What is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website for when someone searches for what you do near your business’ physical location or with a geographic modifier, like “architect nj”.
People and businesses often like working with local companies so local searches can be an important part of your search visibility profile and can drive business for you.
Here are 6 local SEO tips that will make a difference for your business.
1) Get Your Local Citations Normalized
Your local citations are places where your business is listed on the internet. Think of them like online phone books. Many of these are directory websites. Some of them also will link to your website, so that can be an added bonus since that link can also help with your search visibility.
Your local citations must be consistent with the information on your website. your business name, address, and phone number should be listed on your website and that exact information should be used for your various local citations. Google calls this your NAP. That’s short for name, address, phone number. When Google sees your NAP on your website and it matches all the places your business is listed online, they see your business as a real business and they only want to show real businesses in the search results.
When you’re starting work on building local citations, you should start with the big boys. Google My Business, found at www.google.com/business, should be your number one local citation. make sure that your Google My Business listing is completely filled out and verified. Don’t leave any fields empty and add pictures to your listing. The pictures should be of the inside and the outside of your location plus you can include your logo. Google My Business also allows you to add a link to an online scheduling tool like calendly.com so that people can make an appointment with you directly from the search engine results.
After you claim your Google My Business listing Google will send you a postcard in the mail to verify your listing and address. This is done to ensure that you have a real business at a real physical location.
Also, make sure that you submit your business’ local citation too Bing Places and Apple Maps Connect. Apple is the one that people often overlook but Apple Maps Connect drives local results for voice searches via Siri so Apple Maps Connect is especially important for local services, retail, dining, and bars.
There are thousands of other places to submit your local citation. Local news sites are a good source for citation opportunities as are rating sites like Yelp.
2) Mention Your Business Location On Your Website
We already talked about adding your address to your website, But you should add your location to your website in other ways as well.
- Add your location to your website’s title tags and H1 tags. Don’t want to add your whole address just add what you do and your city or state. Like so: Award Winning Architect Serving New York & New Jersey.
- Create pages of content around case studies for projects you’ve done for customers mention that customer’s location within that content and include location as part of the headline and the title tag for that page.
- Create a local directory on your website of related businesses that you recommend. these can be your friends and networking partners or you can just add local businesses that you like.
3) Use Local Business Schema
Schema is structured data that is in the code of your website. It is not visible to users. Google loves structured data because it makes it easy for them to better understand what a page is about.
Schema sounds scary but it’s fairly simple. the local business schema includes vital information about your business like the name, address, phone number, longitude and latitude of your location. It also includes a logo or image and you have a lot of options to include more data like open hours and other information about your business.
Local business schema goes in the header of your entire website. It’s another way to reinforce your location with Google. The more Google knows about your business and your website, the more you will show up for local or geographic related searches about what you do.
4) Make Sure Your Website Represents What You Do
More and more Google is evaluating your entire website, not just your local indicators, to evaluate when your business should be shown for a geographic related or local search. So it’s super important to reinforce the items above, but you also have to have a clear definition of your products and services.
Make sure that you have at the minimum a separate page for each product or service you offer. These pages should describe the problems that you solve for people and the benefits of your service to them. Don’t assume that people know what you do, spell it out, be clear and be obvious and direct.
If you have done a good job clearly defining your products and services and reinforcing your location you should do better in local search rankings.
5) Stop Sweating About Being On The Map
The map in the Google search results has gotten harder and harder to appear in over the past few years. The map has changed a lot and now only shows three businesses in the search engine results. So the map slots are way more limited than they were five years ago. That makes them much harder to achieve.
Most times Google shows the map based on the physical location of searcher or if the searcher indicates a specific location in their query. This means that you have very little control over whether you appear on the map or not for a particular query.
Because of these daunting challenges for appearing on the map, our local strategy is a broader one that focuses on overall geographic awareness by Google. We have found this strategy to be much more effective than focusing the three limited slots in a map for a particular location and a particular search term. A well defined local profile can be very effective for driving targeted traffic.
6) Track Your Local Search Rankings
Most of the search ranking tracking tools allow you to identify a geography when tracking your search engine rankings. This can be very important for a local business. Knowing where you’re having success or where you are failing can help you develop a better strategy going forward to ensure success.
Plus, if you are going to put in the effort try and rank locally it just makes sense track your results so you can adjust strategy as needed. This is especially important since Google changes the ranking algorithm every single day.
As with any marketing plan, local search engine ranking takes strategy, planning, execution, analysis, and adjustment. If you need help with local ranking strategy for your business contact us today. We can help.