Local SEO 101: What You Need To Know

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 26, 2016

When searching for local businesses, consumers need search results that are tailored to their current location, and that’s what local SEO (search engine optimization) does; it optimizes the online presence of a local business for a particular area so that it appears in local listings such as Google Maps, and other organic search results. Since mobile search has skyrocketed in the recent years, and with the increased trust in local businesses over large brands, you cannot ignore geography when planning for SEO. Here are a few key ideas to optimize the local search for your business.

Ensure you optimize your business location in your site

Ensure you include the state, city, and other geographical information on the relevant areas of your website. This includes the Contact Us, Store Location page, About Us, as well as footers, body, headers, and Meta description copy. Google refers to these signals together with your listings, and checks for their consistency.

Confirm your listing in Google My Business

Google My Business enables you to create and update profiles on Google Plus, Google Maps, and Google Search. Thus, fill out your profile with pictures, description of services, and hours of operation. Consider these tips:

Present your business as you would in an offline directory
Avoid keyword stuffing or other manipulative SEO tactics
Ensure your NAP (name, addresses, and phone number) are correct
If you run multiple brick and mortar stores, ensure you claim all your locations

Make sure your business citations are widespread and accurate

Employ online services such as Yext, Whitespark, and Bright Local to manage your business citations on the internet and search for new places to get listed. In local SEO, a few things are more important than a big number of business citations to increase your rankings and assure the consumers you are an important part of their community.

Get reviews

Encourage your consumers to write reviews on your Google business listing. If you have many positive reviews, your business search results will improve. Ensure the reviews are honest and legitimate. A business that has only superb reviews looks suspect to both the consumers and search engines, and this can taint the confidence of buyers in your store and alter your optimization efforts.

Mobile responsiveness

Most search queries are made on mobile devices, and now it is vital that you optimize your site for mobile devices. As you design your site, consider highlighting important information for your consumers. Also, add a “Click-To-Call” extension to enable users to contact you instantly. In April 2015, Google started considering the mobile-friendliness of websites in their mobile search rankings. And any business that fails to offer great mobile experience will experience a decrease in mobile search visibility. Thus, check how your design and navigations can increase the user experience for mobile users. Things such as phone numbers, business hours, and store location need to be clearly visible and enhanced for fast navigation. There are times when the informational needs of mobile users differ completely with the desktop, requiring a different mobile site than the responsive design. Whatever the approach you choose, you must provide device-specific content. Also, test your shopping cart and ensure the user experience is flawless.

Test your mobile friendliness

Google provides mobile-friendly guidelines and a tool to test how well your site scores. If your site conforms to these guidelines, Google labels it as a “Mobile-friendly” site in its search results.

Search engine optimization is a principal factor in the success of your website, and this translates to success in business and an increase in your income generation. Thus, you need to optimize your location with the above tips so that your business can feature in the local SEO rankings.