10 Local SEO Tips For Calgary

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science of getting your site to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when potential clients are searching for relevant keywords.

In other words, it helps you attract customers who are actively looking for your products and services. Those are high-quality leads, and they’ll often convert to paying customers the same day they find you in a search.

Local SEO is all about finding those leads in your area. We’re going to give you 10 free, highly actionable tips for local SEO in Calgary. Following these tips will improve your ranking in search engines, so expect more online leads and conversions. Your phone might start ringing off the hook, so get ready!

We’re dividing these tips into four categories:

  • Help Calgarians Find You
  • Keywords and Content
  • Building Relationships
  • Technical SEO


Help Calgarians Find You

1. Claim Your Google My Business

We have an in-depth guide to Google My Business (GMB) in Calgary, and I highly recommend checking it out. Here’s a brief synopsis:

  • GMB results have more information than normal organic search results – they include pictures, location, hours of operation, CTAs, and more.
  • You can claim your GMB for free.
  • Optimize your GMB by choosing relevant categories for your business, adding photos, responding to reviews, answering questions, and making Posts.

Bing has its own GMB equivalent called Bing Places. While Bing has far fewer users than Google, you may also want to claim your Bing Places – it’s also free of charge.

2. Build Citations

When it comes to local SEO, name, address, and phone number (NAP) citations are an absolute must. We’ve got the most in-depth guide to Canadian NAP citations you’re likely to find on the web. For those who want the quick and skinny:

  • Keep the name, address, and phone number of your business consistent across all websites. This goes double if you have multiple locations (each of which should have a separate address/phone number).
  • Make sure you’re listed with Yellow Pages, the most important NAP aggregator in Canada.
  • Keep listings consistent on other directories, like Facebook and Yelp.

Building your citations properly is especially important if you’ve got multiple locations throughout Calgary – your Inglewood location and your Varsity location will have different GMB listings, so you need to keep things consistent so as not to be penalized by Google.


3. Keyword and Content

Search engines care deeply about one thing: keeping users on their platform. They do this by serving relevant results. Want to end up at the top of the first SERP? You’ve got to make content that search engine users want to see.


4. Keyword Research

The first step is figuring out what search queries you want your business to show up for. When it comes to local SEO, these queries will often include terms like “Calgary”, or more specifically things like “Beltline” or “Crescent Heights”. We’ll talk more about that in a little bit.

There are several ways to research keywords, from brainstorming phrases you think people might use to using keyword research tools. Basically, you want to figure out what problems people are trying to solve by using a search engine, what terms they’ll search for to solve those problems, and then provide the solution to those problems. You’ll include the keywords or phrases you’re expecting them to search for in the content you’ll create.


5. Competitor Research

Now that you’ve completed your keyword research, you might find that some of your competitors are ranking very well for the keywords you’ve selected. 

Use their content to your advantage.

The basic premise is simple. Search engines are going to rank content that they think is relevant – very highly. Imagine you’re a plumber in Calgary, and you want to rank for “burst pipes Calgary”. You might notice that a competing plumber has an article about that with an embedded video that ranks top for that query.

To rank highly, you should make a better article with a better embedded video. In other words, keep the same type of content, but improve on it. This is one of the simplest ways of brainstorming content for a particular keyword.


6. Make Location Pages

Calgary is really big – lots of people, lots of neighbourhoods. That means people won’t always be searching for “Calgary plumbers” – they might instead look up “Beltline plumbers”. You definitely want to rank for those searches – that means you need location pages.

Location pages are, in essence, landing pages meant to attract clients who make hyper-local queries – queries about a particular neighbourhood. Your location page should include a bit of information about that neighbourhood, the people who live there, and why they’ll be well-served by your business.

Not every business should have multiple location pages. This strategy usually works best if you have multiple physical locations and/or you travel to various neighbourhoods (to deliver products and/or services).


7. Blog Often

Your blog is one of the most important tools in your SEO toolkit. You’ll want to blog about location and industry-specific topics: a yard care company, for example, could blog about strategies to deal with Calgary’s seemingly random inclement weather. 

Use your keyword and competitor research to guide what kind of content you post on your blogs. You’ll be using these blogs to reach out to others around the web, so be sure to keep them readable, shareable, and enjoyable, all while answering relevant queries.


8. Building Relationships

Now that we’ve developed some high-quality content on your website, it’s time to get other websites to link to yours.


The short answer is that search engines can’t easily distinguish between high-quality and low-quality content. Instead, they rely on links from websites they see as authorities to help them judge whether or not your web page is high-quality. 


9. Build Links

The concept here is simple: make high-quality content that bloggers and industry leaders in Calgary will want to link to, and then let them know about your content. To find out which websites have high authority, use Moz’s Authority Checker and ahrefs’ Authority Checker on websites you might be interested in getting links from.

Finding websites that want to link to you takes a bit of research – try to find other websites that are posting engaging, Calgary-related content.


10. Get Social

Join or create Calgary Facebook groups related to your industry. Be active on Instagram. Post links to your blogs, photos, videos – anything on your site. When people share your links, you’ll get more traffic to your website. That web traffic will stay on your website longer if the content is good. That’s all very useful for boosting your rank.


BONUS TIP – Technical SEO

Get Quick Wins

You want your website to be fast and responsive. Responsive basically means your website should load differently depending on which browser, device, and screen size the person surfing your site is using.

You can test how quickly your website is loading using Google’s PageSpeed Insights – adjust your website accordingly. 


Get Rich Results with Structured Data

Two invaluable tools for you: Google’s Rich Results Test and their Structured Data Markup Helper.

Structured data makes it easier for search engines to classify information on your website. You can list a recipe as “recipe”, your location as “location”, reviews as “reviews”, and much, much more.

This allows you to get Rich Results from Google – that includes images, reviews, price points, and a lot of other things in your search results. These results are much more visually enticing than plain text results, and they could lead to more people clicking on your site instead of your competitors.

Follow these tips, and you’ll find your ranking in Calgary improves drastically – especially if this is your first foray into SEO. You can do it! 

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The purpose of First Rank is to help businesses generate leads from their websites. We put a focus on SEO, because we believe it is one of the most cost effective and highest converting forms of traffic generation, however traffic alone is not enough on its own to grow your business. SEO should be combined with conversion optimization, email marketing and retargeting to maximize the ROI of your advertising dollars.