Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Our Search Engine Optimization Service helps local businesses get found online.


Local SEO – Get Found Online Organically

Local SEO is very different than national or global SEO. For starters, national searches ignore the Google My Business information and all the local information on your website. So when you are looking to hire an SEO agency for your local business, make sure they specialize in Local SEO.

When Google knows someone is searching with “local intent”, ie. they are most likely looking for a local business, Google looks at your “Local SEO Signals”. An SEO signal is simply something that Google can find online about your business or website, measure it and use it in their algorithm.

SEO Richmond VA

The chart below groups these signals into key categories and weights them roughly by the influence in the algorithm. This is based on our research and experiences with our clients. Please note this is highly likely to change as Google changes the algorithm over time.

Local SEO

What influences these Local SEO Signals?

The list below is a very partial list of the tasks and metrics that influences each of the signals listed above. The items in bold print can block your web pages from page one if not compliant with Google’s guidelines – regardless of all other signals.

Website and Page Optimization

Keyword Strategy
Proper meta descriptions, titles, anchor links, etc… for each page.
Proper keyword density
Matching address schema
Sitemap submit
Geo-sitemap and KML file
AMP pages
Structured data mark-up
Image names, titles and alt tags.
Domain authority
Mobile responsive

GMB – Google My Business optimization

100% set-up with real information, no PO Boxes or fake addresses
Correct categories
Relevant keywords, anchor text, links
Quantity, recency, velocity* of changes / additions
Frequent use of GMB

Reviews on GMB

Real reviews, no self-written reviews
Quantity, diversity, velocity, recency* of reviews

Business Listings / Citations

Consistency, completeness, accuracy
Recency, velocity*

Links – Internal and External

Local links
Authoritative links
Link recency, quantity

Statistics Indicating Good User Experience

Poor bounce rates, time on site, page visits, etc…
Click rate on Search Results
Page load speeds (should be less than 3 seconds)

Ownership Signals

Unique content
Google Analytics
Search Console
Author schema, structured data
Hours of operation
Recency of entity updates / changes / additions

Social Signals

Google+ Authority
Facebook likes, Tweets, etc..
Recency, Quantity, Velocity and Diversity* of social signals
Non-GMB social reviews
* Notes on “Quantity, Diversity, Velocity and Recency”:
Quantity – the more the better.
Diversity – If everything is similar, you can be penalized.
Velocity – Sharp increases or decreases in activity can be a negative signal (ie. spam like behavior). For example – “2 reviews per month” is normal. Suddenly getting 25 reviews in 2 days would be a red flag.
Recency – Recent activity is a signal that you are an active business online.

Third Marble’s Approach to Local SEO:

Our Block Process to Local SEO is designed to follow these general steps:

Step #1 – SEO Audit, Keyword Research. For the signals above, determine what needs work.

Step #2 – Prioritize. We work on the highly influential tasks first.

Step #3 – Continuous Improvement. Optimize and adjust to get more keywords to page one.

Step #4 – Recency Signals. Once the foundation is built, keep creating recency signals.

Keyword Research and Continuous Improvement

Of course, you need to be on page one for the RIGHT keywords. Optimizing a website for the wrong keywords is a waste of time, money and resources. This is where constant keyword research is important.

Keyword research has two often conflicting strategies. In the first strategy, you find the keywords that you are already ranking on page 2 or 3, then try to get them to page 1. However, these keywords may not be searched very frequently, or may not drive profitable traffic to your website. They tend to be the keywords that your website is already targeting, whether that targeting was intentional or not. The second strategy finds the most profitable traffic and optimizes the website for those keywords. However, they may be the most competitive keywords, and you may not be able to get to page one without significant time and money. (Read about competitors below.)

We try to balance these two strategies and focus on the keyword phrases that have both a significant volume of searches and are most relevant to your offer.

Keyword research
Local SEO and Google AdWords

Your Local SEO Competition Affects Your Page Position

All of these signals listed above add up to determine your page position for a particular keyword phrases. If your signals add up to more than all of your competitor’s signals, then you will out-rank our local competitors. Part of the on-going process is to monitor your online competitors activities. If they improved their SEO signals, then we have to take counter-measures.

It is important to understand that, in SEO, you have to do more than your competitors. If your local competitors haven’t done much SEO work, then you may not have to do much to get to the top of page one. However, if numerous local competitors have been optimizing their sites for years, it may take a significant effort just to get to page one.

Optimizing for the Right Traffic

We can control the words that appear in the Google search results. This has two major implications:

  1. Well written and continuously tested copy can improve the “click through rate”. In other words, for every search for your keyword phrases, you get more clicks to your website. Poorly written copy can drive traffic away.
  2. The language in the search results will influence the type of person that comes to your website. If the search listing says “cheap, affordable…” then the visitor will most likely be looking for the lowest price. If the search listing says “high-quality experts”, then we will attract someone looking for quality.

The search listing text is often the very first thing a person reads about your company. It’s critical that you put your best foot forward for both SEO reasons and driving the right type of customers to your website.

How to rank in Google search results

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