When you own a local business what you need is not only more traffic but more traffic from qualified searches. The most qualified searches are the searches that include a map in the search results. This usually involves a keyword combination with your city or geographic location as part of the long tail keyword search. Here are some ideas on how to find those keywords and how to rank for those searches.

1) Be sure your website has proper On Page practices.

Start With H1 Tags

It’s very common for salon websites to look great but the web designer is not familiar with basic SEO principles. The first thing you need to check on your site is how H1 tags are used. H1 tags should support the title tag. The target keyword is ideally in the beginning and it’s not an exact duplication of the title tag. A lot of designers use H1 tags because it increases the font size. You want to craft the H1 tag carefully. If you have an existing H1 tag for a generic word in the site have the design fix that. There are many ways to maintain the sites layout with a simple modification to CSS. Also note there are numerous codes that can be used on the layout that create the same look. It’s always a good idea to spend some time coming up with a carefully crafted H1 tag to give to the designer. Remember the designer isn’t an expert on getting you traffic. If you need ideas look at similar businesses in sister cities for ideas.

Unique Title Tags For All Pages

One of the google penalties known as Penguin looks for over optimized sites. A typically over optimization is duplicating title tags. WordPress by default likes to include the site name in the title tag. Be sure to write unique title tags for every page. This is a good thing to provide to your developer when they are creating your site. Note you can change the title tag at any time.

Include H2 tags

The H2 tag is used to support the H1 tag. Note only is it a great way to tell the search engines what your site is about, it also is a great way for the visitors to your site to quickly scan your site for what they are looking for. If done properly you increase time on site and your rankings with google, bing and yahoo.

2) Get Your Business In The Top 3 On Google Maps

Google maps show up on the top of the results. The top results above the fold get most of the traffic. If you show up on the top of the maps results you are almost certain to be above the fold. Mobile users click maps listings more frequently which results in phone calls to your salon.

Geo-location relevancy

Rankings on google are determined by trust and authority. The goal to get a top maps listing is to become not only the most trusted site in your city for your niche but also the most authoritative. To do this you need to have content on your site that proves you are located in the region you want to rank for. You also need to pick the proper service radius. One common problem is conflicting signals about your main service area.

Possum Penalty

In late 2016 there was a major update to Maps results that was labeled the Possum update. The goal of this update was to provide more relevant results for searches on google maps. In the past results where skewed toward areas in the city center. Google research showed that the searches could be more relevant if they provided results based on the searches specific geographic location. The idea is that not everyone wants to go downtown. Most people live in the suburbs and they want more convenient location options. This update attempts to provide a more diverse result by spreading the options over a larger area.

 

3) Build Inbound Links

The google algorithm is based on trust and authority.  The easiest way for google to determine how much trust a site deserves is by looking at what sites are linking to it.  Without inbound links your website won’t rank.  We have found that with local businesses especially salons, most of the time it only takes one or two really good links to your site to see results.

Local Links

Getting a link for a high authority website that is local can have a big impact on your rankings.  This inbound link does a lot of things while building the trust and authority of your business.  It also establishes your authority to the location you are in because you have a quality link related to your location.

Industry Links

Getting a link from an industry leader helps.  Great industry leaders can be a major product supplies or equipment manufacture.  These websites are related very specifically to your business so it adds a great deal of trust to your business.  Another great source is industry trade publications.

Citations

Links from review sites and directories are powerful because they generally include customer reviews and validity of your business and location.  There is no better way for google to verify that you exist in a specific location and offer specific services than to get feedback from your customers.

Press Releases

Quality press releases are from legit news sources.  Getting listed in a local news paper or television news show is a great link source.  It not only works good for google and search engine results but it adds social proof to your business.  If reputable news organizations think you are important enough to cover then you must offer a quality service.