One million websites are missing the SEO basics…
That staggering number comes from a blog post over at the Content Marketing Institute.
1 Million websites analysed, the majority of which are in the top 1% of the 141 million active websites on the Interwebs.
What’s this got to do with your local business website?
We’re small fish, we really don’t need to be in the top 1% of websites online. You don’t need to be found worldwide, you DO need to be found locally. That is why it is even more important to get the SEO basics in place.
The problem of local businesses missing the SEO basics really resonated with me over the last week or so. Yes, there’s a Jan rant on its way…
A US Invasion…
I’m working with a local business that offers a range of services, I’m writing some web copy at the moment. One of these services is fairly unique in the UK (or so a Google search would have you believe). It is very popular in the US though.
My first problem was the language difference – yes, we do often use different terminology over here. Because we’re targeting UK people we need to use words and phrases that are in common use here. After much muttering and researching (it’s not a service I am familiar with), I tied down a range of words and phrases associated with the service that we Brits are familiar with.
Light at the end of the tunnel – or so I thought.
Now I knew what people are actually searching for, off I popped to Google and just typed in the most popular phrases. I thought I would have a quick look at what our UK competition was doing and how they were packaging their service.
Not a single UK website was shown on the first page of results…
Or the second
I gave up after three. I kid you not!
Local SEO Basics – tell Google where you are based
It wasn’t until I switched to UK only results that I found local UK websites. Mr, Mrs and Miss Average Searcher do not tend to do that.
It was searching on UK only that we discovered what we thought wasn’t a typical UK service, actually had many businesses offering it.
Perhaps this was a search that really needed a local modifier?
Google will try to return local search results even when a town or city isn’t specified. It knows where you live based on your IP.
Not every standard search will bring up a local search result complete with map, but searching with a local modifier will at least let the Big G know what I want from the UK.
Having found a fleet of businesses offering the service, I at least knew that it was available.
So I searched [keyword phrase] London (if it can’t be found in our Capital there’s no hope…)
So, we have lots of businesses throughout the UK offering this service. We have a decent sized cluster in the London area offering the service, with their own website – rather than a sub-a page on an existing website.
Searching with other town or city modifiers returned varied results. Many local search results were dominated by celebrity pages, results from Amazon and eBay selling related items with one or two local businesses near the bottom of the first page.
These types of search results are why I set up My Local Business Online in the first place.
Are You Missing The SEO Basics?
It is unusual to see search results so completely dominated by US results these days. I suspect because this particular service is so popular over there. It tends to be an add on rather than something offered in its own right over here in the UK. There doesn’t appear to be any major players in the UK, no big brands offering the service.
I took a look at the difference was between our home-grown local websites and our US counterparts.
It was actually quite scary…
- Not a single UK website offering the service on a sub-page had the on-page SEO basics in place – no titles, descriptions, headings and sub-headings
- Neither did they have links pointing back in to that page on the sub-page websites
- Where the service had its own dedicated website, again they were the most search unfriendly sites that you can imagine, they looked lovely with nice flash intros and “enter” pages
- At best they had a handful of links in, one actually scraped into double digits
Compared to the US based website SEO:
- They titles
- They had descriptions
- They had web copy with related words and phrases, with headings and sub-headings
- They all had links pointing in – not in the 1000’s but obviously enough
- Many were connected to a G+ account and had nice thumbnails in search results too
- They weren’t doing anything fancy – no flash animation “enter” pages
Searching with a town or city modifier improved things. A map result wasn’t always returned, but at least one or two businesses that mentioned the city turned up in the results.
As a local business, we’re not competing online on a worldwide scale. Often we’re not competing UK wide either.
Many searchers do not always add a town or city modifier – should they be forced to add “UK” to their search or switch over to UK only results?
Having a website is not enough…
You do need to tell the search engines who you are and what you do in a way they understand. Those are the on-page SEO basics and you can discover if you have them or not over at FreeSEOScorecard.com, where the top image was taken from.
To be found locally online you do need to build up your local footprint, claim your business listings and Google +Local page. Tell the search engines who you are, where you are based, what you do in a way they recognise.
I can help you get your basics in place, take a look at my services.
Over to you… Did you check your website? Are your SEO basics in place?1 Million Websites Miss The SEO Basics (Or Why Your Business Can't Be Found Online) by Jan Kearney