I once wrote a blog for a year straight that barely got any visitors. Needless to say, I got obsessed with search engine optimization. Today, my small site generated up to 3000 readers a month. I also generated my first dollar in business through local Singapore SEO.
I am also ranked for couple of local keywords that are important for my business:
I once also did SEO consulting work for a couple of clients, you can check out their testimonials here.
If you’re an SME business owner, student trying to start out a side hustle or an employee in a start up, mastering the skillset of Singapore local SEO can be extremely helpful to you.
The Ultimate Singapore Local SEO Guide
Okay, firstly, what the hell is Singapore local SEO? Isn’t SEO in itself complicated enough? Is there a ‘foreign SEO? Okay okay, I know all these sounds confusing to you.
Let me explain the concept of local SEO in this article.
Concept 1: Choosing The Right Singaporean Keywords
There is a HUGE confusion between local keywords and global keywords that is NOT addressed by a lot ‘SEO experts’ in Singapore.
There is a HUGE difference between:
- How to pick up girls in Singapore
- How to pick up girls
Singapore keywords are generally non competitive, as compared to global keywords. They often end off with a ‘Singapore’ or are keywords unique to Singapore. For Example: Tourist attractions, unique food names or Singaporean services.
Some examples of local keywords:
- How to Invest in Singapore
- Investment Courses in Singapore
- Places to Eat in Orchard Road
- Mei Mei Roasted Duck
Since I’m running a business as a dating coach, by ranking for this keywords like: pick up artist Singapore, it’ll get me potentially more leads and enquiries.
Local keywords are much easier to rank for, and global keywords are EXTREMELY difficult to rank for, which requires a lot of link building and outreach.
However, for this guide, I’m focused only on Singapore local SEO. So, are you ready to get your food blogging dreams started?
How to Determine Competition?
Have you ever wondered why Wikipedia at the top of Google?
That’s because Google determines its rankings by 1) number of links and 2) quality of content on Wikipedia. People often reference to Wikipedia as a guide and quote the research on Wikipedia on their websites. Hence, Wikipedia has great content, a lot of links point to it, and hence, become an authoritative website on Google.
Planning far ahead of time and doing keyword research before implementing SEO is one of the strategies recommended when executing an SEO campaign.
You can determine a keyword’s competition by Google that particular keyword and take a look at Google’s search results.
Here are the 3 key metrics:
- Quality of Content
Is your competitor’s content of quality? Is there scientific research involved? Is their post or page filled engaging with images and videos?
Firstly, take a look at the content of your competitor’s page. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- Can you write something that is better than that?
- Is the content on the site researched?
- Is it detailed, unique or long enough?
- Can you write something more persuasive or compelling so that visitors spend more time on that particular page?
Content makes up 33% of Google ranking factor. If you can beat your competitor on content or on On page SEO, you might not even need that many backlinks at all.
- Page Authority
Page authority is determined by the number of backlinks. Links are the determinant of how authoritative and relevant your content is, that is determined by other websites/ digital profiles. It works like a voting system. The relevancy of the links matters. If you got backlinks from a dog training website. It’ll be counted low in relevancy. It might even cost me a Google penalty.
By installing MOZ bar (it’s free, but has limited usage), you can research the page and domain authority of your target keyword by Googling it.
Some sites may be using grey hat, white hat or black hat SEO methods:
- The general “theme” of the linking domain
- The content on the linking page
- The relevancy of the backlinks hitting the domain
- Domain authority
Domain authority is the overall authority a site has. This is a metric of the overall quality of links your competitor’s site is getting linked to.
Domain Authority (DA) is a metric developed by at Moz, a third party SEO tool provider, and authority. The higher DA score = higher trust and authority score is given to the domain on a whole.
This is a shorter method. Keyword difficulty can be researched through tools such as MOZ keyword difficulty tool. MOZ is an industry leader when it comes to SEO tools, research, guidance and etc.
The lower the page authority, the easier the keyword.
Here are keyword research tools you can use to determine the linking profile of your competition:
- Majestic SEO
Note, a high domain and page authority does not automatically means that a page is can’t be outranked. They might be engaging in negative SEO and pointing paid links at their website or post.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- Are their links relevant to their site?
- Are their links from quality sites?
Some red flags to look out for are links that aren’t relevant to that site’s topic at all. You’ll be surprised at how many sites rely on black hat SEO techniques.
Pro Tip: If the sites are relevant, it’s a future potential link building opportunity for you to reach out to.
Can You Compete?
If your competition’s links are low quality websites, and their content is spam like and of low quality, you can go ahead to choose that keyword, as long as you aim to produce better quality content.
How to Pick Out Keywords to Target?
Understanding keyword research and competition contributes 50% of the success when it comes to SEO and designing a website that is targeted to your audience. I used to blog and write blindly without actually understand what people are actually typing on the other end of Google. I ended up with a blog with little to no traffic.
Long tail keywords tend to be less competitive and hence writing engaging content around it will attract the initial traffic into your website. Short tail keywords are much harder to rank for and it’ll take both time and effort to rank for these keywords.
Ideally, you want to be ranking for both long and short tail keywords as time progresses, and it can be done through a deeper understanding of SEO strategies such as link building.
This can only be one by creating remarkable content, which is content that is authoritative, researched, high quality and shareable.
- Local Singapore Keywords
Lot of Singaporean food and lifestyle bloggers target keywords that are exclusive to Singapore. These keywords have the term ‘Singapore’ in them, or are terms/ places that can only be found in Singapore.
They targeted location based keywords such as “Keyword + Singapore”.
Keywords that are uniquely Singaporean or local tend to have much lesser competition from international sites.
Google.Com.Sg also tends to return international results when there’s no “Singapore” qualifier or content context behind the keyword. Hence, if you’re target international keywords, you’re probably going to have hard time competing against bigger sites.
The downside of this strategy is that you’re limited to creating content limited that are confined to your country’s culture. Food bloggers can get awaywith it due the localized nature of food.
However, what about other services and industries such as accounting/ law and etc?
How to Identify Commercial Keywords?
Commercial keywords are normally shorter tailed. They don’t involve “How To’s” or “Whys” or “Where” in their query. These keywords often have words like “Services”, “Training” and “Lessons” behind them.
Commercial keywords are known to have the characteristic of the buyer’s intent. This means that the person typing these keywords into Google have a buying intent of whatever product or service they were looking for.
Commercial Keywords for my site include:
These queries are considered short tailed by nature and are the pages that you’ll want to rank for to convert sales and bring in leads for your website. Short tailed commercial keywords tend to be competitive and harder to rank for in the short run.
Concept 2: Get Your On Page SEO Right
Understanding how to do on page SEO is getting half of local SEO right.
- Publish Quality Content
In the modern world of SEO, it’s no longer just about stuffing keywords, it’s actually about writing content that’s sharable, funny, personalized, researched and all around excellent.
It’s also researched that content with 1900 words and above ranks higher than shorter content. Quality content boost gets your users to spend more time on your site, come back to your site and increase Google searches for your brand. These are all indirect, correlated SEO ranking factors.
This is why my articles are 2000+ words long accompanied by my sick jokes. Here’s something to brighten up your day:
- Link from Your Older Posts, and Link to Your Newer Posts
Internal links help Google crawl bots crawl deeper into your website, and help human users better navigate your website.
Tips about internal linking:
- Internal links should be varied and not only keywords focused and rich.
- You should aim to link whenever necessary and deemed helpful.
- Link out to Resources
Linking out signals relevancy of what your post or page is about. It’s an underused white hat SEO strategy. Linking out to resources, goes hand in hand with writing long content, that is researched and of high quality.
Note: I noticed Singaporean sites don’t have the habit of linking out, aren’t really responsive about guest blogging, collabs etc. From my experience, our SEO level is way behind the Americans.
- Use Short, Sweet and Simple Friendly URLs
Google has stated to avoid long and complicated URLs. Make your URLS shorter and sweet. This can be changed in the permalink settings of your site.
- Include Your Target Keyword in URL
Short, Sweet URLS:
- Optimize Your Title Tag: Include Your Target Keyword in Your H1 Title Tag
Title tags can be changed through SEO tools such as the All in One SEO plugin.
You should limit your title Tags are to 60 characters Per Title as Google SERPS can’t show more than a limited number of words.
It should also be:
- Relevant to Query
- Relevant to Content on Your Page
- Relevant to Links That point to Your Page
- Placed Nearer to the front of the Title
- Compelling and Persuasive
So, how can you create compelling, relevant title tags?
Think of yourself searching through Google and you’ll be most likely be more encouraged to click on titles that are more interesting or attractive to your search query right?
Titles such as ‘How To…’ and ‘Why He or She….’ are compelling titles motivate the user to click through on them to view the page’s content.
Using modifiers like “2016”, “Best”, “Guide”, and “Review” can help you rank for long tail keywords of your target keyword.
Here are some of my favourites:
Long Tail Keyword + “No Nonsense Guide”
Long Tail Keyword + “a Definitive Guide”
Long Tail Keyword +”The Ultimate Guide”
Including and writing title tags and meta descriptions that includes emotions like fear, love, disgust can also increase your click through rates.
- Keyword Stuffing
It’s not uncommon to see site owners attempt to include as many keywords as possible into one long title tag, hoping to rank for multiple keywords for with one piece of content.
Unless the queries are synonyms, it’s not going to work.
- Write a Persuasive Title
Click through rates from search engine results are researched to be minor ranking factor.
The higher click through rate your page has, the more likely you’ll appear in higher organic positions. Writing persuasive title tags and meta description can give you the extra 1 or 2 ranking boost etc that may give you the edge amongst your competitors.
So how do you go about writing a good title tags or meta descriptions? Here are some copywriting tips:
The Product Comparison:
- “Using DBS Vickers to Trade Stocks? This is better”
Ask a Question:
- Do you know SEO is one of the top skills looked for employers in Singapore?
Include a Number, Time Line and Benefit Technique:
Try to include a number, a specific benefit and a restricted time line in your copies.
- How Singapore Local SEO Can Double Your Side Hustle Income in 2 Weeks
- How to Increase Your Stock Account in 2 Weeks without Going Crazy
- Include Your Target Keyword in H2s Sub Headers
Including your target keyword in H2s is a relevancy signal.
For Eg. If I’m targeting: Local SEO Singapore.
Then I’ll create a H2 title tag with ‘How to Do Local SEO Singapore – an Ultimate guide’
- Include Keyword in Meta Descriptions and Write Persuasively
You’ll want to include your targeted keyword and write persuasive meta descriptions. You’ll also want to write meta descriptions for important pages such as home pages, the general pages on your website such as about us, services, contact and more.
I like to use: “Step by step guide on… + Keyword”.
For EG: “Here’s a step by step guide on how to do on Page SEO for your website to increase your site’s organic traffic from search engines such as Google.”
It’s not necessary to have unique meta descriptions on every page. Matt Cutts mentioned that it’s probably not worth your time to generate unique meta descriptions on every single page and post. Google will auto generate a meta description for your post or page if it’s left blank.
- Include Keywords in Alt Text in Images
Next, when uploading them, there’s an option to fill in the ‘Title’ of the image and the ‘Alternative Text’ of the image.
There’s the title option, the caption option, the alt text and description option. Filling them up will give the search engines a textual context on the image.
- Include Multimedia In Your Post
Including images, videos and other forms of multimedia can reduce bounce rate and increase time spent on your post or page.
It’s researched that posts with more than one image gets shared more.
- Have a Mobile Friendly and Responsive Design Website
There is a survey done by Today, a Singaporean newspaper starting that Singapore’s smartphone penetration has the highest percentage globally.
If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re losing out on users.
Imagine loading up an ugly website on your mobile screen that load slows and doesn’t function well on your smartphone screen. You’re going to exit the website immediately. Google won’t recognize your site as a valuable site because of people coming in and leaving immediately.
I once handled an SEO project where I tweaked a client’s website to a non-mobile friendly website for only a week and our website traffic went down by 35%.
To check if your website is mobile friendly. Use the Google mobile-friendly test tool. It’s free and it’s powered by Google.
- Include Social Sharing Buttons
Social signals are not a direct ranking signal. However, Google has mentioned that social sharing and links are an indirect ranking signal. Studies have shown that having social sharing buttons increases social sharing by 700%.
- Encourage User Interaction and Blog Comments
Genuine user interaction such as blog comments sends a signal to Google that your page is of quality.
User interaction also boosts time spent on the site. Encourage people to comment and debate on your blog. This can be encouraged by making the barrier for a comment lower.
So guys, do leave a comment or two. It’s the internet, if you make an ugly comment trust me I won’t lose sleep over it, don’t be shy.
Concept 3: Sign up and Use Google my Business
If you look at Google results, you notice that there are results that come from a map:
You can beat your competitors who are ranking well organically but do not apply local SEO listings in their strategies. Google places ‘local SEO listings’ above organic results from time to time. If you don’t have strong organic local SEO rankings, you can bypass it and rank higher than the ones that do.
Google wants you to achieve consistency on your online profiles. They will compare this information with other sources and how well you rank on local SERPs is determined if Google can find consistent business information that matches the one you supply on your website. That’s because they want their users to have the most accurate information possible.
Okay, firstly, you’ll require to publish similar name, address and phone numbers on your online profiles. This can range from social media profiles to review sites.
Secondly, sign up for Google my business, type in your the relevant information and verify it by mail. Yes, Google will send you a free mail.
Websites to achieve Consistency On
Remember, you’ll need to have consistent NAME, ADDRESS and PHONE NUMBERS on these profiles.
Social Media Profiles:
These accounts are all free, make sure you fill in your physical address, contact number and phone number accordingly.
How can event sites help with local SEO? That’s simple, when you host events, you can publish similar address, phone number and business name on these sites. It’s an extra trick and tip to achieve consistency on online profiles.
Business Directories in Singapore:
Business directories are a great way to build your first do follow backlinks. They are also a great place to achieve consistency for your name, address and phone number.
There are a lot more directories than these two, however, I’ll be including the top two for this article.
If you want a full list of SEO citations, you check out the article linked. It’s published by my friend from SEOGoodGuys.
When you sign up for platforms such as Facebook or Google my business, your business is now open to reviews. Getting reviews on your services on digital profiles is helpful for local SEO. You can get your customers leave a positive review you on Google or Facebook. Positive reviews also boost higher click through rates and hence, higher rankings.
Here’s the downside about reviews: your competitors may be able to use negative SEO and sabotage you. You got to keep a look out for that and track your reviews. You can use tools such as Google alerts for brand mentions. Your competitors are also able to modify your listing on Google my business.
Closing Thoughts: Is Local SEO in Singapore Enough?
There are guides on the internet that recommends schema mark ups and etc. SEO can get quite technical. Not to mention global SEO. However, local SEO in Singapore can be powerful when done right, especially in the beginning of your marketing campaign. When I freelanced as an SEO consultant, I felt that a lot of small business owners in Singapore are unknowledgeable about SEO in general.
If you’re a start up or a small company with limited resources. You can take advantage of this knowledge gap, apply these local SEO strategies and outrank your competitors within couple of months.
If you’re a student, employee or entrepreneur looking to monetize that side hustle, SEO is going to be extremely helpful.
Photo Credits: VulcanPost