Noob question about local keywords

Bishop

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
62
If I was working on a blog post for my local business website, I should focus on combining the city and the keyword, correct?

Example:

"...Las Vegas Plumber."

NOT just "...Plumber"

If I just added the keyword "plumber", wouldn't I be competing with sites nationwide? Or does google know by my business address (I have it on every page in the footer) where I am I don't need to add "Las Vegas"?
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2013
Messages
97
If you are writing blog posts the primary keyword shouldn't be yours sites main keyword like "Las Vegas Plumber". It should be along the lines of the what question the blog post is trying to answer for the reader.

You should also be conscious of what keywords your customers are searching for. There is no benefit in ranking first for "Las Vegas Plumber drain stoppage fixing" when most potential customers just type if "how to unclog my drain"

In my opinion the primary reason to have a blog is to provide current relevant information that is of interest to your potential customers. This provides two main benefits, one it keeps you top of mind and second it shows you as an expert.

My suggestion if you want to have some local content on your blog is review your lunch stops, i.e. restaurants. If you do it well you will build up a bit of a following and be top of mind. Or if you do commercial plumbing come up with 5 standard questions you use to interview the business owner. If you do residential give some insight into each neighborhood you to go into.

Hope that helps.
 

Bishop

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
62
You make good points Dusty.
But what if I am trying to optimize my site for keywords?
Should I focus on "Las Vegas Plumber"?
 

Margaret Ornsby

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
511
(oops! Sorry Linda, not sure how I got that doubled up... please feel free to delete the previous post)

Hi Bishop,

@Jamie is spot on.

Customers don't think keywords, they think problems and questions. Answer their problems and questions.

Here's a video from Matt Cutts, Head of Google's Webspam team, that might help (released in April this year) What are the top 3-5 SEO areas where webmasters make the most mistakes? - YouTube

The mindset you're expressing with a keyword phrase "las vegas plumbers" (LVP) is from the bad old SEO days. Build your site for visitors, not for the search engines. As well LVP is very likely to be a highly competitive phrase - harder to rank for and missing out on opportunities in "the long tail".

The next link takes you to a simple but powerful graph demonstrating the difference between keyword phrases such as LVP and other phrases such as "fix a clogged drain" http://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/img_uploads/long-tail.gif

It's not as simple as a single or multiple posts with the LVP in the title. Think of your website as an ecosystem. everything connects and creates an overall impression.

I did a search for "fix a clogged drain las vegas". (The "how to" only told me how to do it myself. Yuck - might break a nail...) The first site that came up - that would be someone I'd call to fix my drain - shows good design in the underlying structure of the site. Nowhere do I find the phrase "las vegas plumbers" in the page. But you get the clear understanding they're a plumbing company in las vegas.

Hope this helps.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2013
Messages
97
You make good points Dusty.
But what if I am trying to optimize my site for keywords?
Should I focus on "Las Vegas Plumber"?
@wonderwoman (I wonder what you will be for Halloween) is also spot on.

If you try and focus on "Las Vegas Plumber" you will lose the forest for the trees.

In other words focus on what your customers need and keep an eye to best practices you will do very well. Find out what people are searching for a give them what they want. But, when you start concerning yourself more with keyword density and word count then engagement and customer value you are headed in the wrong direction.

Hope that helps.
 

Bishop

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
62
Jamie & Wonder-

Thank you for your insights, you are right, I am hung up on the "bad old days" of SEO. Things have definitely changed in the last year...even the last few months!

So when writing a blog post, don't need to include any keywords at all?
Does a blog post need to be a certain length (number of words)?
 

Margaret Ornsby

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 22, 2013
Messages
511
@Bishop
Yes and no.
Yes, keywords are always going to help. Natural language is going to help the most. If you're making up a sentence/title for the sole purpose of having the keyword in there, then it doesn't make sense to do it.

Google does get that words and concepts are related - ie synonyms.

Number of words - whatever it takes to get your point across. Short ones, if done well can be just a powerful as a novel.

Think first about your reader.

Write about plumbing, cleaning hair out of drains, feature a device that traps hair before it gets into the drain (and a link to the device on amazon so they can buy it and you can make 3 cents commission), discuss different types of DIY drain and pipe cleaners - which ones hurt your pipes, which ones work. Discuss tree roots in drains. Another post on what the environmental impact on the chemicals that kill the tree roots. Discuss septic systems. Write about which trees cause the most trouble with drains in the Las Vegas area. Write what special types of pipes are best for homes in Las Vegas. Write what might be unique about the plumbing industry in the Las Vegas area. Mix it all up, be consistent.

All of the posts are designed to be useful someone looking for an expert.

All these together will give search engines (esp the big G) the clear picture what your business is about, where you are.

And remember, quality beats quantity. Write for your readers.

Then tweet/FB/promote your blog posts.

And most importantly, don't put all your marketing efforts into one basket. A blog, Adwords, G+, the web it's all only one channel - albeit an important one.

Here endeth the sermon... (whew!)
 

Bishop

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2013
Messages
62
Thank you Wonder!! :)

Would it be helpful to write about the city I work in too? I think I'll get bored just writing about plumbing. ;)
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2013
Messages
97
Here is a link to a decent video about keywords and how to organize them and use them on your site:

Making Sense of Keywords in SEO - YouTube

Also with regards to length it isn't important to be long but Google does pay attention to time on site and especially bounce rate. If someone is searching on Google for "fix a clogged drain" goes to your site then returns to Google quickly to do the same search again it won't matter the "SEO" strength, length, keyword density, meta tags, etc.. of your site Google will know your content wasn't that valuable for that search because the customer is still trying to find an answer to their question.

Hope that helps.
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
Thank you Wonder!! :)

Would it be helpful to write about the city I work in too? I think I'll get bored just writing about plumbing. ;)
Your city is as important of a KW as plumbing KWs are. :)

Even more so in a way. All your competitors have plumbing KWs naturally even if they don't know how to do SEO. But many are not well optimized for city.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
440
I wouldn't totally say the good old days of SEO are over. Far from it. I can show you example after example of sites that rank really well because they are specifically optimizing for a keyword. It drives me crazy when SEO people just tow the Google line.

I know one SEO who still does keyword stuffed footers on his client sites and guess what? They all dominate and his client sites (10+ years in the business) have never been penalized. He is literally doing everything Google and the SEO gurus says you shouldn't do.

Now I'm not saying you should ignore the advice given here because it's all good BUT don't just automatically tow the Google line either.

Do some searches for the keywords you want to rank for and see who ranks on the first page. Look at their meta titles and descriptions. Browse their copy. What do they have in common? I'll be willing to bet they all have the keyword phrase used "regularly." You'll likely find it in the title, description, and a few times in the body of the page. But I thought those were the old days of SEO???? Ya right.

Here's the rule of thumb I follow and it has served me well. Make a list of the list of the keywords you want to rank for and do searches on these keywords to see what others are doing with their on-page SEO for the same keywords.

Then write content around those phrases and use the keyword phrases naturally. I usually use it once in the meta title and meta descriptions and in the H1 tag. I also use it a couple times in the body and that's it. I will also drop in a city name or two if that's important.

And as others have replied already, you want the content to be high quality, provide value, and you want to write it first for the reader! Just don't ignore keyword phrases completely. They can say that's "old school" all they want but until I see proof of it, I'll continue to focus on keywords to an extent.

Another thing you'll want to do is theme your content. Again, you can get this by seeing what others are doing that are ranking well. So what I'll do is quickly glance over the content of the top 5 sites or so and I'll make notes of phrases and keywords they all have in common. This is a really quick example, but when I search for "how to use a plunger on a toilet" I immediately notice a lot of the sites use the word "unclog." I'll make a note of that and make sure I use that in my copy. I also notice most of the sites use visual aids - although one site is just a plain text article. I should probably include some visual aids in my copy as well then.

Finally, to give you an example of how you can work in a city name, you could say something like this in your copy...

"As professional plumbers here in Austin, TX we get a lot of calls from customers who need help unplugging their toilets. The first question we always ask is if they have tried using a plunger to unclog their toilet. A lot of times they can take care of the problem themselves so if you find yourself with a plugged toilet, here's a simple tutorial on how to use a plunger on a toilet. If this doesn't help, then give us a call and we'll gladly come out and help!"

Travis
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
440
Sorry for the all caps. I said in my reply to use the keyword phrase in the H1 tag and the forum literally turned the rest of my post into an H1 tag:) I tried to edit the post but I get a message that the administrator only allows edits within 15 minutes after posting something so I can't even go in and correct it. Sorry.

Travis
 

Linda Buquet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Messages
14,438
I removed the brackets around the H1 and that fixed it. Just ping me or Colan if you ever need help with an edit.

Thanks for that post Travis!
 

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