Hi and a question

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My name says everything. A local business that's been struggling since inception(5 years ago). COVID has hit us hard but we are still functioning which tells me that may be there is a core of resilience in the business.
Have used the period to introspect about the business and have come to the conclusion that content marketing is the only way forward. Towards that end plan to increase the number of pages from 5 to 300 over 2 years.

I have two aims for the website :
1. Dominate local serps for bottom of the funnel queries
2. Feature nationally for top of the funnel queries (informational long tail keywords)

I'm finding it difficult to figure out how to structure my website to achieve the above aims. Please give your advice.

The question I have is : how good is the ubersuggest keyword difficulty tool? What score should a new website target?
Thank you all!
 
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Welcome to the forums, @thelocalstruggl

I'm sure there wil be plenty of other local and business experts along to chime in here. But I would offer a few things for you to think about first before you get too wrapped up in 'targeting' keywords and using tools.

1) You are a local business that has been running, even if struggling, for five years. That means - unless you are completely dumb - you have built up an idea of what needs you fulfil for your local customers and what barriers they experience before they use your services. Your website should first of all address those needs and help remove those barriers. YOU are the expert here, not any kw tool, and nothing is going to take away your own experience. If you have any problems visualising the answers to the above (or even if you don't have problems) sit down and talk to your staff and find out what their views are. Or offer a customer discount if they are willing to sit down with you for 10 minutes and answer some questions. Then go and visit your five biggest local competitors and see what they are doing in real life and online.
2) I'm a bit confused about your website - do you not have one at the moment? If that's the case, then you need to concentrate on getting the basics right first of all (rather than thinking about targeting national kws). That means Google and business directory listings, linkbuilding on a local basis, online awareness and social media build-out, etc. Then you start building out and watch what gets traction with your viewers (is it how-tos? is it quirky blog posts? is it local engagement? is it technical FAQs?) and what works for your website traffic (links? social media? traffic leaks? parasiting?).
3) I know it sounds a real white-hat thing to say, but *really* helping the website visitor and real-life customer achieve what they set out to do is a basic necessity for a successful online business. And yet the fact that so many businesses ignore this offers a real opportunity. Why did the visitor land on your site? Why did the potential customer walk in the door? What did they want? Did you help them achieve it? Were they happy when they left? Would they recommend your services to a friend?

Tbh, most people in SEO will use a kw tool to help work out a niche they don't have much knowledge in. If I've been working in a niche for a while, I know what kind of kws work from my business experience and visitor reactions. You have local industry knowledge which should be more valuable what some tool will say about 'red widgets in little rock'.
 
Joined
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Welcome to the forums, @thelocalstruggl

I'm sure there wil be plenty of other local and business experts along to chime in here. But I would offer a few things for you to think about first before you get too wrapped up in 'targeting' keywords and using tools.

1) You are a local business that has been running, even if struggling, for five years. That means - unless you are completely dumb - you have built up an idea of what needs you fulfil for your local customers and what barriers they experience before they use your services. Your website should first of all address those needs and help remove those barriers. YOU are the expert here, not any kw tool, and nothing is going to take away your own experience. If you have any problems visualising the answers to the above (or even if you don't have problems) sit down and talk to your staff and find out what their views are. Or offer a customer discount if they are willing to sit down with you for 10 minutes and answer some questions. Then go and visit your five biggest local competitors and see what they are doing in real life and online.
2) I'm a bit confused about your website - do you not have one at the moment? If that's the case, then you need to concentrate on getting the basics right first of all (rather than thinking about targeting national kws). That means Google and business directory listings, linkbuilding on a local basis, online awareness and social media build-out, etc. Then you start building out and watch what gets traction with your viewers (is it how-tos? is it quirky blog posts? is it local engagement? is it technical FAQs?) and what works for your website traffic (links? social media? traffic leaks? parasiting?).
3) I know it sounds a real white-hat thing to say, but *really* helping the website visitor and real-life customer achieve what they set out to do is a basic necessity for a successful online business. And yet the fact that so many businesses ignore this offers a real opportunity. Why did the visitor land on your site? Why did the potential customer walk in the door? What did they want? Did you help them achieve it? Were they happy when they left? Would they recommend your services to a friend?

Tbh, most people in SEO will use a kw tool to help work out a niche they don't have much knowledge in. If I've been working in a niche for a while, I know what kind of kws work from my business experience and visitor reactions. You have local industry knowledge which should be more valuable what some tool will say about 'red widgets in little rock'.
Thanks so much for the warm welcome.
The business is pretty much sorted out as far as customer experience is concerned once they walk into it. In 5 years, I can count the number of dissatisfied customers on the fingers of one hand.
The problem is that it's a very small niche and word of mouth is how it runs generally.
The website is old but only the homepage ranks on and off and the map back generally features us for a few miles around the business. When it was created I didn't know anything about SEO and it shows. The homepage was optimized for a word that isn't used to find businesses like ours! So this time I want to avoid making the same mistake.
The "money keywords" are probably 3 or 4. Which ones I should target on my homepage? How to build relevance for the location without sounding spammy? How to structure the site without having the URLs cannibalize each other? These are some of the questions I'm trying to find answers for.
 
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It really depends how your business is. What would you say if we were riding in a lift (elevator) and you were trying to tell me what you did before I got off at the next floor?

"I repair widgets in Nowheresville, Illinois"
"I do wedding photography in Grimespond in the UK"
"I produce snowboards in Australia for one-legged surfers"

That would usually be the main focus for your site's home page.

Of course, you might repair a whole range of widgets and particular ones are your speciality. Or you might do wedding videos and drone footage as a supplementary service. And you also have pet-friendly snowboards. But that can all come as related parts of your website.

The only real problem comes if you are a wedding photographer who repairs widgets when there are no weddings going on and snowboards in the winter (in which case it might be suitable to have three different websites).

You mention that it is a very small (local?) niche? When you act as if you were a potential customer do your competitors appear for all of the search queries? Who does? Who doesn't? Who is most prominent? What kind of results is Google showing? (Normal? Shopping? FAQs? Images? Videos?) Are your competitors featuring in all of those? When you look at their websites, how are they organised? What keywords are they ranking for? Do they make sense to you as an experienced person in that industry that these kws are what people would use to find a satisfactory result for their search?

What are people in the same niche doing in the biggest town in the neighbouring state/province? Is there anything to learn from their sites/structure/kws?

How do your customers get to you at the moment? (You say word of mouth but it has to start somewhere.) Forums, social media, other web mentions, online or offline advertising?