The first site I got to the first of page of results for a specific keyword, I did so, quite by accident. When I designed the site I did so with PPC in mind and I included all the copy points that I knew from years of yellow pages ad design were necessary to motivate a potential buyer to call.
I found this to be a wonderful thing… that the things that would help rank a site in search engines would be the same things that would help convert them to a customer… that’s my kind of symmetry.
There are 3 of these “symmetries” between ranking and conversion factors that I think are the most important in Local Seo:
When writing a yellow page ad include everything you do. Every study I have ever read has concluded that if it is not in the ad the reader assumes that you don’t do it.
This little fact often frustrated potential advertisers or they thought it was a trick to get more copy and sell them a bigger ad. But I always believed it whole-heartedly. If I need a drain cleaned and I find 2 ads side by side under Plumbers and one says they do drain cleaning and the other doesn’t… guess who is getting the call?
This is true with Search Engines as well. If you don’t mention the service on your site, Google assumes that you don’t do it. And you will have little chance of ranking for that term (unless of course you get a bunch of other folks to say it in anchor text, but that is a story for another day ).
This idea seems to carry over to the local ten-pack as well:
Notice how often the words drain and cleaning appear in the results near the top.
Define your service area… specifically.
Long before small business owners thought about search engines, they were asking me to find space in their ads to list the towns they served. These were the savvy, long term yellow page advertisers. And they did it because it worked.
A quick example: You want a pizza delivered… and you find an ad for a Pizza joint in the next town who offers free delivery… do you call or keep reading? You then find and ad that says free to delivery to… and lists your town. Yup, that second one is going to work better even if some answered “call” to the question above.
Listing those towns could be a great help to your site too, if your looking for Google to serve up a first page result for those queries in neighboring towns.
This one is really true regardless of the media. Try and come up with the best content. If you’re going to advertise in the yellow pages; read your competitor’s ads… learn from them and then design the best ad in the heading. Try and answer all the questions that one might have when shopping for your type of business.
If you want to get your site ranked number 1 on Google… begin by looking at what’s there now and try and create a page that is better than that one based on the searchers intent for a particular search query. Some of the ideas above might help.