that are worthwhile – at Itseeze as part of our launch pack, we highlight 30 sites on which to be listed – all free. Just make sure the information you include is consistent across all. We have produced a starter list which you may find useful. 

Keywords and content, focussed on your local area of operation 

Logically and particularly with services, local people want to source locally. So, one should do some research on what search terms visitors are using to find your type of goods/services.  
An easy source is by using the Google browser itself, and doing a search for your type of services. When the search results are displayed, Google will also highlight keywords and phrases based on what previous users have used, and then you can generate a list of locally relevant keywords and topics to create you own content.  
Furthermore, these can be a good source of topics for blog posts; perhaps covering local industries and events and mentioning familiar places that locals would recognise. 
And you could go one step further and create landing pages for each of your locations. These are called geographic landing pages and can be hidden on the website, and despending on the content, Google may show the page as a good match for the search term being used. Great for promoting special offers. Just one peice of advice, ensure content is unique for each page. 
For a simple and indepth explanatory guide on keywords you will find the following resource here 

In conclusion 

So, in conclusion, this article is for those who are unsure about the first steps of being found online and some super simple tips.  
At Itseeze, as part of designing and building websites, we can provide comprehensive support in all these areas as appropriate.  
If you need some help please contact us 
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