6-Steps On How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search
What is the first thing you do if you are looking for a particular service, product, or place? Did you Google it and then pick the closest location with the best reviews? If you did, you’re not alone. 93% of online experiences are with a search engine, and local search is growing in a big way!
Optimizing your website information so that Google shows you as an option is essential to capturing potential customers online, especially for small businesses. This process is called Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
To help you get started, we have compiled a list of 6 steps on how you can quickly improve your website rankings for Local SEO.
1. Claim Your Google Business Profile
The most important thing you can do to help your local SEO is to claim your Google Business Profile listing.
Previously known as your Google My Business Profile, this is a platform with which you can manage your online presence with Google’s search engine. Your goal should be to appear in Google’s Local Pack and Google Maps, giving you much more visibility in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Once you create and claim ownership of a Google Business profile, you can easily manage and update all of your business information so it can be viewed by your customers accurately. Information required includes your NAP (Business name, address, phone number,) business hours, special events & promotions, location pictures, products or services, logo etc.
Remember that your Google Business profile will require constant updating, as clients and customers can suggest edits. Google is also constantly making improvements to serve potential customers best. If you already have a Google Business Profile, here are seven ways you can optimize your profile right now.
2. Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
When people search for a local service, they are likely doing so from their mobile phones. Google has found that 94% of people search for local businesses via their phones. 77% of these mobile searches occur at home or at work, which is interesting because it shows how mobile use surpasses desktop use.
Therefore, your potential customer will likely look elsewhere if your website isn’t built for mobile use. I know that if a website is slow to load on my phone, I get frustrated and move on to my next option – why wait when I can get the information somewhere else more quickly? I’m sure you can relate!
To see how your website ranks for mobile-friendliness, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test will provide a score and ways to improve your website’s mobile experience.
3. Update Your Website For Local Content
This tip is three-pronged. You want to make your website less generic and more local, which will make it more relevant to your local visitors. Here are three ways to do that:
If you have multiple locations, create a separate location page for each location and apply the information above.
It is invaluable to include keywords associated with each location (e.g. bakery new york). You can conduct quick keyword research to see what words people typically associate with your geographical area. These can be plugged seamlessly into the writing of your web page content, page title and meta description.
Notice how I said “seamlessly” – Google cracks down on “keyword stuffing” and will penalize your website if the content appears to be trying to manipulate its algorithm.
Last but not least, another great way to bolster your website content for Local SEO is to create content such as blog posts, videos and infographics about your location and services.
4. Add Schema Markup to Your Website
Schema markup, found at schema.org, is a form of microdata that tells search engines what your web page is about.
Once added to a webpage, schema markup will create an enhanced description (also known as a rich snippet), which appears in search results.
Schema markup provides extra context to search engines about the information on your website. That way, Google and other search engines can index your web pages more effectively.
Think of it as a library index card! Implementing local schema markups will boost your SEO ranking and upgrade your chances of being presented by Google as a potential option to your customers.
5. Provide Local Directories With Your Information
Your Google Business Profile is likely the most important directory, but thousands more are out there.
Think of local directories as the digital versions of newspaper columns and old school phone books. Adding your business details and website to as many directories as possible is what you want to do, and ensure that there is no conflicting information.
In addition, conducting periodic audits on how directories present your business information is essential to avoid inconsistent details that can hurt your ranking with search engines.
6. Get Google Reviews
As we mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog, we typically choose a service provider based on reviews. Therefore, getting reviews should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.
If people are happy about your services, don’t be shy to ask for a written review! By accessing the back end of your Google Business Profile, you can copy a link to a request form that makes it simple for your clients to leave a little memo about how happy they are.
Add these to your website once you have a few reviews in your repertoire. Being a business owner isn’t easy, so you have every right to toot your own horn with happy customer reviews. Feel free to share these on your social media as well.
To conclude, here are the 6-Steps on how to optimize your website for local search:
Now that you know the basics of improving your local SEO look at our article on the 21 best local SEO tools. These tools range from paid to free services but are guaranteed to up your local SEO game.
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