Small businesses with a local physical address are reliant on local SEO to grow their business and help expose their brand to more potential customers. In the last few years, the growth in mobile search has resulted in a big boost in local search volumes. A lot of these search queries include state name or the city and sometimes even specific neighborhoods and area codes. Local SEO has undergone many transformations through all of last year but the fundamental ranking factors remain more or less the same. Local businesses still have a much better chance of ranking higher locally than a nationwide company, with a properly optimized site that feeds Google with all the right information. Here are a few pointers on what inbound marketers and small businesses can do to design an effective local search strategy to help them dominate the rankings.
Optimize On-Page SEO Elements
To optimize your site for local searches, marketers have to focus on improving on-page ranking factors. Keyword research is the foundation of on-page optimization to help understand what your best keywords are to rank high on every page. Once you know the keywords that best describe your business, you need to edit your meta title, URL, H1 tag, and body content based on it.
Your business information should also be included in the footer on your website to give the search engines a h4 message about your location. It should include your:
- Business Name
- Full Address
- Telephone Number
- Email Address
Speed and Mobile Optimization
Use Structured Data
Using structured data mark-ups can help tell search engines what your business is all about, its location and provide your business address as a rich snippet in search results, besides increasing your websites CTR. You can use Schema.org besides the existing HTML microdata in order to design your structured data. Or else use the data highlighter in your webmasters tool. Google also has a free Structured Data Testing Tool to alert you of errors in your structured data.
Publish Locally Optimized Quality Content
People are always looking for information online. Your content can help provide this information to your audience. Create useful local content that will interest your customers and make sure to promote your content so they get to see it. Besides using local keywords in the title, headings, and tags organically, you can use visuals and graphics to make the content interesting, or write eye-catching headlines and clear calls-to-action.
Get in Local Directories and Google Map
Local listing on search engines can also derive information from separate indexes other than the main web search results, such as Google places for businesses, Bing places for business or Yahoo local listing. Google also uses local directories or citations like Yellow Pages, Yelp, Facebook, Web Local to identify what businesses are available in a given area. So it is important to spend time making business profiles on these sites to rank for local terms. Keep your information updated on Google My Business (GMB) account, including store hours, phone number and address to show up on Google Maps. Do enter all relevant categories to improve your chance of ranking for these terms. Make sure to list down your business’ contact details on GMB and local SEO the same as on your site.
Make Yourself Visible On Social Media Profiles
Your site is just part of a local community on the web and local search information is interlinked online. Make sure to secure social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare and ensure that they link back to your website. Optimize them for local searches to give positive social signals to search engines by including business location within their descriptions. You can also leverage your presence on social media channels to promote your local reviews. This will help establish social proof and increase your CTR too.