Charlottesville, Virginia SEO Guide

11 strategies to grow your local online presence.


 

1. Sign up for Google My Business

Upon verification your business is qualified to appear in local search results  seen below. 

Local search results often appear at the top of Google.

Boost your local search ranking by adding content to your profile. Include images, business information, phone numbers, hours, and your website URL to enhance your page. Collect reviews to stand out from the pack. Get 5 reviews, and gold stars will appear, further encouraging users to click.

I almost forgot! Remember to sign up for the Bing equivalent, Places for Business.
 

2. Include "Charlottesville" in your title tags. 

Tell search engines you're from Charlottesville. Write descriptive title tags on all of your pages. They display in search engines and factor into keyword rankings. They are the most important meta tag, which are tantamount to successful SEO.

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It's essential to include Charlottesville in your homepage's title tag. If you run a doughnut shop, write "Charlottesville Doghnuts" to increase your chances of ranking locally. Each page on your site should contain a unique keyword or combination of keywords to target more searches.
 

3. Create Charlottesville-relevant content and blogs. 

Increase your site's visibility by ranking for relevant keywords for people searching in the Charlottesville area. Blog about topics in your industry that may be searched by your potential customers. Creating content is a process, but you can reduce the learning curve by following this guide to ranking and converting content.

If you found this article, it's a good example of successful content marketing. I used tips 2, 4, and 8 in this content alone. Seriously though, if you're interested in content marketing, check the link above.
 

4. Submit new URLs to Google and Bing. 

New webpages should be sent to Google and Bing.

If you want an explanation, read on. If you get the gist, skip to number 5.

Alerting search engines speeds up the keyword ranking process which can take months. Here's what happens.

  1. Submission to Google and Bing
  2. Search engine indexing
  3. Initial keyword ranking
  4. Rankings change
  5. Search engines match content with a variety of keywords. This is good! More potential traffic.
  6. Rankings continue to change
  7. Rankings begin to settle. This could be several days, but it's often months after page submissions.
Unique Pageviews: How many times a page was accessed at least once during a session. Multiple views of a page by the same user in the same session are counted as 1 pageview. Entrances: Google Analytics records an entrance for each page that a user begins a new session on. Definitions from Search Engine Watch  

Unique Pageviews: How many times a page was accessed at least once during a session. Multiple views of a page by the same user in the same session are counted as 1 pageview.
Entrances: Google Analytics records an entrance for each page that a user begins a new session on.

Definitions from Search Engine Watch
 

These graphs illustrate page traffic for a successful piece of content. Pageviews and entrances started out low, indicating a lower ranking. After the lag, rankings increased, and the page took off.

Get ads at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) -- above Google's organic results.

As you can see, Order Up is capitalizing on local Bodos searches.

Not a bad move. Bodos is delicous, and a lot of people search for Bodos locations, hours, and menus.


6. Submit sitemaps to Google and Bing. 

Sitemaps offer search engines your website's structure. They help search engines understand your site and its content. After submitting a sitemap, Google will crawl your site and the ranking process begins. 

Submit sitemaps in Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Don't skip this step!

 
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7. Create social media pages. 

Facebook and Yelp are no-brainers and its worth considering Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat. Create accounts, input important information for potential customers and upload images to enhance your page.

8. Successful content requires keyword research. 

Create webpages with content that targets keywords relevant to your business.

Use Google's Keyword Planner to view historical search data for any keyword.

 
 

Ignore the "competition" rating, but don't ignore the topic of competition completely. Select keywords that have reasonable competition. Google your keyword. If the search engine results page (SERP) has companies like Target, Walmart, and Amazon you'll have a tough time ranking your content. Target keywords with enough searches, reasonable competition, and high relevancy to your business.

Have questions? Let us know.
 

9. Schema markup increases chance for more content on SERP. 

Schema code provides important website information to search engines. You can markup your website using Google's Data Highlighter (found in Google Webmaster Tools) or with schema markup.

Google's Data Highlighter is far simpler, but if you want to go in-depth, try schema code.
 

10. Improve your web design.

Google rewards websites that satisfy users. A site with a clean layout and engaging images means a powerful user experience which results in reduced bounce rates and increased pages per session.
 

11. Write powerful meta descriptions.

According to Google, meta descriptions don't affect keyword rankings directly.

They do, however, affect click-through-rates. Craft well-written meta descriptions (approximately 155 characters) for your key pages, if not all pages.