The 6 Most Effective SEO Techniques for Utah Websites in 2016By Jason Parker on July 19th, 2016
Search engine optimization is a collection of promotional techniques and other efforts used by website owners to attempt to achieve placement of a desired web page within the top of a search engine’s results pages. Over the years, website owners have dramatically changed the variety of SEO techniques and efforts they use. We hope to highlight a few proven techniques that will help you achieve ranking for your site.
Sometimes it is helpful to get information specifically catering to your target. Local SEO is becoming more and more important. For businesses whose websites are more likely to cater to visitors who have an inherently local search intent, it’s essential. This article focuses specifically on those things that site owners targeting Utah based visitors might do to promote their content.
1. Social Buzz and Signals
Because social networks have amassed such huge user bases, failing to promote your content and leverage the power of social media amounts to a huge, missed opportunity. Users on these networks share and consume an incalculable amount of information. Simply having a presence is not enough. You need an active voice to really leverage the effectiveness of social media.
Here are some practical ways to leverage social media to build credibility for your site and send good, healthy signals to the search algorithms.
- Publish an article that incorporates a topic about a current event and ties it in to your company’s products or service and then promote it through Facebook ads. For example, here at Accelerator Marketing we might write an article about the new Pokemon Go craze and how it could be used for local search marketing. Facebook allows you to hyper-focus your target similar to the way you would with Google Adwords.
- Treat the social networks like you would a search engine. Find the keywords that people are searching for that will attract the eyeballs you want and use them as hashtags in your posts. Whether on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, hashtags are an important way to ensure your posts are seen by people who might be searching or interested in the topic you’re covering.
- Discover and connect with influencers in Utah who have followers you’re interested in. For example, Beddy’s is a Utah based company that reaches mostly women age 35-44. Cute Girls Hairstyles has roots in Utah (including thousands of local followers) who are in large part women who are college graduates. Influencers like that could be the megaphone you’re looking for!
2. Mobile Optimization
Can you remember when you got your first mobile phone? Was it a Motorola RAZR? Be honest. Do you remember trying to get on the internet using your phone? Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then. Now our phones feature fully functional modern web browsers. We’ve found over time that people are better able to interact with sites that are designed for a smaller form-factor that is prevalent on hand-held devices like mobile phones and tablets.
Web development has evolved to include a response to the need for a website that adapts to the screen size of the device used by the visitor. Whether a desktop computer or a tiny phone, a single website can be designed and constructed in a way that allows this responsive delivery. In fact, the term “responsive” is one you’ll likely come across when researching the how-tos of the CSS and markup necessary to create such a website.
A company in Utah attempting to cater to a local audience might develop some mobile features that allow a local audience to more easily access content pertinent to them. For example, a network of doctor’s offices in Utah with multiple locations might choose to ask mobile users for their location using the Geolocation API Specification to request a user’s location. The website could then automatically determine which clinic is closest to that user and offer suggestions that deal more specifically with what he or she may prefer.
BONUS: For a detailed guide on creating a truly mobile-friendly website, check out this must-read article: 6 Critical Features Of A Mobile Friendly Website Design.
BONUS #2: Also, be sure you avoid the pitfalls associated with mobile site delivery and optimization by keeping track of the suggestions offered by Google’s Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). We put together a helpful article that will guide you through the process of cleaning up any existing errors and preventing new ones: Mobile Usability Errors in Google Webmaster Tools.
3. Onsite Content (And Promotion!)
Are you sick of hearing that if you build it, they will come? You can thank me in the comments for finding a photo of people in a cornfield doing SEO. (I hope you caught the Field of Dreams reference.) Creating good (even great) content is no longer good enough to outrank your competition. You have to actively promote your content to see it rise to be the proverbial cream that makes up those first ten search results. However, bad content is likely not going to rise to the top no matter what you do to promote it. So, the key is both to create stellar content and then promote it so others have an opportunity to see how great it really is. Think of content promotion as the spark plug that starts the engine. You have to have a little spark to start a fire. The same goes for your content. You might have a bonfire worthy creation, but you’ll have to really push it out there to get all the signals that Google will consider relevant in helping you get ranked.
For sites focused on ranking for Utah related keywords and subjects, your strategy may include buying relevant geo-targetted PPC ads through Google Adwords. You might reach out to local bloggers, or popular social influencers. LinkedIn or Twitter, along with a million other sites, will promote your content for a small fee that you may find worthwhile. By building this scaffolding around your content, you can become a thought leader. Being in Utah, you may even consider buying ad space on KSL or some other local information hub. Think of your content as being invisible until you promote it. It’s not going to be found until you push it in front of people.
If you can promote the content to people who are likely to share it, your promotion will have the desired and intended “kindling” effect to get the sharing going. Nothing goes viral without kindling and a spark. Believe me, people are willing to spend a lot of money to get something to go viral. One incredible case study is the Turkish Airlines ad featuring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi. An article published on Mashable in 2014 describes this very interesting pay-for-viral phenomenon.
4. Guest Posting
Google has warned that guest posting doesn’t do any good and will get you penalized. Hogwash! While you do need to be careful about the tenor, length, construction (composition), and linking methods used in your articles, a carefully composed and placed guest post can be link-building gold. Especially when targeting a local market like Utah, you’ll want to be sure you’re similarly targeting blogs and information sources with a similar local target. For example, Accelerator Marketing could potentially partner with a company like XMission to publish an expert blog entry. They would be a great fit because we are not competing with them, they fit in a similar space (internet & technology), and we could offer them valuable unique content and professional insight that would be engaging to their potential clients.
Here are a few tips to guest blogging that may help you avoid a dreaded Google penalty:
- Don’t write dumb content that nobody wants to read. If it sounds like a Wikipedia article, it will not likely obtain the engagement you hope for.
- Don’t use exact match keywords as the anchor text in your links. That’s so old school. You remember Hummingbird, right?
- Don’t make all your articles 500 words with two links. Isn’t that how they’ll pick you out? That’s not what your readers care about.
- Do make it visually appealing. These guys have some tips.
- Do write exactly what you think will help people most, be the most interesting, or help solve a problem.
- Do get to the point. Too much prelude can spoil the thunder you might bring to your prose.
5. Customer Reviews
This one is huge and can’t be underestimated. Our Utah based clients who make a consistent effort to cultivate a relationship with their customers, enough that the customers are willing to write a positive review, usually achieve higher local search placement and more targeted local traffic.
One way to obtain local reviews is exactly what you would expect: ask your customer. Here are a few suggestions that might work for you:
- Print cards that you can hand to your customers as you interact with them in person. Include a QR code on the card that your customer can scan to leave a simple review.
- Hire a temporary employee, or hire an agency to reach out to your past customers. You may conduct a satisfaction review or other customer research that could include a request to leave a review.
Here are some great resources where you can learn more about getting reviews:
I know what you’re thinking—how could a non link do any good for my website? That is precisely what a citation is, though. It’s simply a mention of your business or website that doesn’t include a link back to your site. In most cases, a business that has garnered a greater number of citations will outrank competition. Some of the more obvious benefits of citation building include:
- Your business name will be published where lots of people will see it and make, at least, a mental connection to your business and website.
- Google will index the citation and the surrounding context and will associate those mentions to your brand and website.
Because you are attempting to get ranked for keywords and searches associated with Utah, you’ll want to consider Utah sources. Don’t look for sources that are only keyword specific. Look first for sources that deal with Utah, then find those relevant by topic. For example, rather than going straight for Yelp or YP.com, you might consider looking for citations on utah business directories like the Utah Business Hub, or UTC.
If you carefully consider the suggestions above, and are consistent in your implementation, you’ll find that your site can realize high ranking for Utah related content. Please contact us if you have any questions or need help implementing these suggestions on your own website!