Your business needs to be optimized for local searches. Think about it: when you search for a service or product, and you want to find something close by, you narrow your search by adding ‘near me’ or the name of your location. However, your business will not magically appear at the top of the search engine results page – even if your business is local to the person’s search. With the Holiday Season here, and for record breaking numbers of online purchases and sales, you want to make sure that your website is getting all of the attention that it can receive.
Nearly half of all google searches are for local information. If your business is not optimized for local searches, then the odds of your business being found online are slim. Thankfully, there are resources available to help you optimize your local SEO. I will provide you with some tips to get started and Ella Interactive, an all in one digital marketing tool, will be able to handle the rest.
What is Local SEO?
For brick and mortar businesses, building local SEO is essential. The search engine results page, on an engine like google, is based off of an algorithm that selects for particular criteria – such as keywords and phrases that are relevant to a search, for example. In order to improve SEO, one needs to know how the algorithm works and how to use it to a business’s advantage. The same rules of SEO apply to local SEO.
Search engines will rely on local social media pages, links, and other types of local content to provide the most relevant and local results to a user. By understanding how google will rank websites, a business can position themselves to receive much more organic traffic to their website, which can generate leads and clients.
Optimize for Google My Business
Google My Business is something that every business should be on. With Google My Business, or GMB, businesses can post listings for their business. Once registered with GMB, a person can search up your business and find all of your relevant contact information on google – like where you are located, your business hours, phone number, and a link to your website. In order to get the most out of what Google can offer you, you will want to
- First, create your Google My Business account
- Take advantage of Google posts and use them within your account
- Ask and encourage customers to share reviews of your business online
- When a customer reviews a product or service of yours, be sure to respond back and to mention the specific product or service that they used, the location of the product or service, and that you are thankful for their review and business.
Though the quality of your online presence can be rewarded with receiving a spot on the side-bar of Google, which is great for exposure and organic traffic, optimizing for Google My Business is not just good for local SEO; it is best practice for giving potential customers a good impression of the organization of your business. With online shopping becoming even more popular, you want to make sure that your business has an effective digital presence.
Ensure that Your Online Info is Consistent
Especially in this holiday season, with record breaking amounts of online sales and purchases, you want to make sure that your business is easy to find on Google. You do not want to have the wrong hours of business uploaded, an outdated phone number, or a broken link to your website.
In order to make sure that your business is easy to find, then you need to set up a NAP. A NAP is a name, address, and phone number, which should be included as crawlable text on your HTML. The best location for a NAP is at the header or footer of your website.
Link All of Your Locations on Google
If your business has more than one location, then you should make sure that all of your locations have proper links and location pages. If you have business locations in New York and Connecticut, then those respective locations should have their own location pages, replete with information that is relevant to that specific location.
Ensure that Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
I am sure many of us have had the experience of looking at an online link on a mobile device – perhaps a menu for a restaurant – and have had a difficult time navigating through the website. Google will reward businesses that provide users with an easy experience of navigating their website; you will end up ranking higher for ‘near me’ searches.
- Keep the button sizes large enough so customers can have an easy time clicking through links on your website
- Use browser caching to enhance your website loading time
- Limit the number of redirects
- Make sure that your website will deliver the same content, no matter what device the customer is accessing your website on
Audit Your Local SEO
So you have taken all the steps to improve your Local SEO – and now you think your work is done. SEO is always changing, so you need to stay on top of those changes. By performing regular Local SEO audits, you can track those changes and make sure that you do not lose any of the progress that you have worked so hard to attain. To audit your website, you might ask yourself the following questions:
- How does your Google My Business appear in the search engine results pages? Is all of the information listed consistent and accurate?
- Is your website taking advantage of all the different ways in which SEO can be leveraged in your favor?
- What does the competition look like? Are other businesses doing things to rank higher on the search engine results page that you are not?
- Lastly, you should consider how your website is performing. When is traffic at its highest? Are there any marketing strategies that are influencing the traffic to your site?