As more corporate and big-business sites are optimized nationally, many smaller localized companies are left asking… but what about me? It is just as important for small businesses to optimize their web sites as it is for any company. With more potential customers searching online for services, local companies with an online presence have more of a chance to benefit from this client base.
Many local businesses operate under the false presumption that prospective clients are only searching for their contact information. They are forgetting to address why someone would seek their local services in the first place! In addition to your company background and the products and services you provide, supply your visitors with as much helpful information possible. Local sites that offer relevant resources gain credibility with potential customers and that can lead to an increase in business.
However, great content is unique within each industry and business model. Many service-industry sites use common questions from their clients as FAQ pages – and it certainly makes sense to do so! If you can offer answers to their questions before clients even ask, it will help to boost the value of your services. Other resourceful content can include client testimonials, ask-the-expert pages, and links to services complementary to yours.
Remember, your client base is turning to the search engines more than ever to find local services. Company contact information should not be the crux of your site… More beneficial is a site containing both relevant and helpful resources. It is the presence of this useful content on a site that will encourage prospective clients to choose you for their service needs over your competitors.
Alternate spellings of words sometimes yield different results in search engine results pages. So, when keyword targeting your pages, how should you handle plurals and misspellings? What should you target? Do a search on “plural vs. singular keywords” and you will find conflicting advice. Some say: “Target the plural because it contains the singular”. Others say: “Target the singular because it’s less competitive”. In fact, deciding which strategy to choose is a complex issue and depends on both the keyword and who is searching for it.
First, which form should be keyword targeted can depend on the word. In most cases, a plural keyword has a different meaning than a singular keyword (although the difference is often slight). In general, the singular refers to the abstract while the plural is used for the more concrete meaning – “The dog is man’s best friend” as opposed to “Dogs are nice”.
In many cases, we as SEO engineers know how to evaluate a potential link or directory to get the maximum benefit for a website. Many of these sites are broken up into very specific sub-categories. Sites such as DMOZ, the Yahoo Directory, Go Guides and many others are called authority sites. They have been on the web for many years, some from as early as 1997. With the age of the site, the search engines have found that these are not fly by night Spammer sites that just want to host Google AdSense to make money. A lot of directories are human edited so not every site will get in on the first attempt. These are the sites that are worth going after in your linking efforts. They are the kinds of sites we recommend people submit their sites to.
At first glance, a directory or link site may not look like much, but if you dig a little deeper, you can probably find a category that will fit every business type. The key to submitting to these types of sites is finding the most relevant category for your company. And, remember, even if there is a category that is similar but not exact, it is worth submitting to.