Why Website Optimization is Important for Local SEO
Your website serves as another valuable citation piece for search engines, but the keywords you use in the right elements on your website can make your brand more visible even if people aren’t necessarily looking for your business.
Moz’s report on local search ranking factors put on-page signals – which includes the right keywords in titles, overall domain authority, and the right basic information about the business – as the second-highest factor in organic search.
An optimized site also helps brands that have multiple locations. When done correctly, your business website not attracts more traffic from local searchers because of the way you create and improve individual pages for each of your locations.
The Local SEO Strategy for Website Optimization
If you know the keywords that you want to rank for in local searches, you can implement them in the right places throughout your website. This can be in the title of various pieces of content as well as in subsequent headings throughout the site. You can also put the keywords as part of an image when you add it to one of your pages.
Another way to highlight these keywords is by using schema markup code, which you (or a web developer on your staff) can add to your site’s HTML code. This code can help search engines find multiple elements of information on your site so use it to highlight relevant information such as your business name, contact information, opening hours, and even first-party reviews (more on that later).
When creating landing pages for your other locations, you should make the URL address simple so that both search engines and customers have an easier time to find it. Instead of a complicated line of nonsensical numbers and symbols, you can try changing it to the format below:
You should also invest in the time to make your website mobile-friendly. Research shows that 57 percent of all local searches are conducted on smartphones or tablets. When someone on a mobile device goes to your website, your website and its contents should be optimized on today’s portable devices. Neglecting this improvement can be a missed opportunity to bring in more customers, many of whom might be ready to convert within 48 hours.
Local SEO Factor #4: Content
The backbone of any local SEO strategy is the content you create to bring more eyes to your business. In many ways, creating this content can bring in more leads than paid promotions and advertising.
HubSpot research showed that 69 percent of businesses say their improvement in lead generation is due to their blogging efforts. However, this doesn’t mean that you should create content for the sake of making content. It needs to be meaningful and provide valuable insight to the customer to make them more interested in what you have to offer.
Why Content is Important to Local SEO
The right content can bring larger volumes of traffic. However, the HubSpot research above shows that content can also turn those use visitors from interested parties to actual leads. This puts the onus on you to keep the overall content tone and quality consistent in other parts of the site as well so that they easily convert into an actual customer.
Meaningful content also stands out in SEO, which helps you build authority online. Even just a few pieces of high-quality content can easily set you apart from the competition, but finding the key topics for your industry requires some research on your end.
The Local SEO Strategy for Content
When creating content, think of a topic that represents your industry as a whole instead of looking for ways to promote your products and services. Creating these overarching topics shows your knowledge of the industry as a whole, which can put you in place to be a thought leader for the local scene.
However, you shouldn’t just constantly churn out small bits of content in order to build up that authoritative voice. Each piece of content must be well thought out, include valuable stats and figures, and provide actionable insights for the reader.
The top marketing challenge for businesses in 2018 was to generate traffic and leads. By focusing on blogging to create high-quality and authoritative content, you are 13x more likely to see a positive return on your investment.
Local SEO Factor #5: Reviews
Customers need social proof when choosing a business. They want to know that other people tried it and had a genuine experience, and these all come in the form of customer reviews. Actively gathering, monitoring, and responding to reviews will tell future customers that your brand utilizes feedback to engage with past customers and improve the overall experience.
Why Reviews are Important for Local SEO
To get into the local pack, you’ll need reviews, which are one of the top three factors for higher rankings. This is because reviews are so powerful when it comes to convincing the customer. In fact, 94 percent of consumers said a review convinced them to avoid a business.
When it comes to local search, the reviews on your GMB listing will also play a role. Research shows that 63 percent of consumers will check Google for reviews before they even visit a business.
Simply put, the quality and quantity of reviews on your local listings can easily bring people in just as easily as it can deter them away from you and towards the local competition. Here are some local SEO tips to make sure that you get more of the former and not the latter.
The Local SEO Strategy for Reviews
If you already have customer reviews, you should take some time to respond to customer feedback because it shows that you care about the experience of every customer and want to use reviews to improve it for future patrons.
Responding to reviews is an opportunity to build a trusting relationship with each customer, but only 36 percent of customers actually get a response from a business. With the right responses, you can make a one-time customer a loyal patron or even convince a critic to come back for a better experience. Data shows that responding to negative reviews specifically makes it 44 percent more likely for someone to visit the business in question.
Before responding, make sure that you have a plan in place so that each review carries the same professional tone and manner whether it’s responding to praise or criticism.
Once you respond to reviews you should also make an effort to actively ask for more feedback from customers. There isn’t one correct way to ask for reviews so you’ll need to employ multiple tactics to get the feedback you want. This includes:
- Post-visit emails
- SMS notifications
- Feedback kiosk at checkout
- Website review landing pages
- Asking directly
Employing different strategies for review generation ensures that you’re providing multiple ways of making the review request process as convenient as possible. Forcing people to go through one method of leaving a review might leave you wanting more feedback, but using digital and analog options together ensures that you get as many reviews as possible.
With enough reviews and a steady stream of fresh feedback coming on a regular basis, it’s time to promote your best feedback. This is free marketing material that you can use to convince new customers to give your business a shot.
If you have social media channels, you can easily retweet or share some of your best (or worst) feedback. If people are leaving reviews on your website, you can show those off with custom widgets like ReviewTrackers’ Amplify tool. Showing off reviews on your website alone can increase your overall conversion by 270 percent.
The reviews submitted through your website also count as first-party reviews, which you can mark up with schema code. Over time, this allows search engines to leave star ratings and an overall rating score next to your website link in SERPs.
A Multi-Point Local SEO Strategy
There’s no better time to execute your local SEO efforts than right now. Even if your nearby competitors are ranking higher than you in online SERPs, you can use these tips and best practices to improve your online position.
By optimizing your GMB listing and your website, creating consistent citations, publishing high-quality content, and garnering better reviews, your business will eventually catch up and even surpass the local competition in SERPs. Over time, this results in more exposure, more loyal customers, and ultimately larger revenues.