Optimizing a website for local search results is a top priority for any business.
Its importance isn’t just part of online best practices; it’s also a necessity when it comes to gaining customers. The ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey data shows 63 percent of consumers will check Google first before visiting any businesses. Based on your efforts, your website can easily show up in page one of Google or page eight. The process could take some time and it can be intimidating, but you can reap its benefits in the long run. Here are a few tips to get you started on the optimization process.
- Take Advantage of Citations
- Spruce Up Your Google My Business Page
- Better, Longer, and More Reviews
- Create an Internal Linking Structure
- Build a Mobile-Friendly Site
- Optimize Existing Pages
- Spread the Word
Local Search Tip #1: Take Advantage of Citations
Chances are that your business is listed across multiple sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and Foursquare.
It’s vital that the information on those pages, such as the business name, address, and phone number (NAP), are correct.
You can correct each listing manually, but that could take some time. Fortunately, there are some citation tools available to get the job done.
Local Search Tip #2: Spruce Up Your Google My Business Page
One of the most important directories for business listings is Google My Business (GMB). ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey data shows 57 percent of online reviews are found through the search engine alone, and they only appear if a listing exists. If done correctly, a fully optimized Google My Business page can bring a surge of exposure. There’s even a chance that a business can end up as one of the top three listings, a.k.a. the “local pack.”
To reach that digital mountaintop, you’ll need to provide as much information as possible. In addition to NAP data, you should also add the following:
- Hours of operation
- Price range
- Website link
- Google My Business description
Reviews on GMB are also a factor for overall exposure. Make sure you ask customers to leave ratings and feedback on the page.
Local Search Tip #3: Better and More Reviews
Reviews tell Google that people actually visited your business, but they’re even more important for prospective customers.
Specifically, review signals (review quantity, velocity, and diversity) are ranked third in terms in local pack/finder ranking factors. In other words, reviews contribute greatly to your position in search engine results pages.
Research from the ReviewTrackers Online Reviews Survey shows that 80 percent of customers only trust 4-, 4.5-, and 5-star ratings.
Want to know how many reviews you need to make an impact on your rating? Check out our Google star calculator to find out:
Local Search Tip #4: Create an Internal Linking Structure
Internal links make it easier for users and Google to find the pages you want to rank on the results page.
Links a core part of traditional SEO as well as local SEO.
When creating a local strategy ask yourself how many clicks it takes for someone to get from your homepage to a page about one of your locations or a blog post that targets a local keyword (e.g., “Burgers in Atlanta”).
Ideally, users should be able to find one of your local pages in two or three links, and it shouldn’t take more than four.
By adding internal links and structure the site, you make it easy to find the pages you’re targeting. You can also create a hub page that list all your restaurants, offices, or locations. Create a link to that page in your navigation or footer to make sure that the user is never more than a click away from finding a location.
Local Search Tip #5: Build a Mobile-Friendly Site
It seems like an obvious tip, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Smartphones changed the mobile landscape, and now most people have a small computer inside their pockets. Businesses need to take advantage of the situation and create sites that can cater to the mobile audience
Perficient Digital’s research on mobile and desktop usage showed 58 percent of web visits in 2018 came from mobile devices. Furthermore, the average page view per visit is 5.15 pages on mobile as opposed to the 9.84 page views on desktop.
This means that it’s harder to keep the attention of consumers on mobile than on desktop. Each page needs to have compelling content because every click can convince people to either make a purchase or check out another competitors.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, rectify that problem immediately. You are missing out on a large group of potential customers.
Local Search Tip #6: Optimize Existing Pages
Website presentation is crucial for success, especially for businesses working in local SEO (search engine optimization) search engine optimization. The best place to start for site presentation is with updating each page’s title and meta description, which appear in search results and serve as a sneak preview of your content, and therefore need to be unique and compelling to attract customers.
Another way to improve your pages is by adding some location information in the title and description. This is helpful for those who are searching for businesses in your area.
If you have multiple locations, make sure that they each have their own landing pages. Not only does this help the customer experience, but it also tells Google to rank the business in multiple locations, which further increases your online visibility.
Local Search Tip #7: Spread the Word
Local search requires local outreach, and it’s important to get the word out about your business to anyone who will listen. This is especially true when talking with local media.
Try to get some exposure for your business. Talk about your prices and offerings, and show them how you are different from the competition. If journalists are writing a story that ranks businesses in the area try to get on that list, preferably in the top spot.
With any luck, enough people will see the rankings and look for your business on Google, and the Voice of the Customer can increase your local search rankings.
Local Search Optimization Gives Businesses an Advantage
The sooner you optimize for local search, the better. Even in this day and age, many businesses are ignoring or are not optimized for local search.
Research shows that 58 percent of businesses don’t optimize for search engine optimization, which means they miss out on new opportunities, customers, and most importantly, revenue.
By optimizing now, you gain a significant step over the competition. You can attract more customers and rise up the search engine rankings.