Local SEO in 2018: The Definitive Guide

Written by: Jason Bayless | April 07, 2018

Search engines fuel traffic to your website, and no form of advertising can quite match the power of having a website that ranks high, especially when it comes to local results. However, the art of local SEO has changed over the years. Here are some guidelines for ensuring you achieve your local SEO goals.

Focus on the Basics

SEO results, both local and otherwise, are dependent upon what the search engine can read from your website. A key element of successful SEO is presenting relevant information in text form. Too often, companies use an image to display their address, phone number and company name, but search engine crawlers can’t read this information. Make sure key information shows up in text form on your website.

Verify Accuracy

Although search engine crawlers have become adept at reading text information on websites, they’re still easy to confuse inadvertently. Furthermore, some map results may be based on old or inaccurate databases, leading to incorrect phone numbers, addresses or names. Google lets users claim a business and submit correct information, so make sure to take ownership of your company. Even if all information is correct, claiming ownership can help ensure malicious actors can’t sabotage your website.

The Right Search Terms

Before settling on search terms to target, take an assessment of what customers you’re trying to reach. While locals might know the specific neighborhood your business is located in, visitors from out of town might not, so targeting more broad keywords might be more effective. On the other hand, if your business is located slightly outside a popular neighborhood, it might be wise to use keywords pertaining to that neighborhood to attract more interest. You’ll want to expand the keywords you target over time, but make sure the first keywords you target are optimal.

Mobile Browsers

One of the distinctive features of local SEO is how it’s used. People often search for local businesses after they’ve arrived in town, so it’s far more common for them to use mobile devices. If your website doesn’t render well on mobile devices, search engines are likely to rank it below competitors. Although hosting a mobile-specific website in addition to your regular website can be a viable option, it’s also worth looking into responsive web design, which ensures your website will render properly on all screen sizes and at all resolutions.

Get Listed

Focusing on the primary search engines, and Google in particular, is key for succeeding in SEO. However, Yelp, Foursquare, Urbanspoon and other websites are also popular, and search engines sometimes use them when determining website rankings. Check out all of these popular sites to ensure your business shows up. In addition, it’s worth manually inserting information to present an inviting page. The primary goal of local SEO is directing traffic to your website, but focusing on your overall online presence in a holistic manner can help you improve your rankings and convert visitors into customers.

Search engine optimization is always evolving, but the fundamentals of it have remained largely unchanged over the years. Focus on your fundamental elements, and be vigilant in ensuring your company’s information listed online is correct. Keep abreast of SEO changes, but always make sure to focus on the user experience of your website.