A lot of web designers in New York City and Hudson Valley offer local SEO packages for small business owners and entrepreneurs. (SEO stands for search engine optimization) These web design companies often promise small business owners top search results in Google if they follow a set of ‘proven’ formulas and practices.
The truth is that those of us who have been in the search industry for a while know that implementing good SEO is always a bit of a balancing act (Organiq’s SEO team has over 25 years of combined experience and the graying hair to prove it. ). Google and other search engines are constantly updating algorithms, and what worked for SEO 5 or 10 years ago – or even one year ago – doesn’t work anymore.
If you’re talking to local SEO and web design companies in NYC, Hudson Valley (or anywhere) and they mention outdated tactics like ‘keyword density’, ‘keyword stuffing’, ‘domain authority score’ , or ‘high PR web 2.0 backlinks” – run now, and don’t look back. While there are many amazing local web designers out there, the truth is that they are just that, web designers not SEO specialists. (Shameless plug time… Organiq’s local website designers know SEO!)
In fact, implementing outdated black hat SEO tactics is against Google’s guidelines and can result in your business site not showing up in search results, period.
The truth is that SEO is a vast field and one article can’t do it justice. Consider this a starting point. To help you find the right balance in your local SEO campaigns, here are a few things you should remember…
Local SEO Optimization Starts with the Right Website Design
It’s incredibly difficult to rank well on Google or the other search engines without first doing an SEO audit on your website. There are many tools out there that can help and will highlight any glaring areas – especially in terms of poor website design (slow loading time, missing headers, poor website architecture, etc) that are hurting your business’s SEO efforts.
There are just too many other small businesses in the Hudson Valley and NYC to compete with. So, even if you haven’t been at the top of Google’s rankings in the past, you should count on doing some keyword research and on-site optimization at a minimum.
But even that won’t be enough. Google’s recent broad core updates over the past few years focus heavily on the technical aspects of SEO.
That said, we started as a small business in NYC – born in Brooklyn – and wouldn’t exist if we didn’t teach ourselves about SEO way back in the early 2000’s when it was in its infancy. So while it may seem daunting, there will be readers out there who are ready to take on the challenge.
So for those of you who want to take on the challenge of getting started with learning local SEO, some of our favorite tools made this Top 20 SEO Tools in 2022 list. (Organiq’s marketing director said her favorite SEO tools for small businesses are #1, #5, #8, #13, and #15 – and we’re definitely interested in #2!)
Your Google Business Profile is an Essential Part of Local SEO
If you’re a small business owner in New York City or Hudson Valley and you haven’t claimed your Google Business Profile (GBP), do it now! The best part is that getting a Google Business Profile is 100 % free.
A Google Business Profile (GBP) will allow you to tap into lucrative local markets. It includes data insights, custom posts, bookings, review management, Q & A, photos, and ensures accuracy of your business information across the web.
An optimized business profile acts as a mini-website to supercharge your online presence and visibility. In sum, it’s a sure fire way to drive sales and establish your position as a top business in the local SERPS.
Learn more from Google about GBP if you want to DIY. If you already have a marketing or web design package with us, GBP optimization and management is available as an add-on.
Search Visibility & Website Traffic Without Meaningful Conversions is Useless
Although local SEO is usually the cornerstone of any successful digital marketing plan, it’s worth pointing out that a top ranking on Google doesn’t guarantee anything good will happen to your balance sheet. You have to have buyers (and not just website visitors) coming to your pages, and then get them to interact with your company in some way before you’ll see positive results.
Visitor Engagement May Be a Search Signal
Google is relying on more and more artificial intelligence to study the way search users interact with various pages. In essence, if people don’t hang around on your website and click on links, then some (many) say that Google could stop sending users your way. That said, this is a speculative point, one that’s hotly debated among SEO professionals. The official word from Google is that user engagement is not a ranking factor.
That said, Google’s own John Mueller said: “The thing I might watch out for is if it drives engagement for the kind of things that you care about. That’s is just something that I’ve sometimes seen where a page might be very visible for certain queries but when you look at the queries like I don’t really want to rank for that like my topic is is something else. So that might be something just to kind of like take a cautious look at the metrics.”
The deeper you get in SEO research the more opaque answers you find from Google! Even if user engagement doesn’t directly impact search results, it does impact conversions – so that alone is reason enough to ensure you have a website with quality content that’s relevant to potential customers in local search.
However, Never over-optimize your site to the point that people don’t want to read your content or use your pages. It’s counterproductive.
Only Useful Content Has Value: Google’s E-E-A-T & SEO
If stuffing keywords and links onto a web page is the classic SEO mistake, then publishing junk articles that are over “optimized” has to be a close second. And now with AI writing tools like ChatGPT taking the world by storm, you can bet that AI generated content with the sole purpose of driving traffic (even low quality traffic) will be everywhere!
Because Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (formerly E-A-T quality guidelines, now E-E-A-T) are so important to your website ranking in local search results, or any search results, it’s imperative to publish only high-quality content that demonstrates your professional experience and knowlege in a given field.
Google’s E-E-A-T score is part of their algorithm and baked into Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. It’s better to post fewer pieces of high-quality material than it is to put anything online that’s going to hurt your credibility.
In fact Google recently targeted websites with low quality content in their Helpful Content Update. If you’re a local small business owner in the NY Metro Area of up in Hudson Valley guilty of bad local SEO practices like spinning unoriginal content regurgitated across the web, you may have seen your site drop like a rock in the SERPS. Your business’s reputation is part of ranking well – the good news is that if you need content updates or reputation management, we’ve got your covered.
Finding the Right Formula for Local SEO Success
Occasionally, we meet small business owners from Brooklyn, NYC to New Paltz in the Hudson Valley who have almost completely ignored local SEO because they thought they didn’t need it. More frequently, we encounter marketers who pay no attention to the quality of their content but over optimize every heading and blog post to the point that their messaging is damaged. These are both big mistakes, and neither one strikes the right balance between the need for both search engine optimization and conversions.
When looking for the right search engine optimization “formula” for success, remember that your goal is ultimately to be visible to the right kinds of buyers and turn them into leads or customers. You can’t do that without some kind of SEO plan, but it’s not worth overdoing things if it’s going to cost you business, either. Contact us today if you’re looking to put your first foot forward and begin investing in local SEO services for small businesses.