When it comes to ensuring that your business is found by local consumers, you need to make sure that you are well ranked on search engines. You may think that local consumers will come and visit you at your physical store regardless of what your search engine rankings are like, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Research indicates that around 80% of consumers will search for a local store or business, so if you want to make sure that you are found by local consumers, you need to be well ranked on search engines.
There is also evidence to suggest that local consumers are far more likely to buy from you after having carried out a search. This means if you are looking to convert, you want to make sure that you are well placed to meet the needs and demands of local consumers.
Ensuring that you are found by local consumers is a strategy in its own right, which means that you need to undertake a number of tactics and strategies that are not as important in standard SEO strategies. There will be areas of crossover between the two elements but if you are looking to be seen as the number one local choice, be prepared to do additional work over what you may have been undertaking in general SEO.
You will want to consider:
• Having consistent NAP (Name, Address and Phone number) across the internet
• Adding a touch of local flavour to your Meta Data
• Ensuring you have local reviews
• You need to consider citations and business pages
When it comes to being found by local searches, there is a lot to be said for ensuring that your site is listed on localised business pages. Examples you should consider include:
• Google My Business
• Bing Places For Business
• Yahoo Local
• Local business directories in your area, region or country
You need to manage the data held about your business on these pages, ensuring that there is consistency between the important information and that you provide users with as many opportunities to find you as possible. When it comes to quantity versus quality, spend your time focusing on the most highly regarded business pages and ensuring that all of your details are correct as opposed to taking a scatter-gun approach for wider coverage.
You should look to get reviews
One of the most important things for local search rankings comes with the quality of reviews you receive. Clearly this is dependent on the actual service you provide to customers but you should be looking to encourage users to review your products wherever they can. Reviews are a big feature in organic search results, including the Local 7 Pack and the carousel listings that come with Google SERPs.
You may look to achieve positive reviews by providing customers with incentives to leave reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google+ Local and other localised review sites. Having a range of positive reviews on these sites will see your business considered as an expert in the local area.
You will want to make sure that search engines and people comprehend the fact that you are a local site offering a local service. This means that you should include references to your location, city and state on various pages. You should also look to provide local data in elements such as:
• Page Title
• H1 Tags
• Title Tags
• Meta Descriptions
• Page URLS
All of these different elements provide Google with an indicator that you offer a local service, which will boost your rankings for local searches.
Be sure to use images
You need to have good quality images and you want to make sure that the images on your site have been optimised for local searches. This means that there should be local content or a description in the ALT tag descriptions and you should provide detailed descriptions to accompany your great pictures.
Other elements to consider
Keeping your website updated with fresh local content is important but you should also ensure that your social media content offers localised content as well. Having a more focused approach for localised content will make a massive difference in ensuring that your firm is recognised as being a local firm by the main search engines.
The Pigeon update has had a massive impact on localised searches
The key aim of the Google Pigeon algorithm update was to ensure that local search signals were integrated more closely with the key search signals that Google was utilising. Here are ten top local search signals that your business should be using to grab an edge when it comes to local search rankings.
Improve the quality of less formal citations
You know that you need to provide consistent and accurate descriptions of your business in directories and where people instinctively look for information about your business. However, you should look to include relevant and accurate business information in a wide range of places including blogs, articles and content across the web. Ensuring you have quality and quantity when it comes to business content will improve the chances of your business ranking highly for local searches.
Boost the number of reviews you have on Google Maps
It is important to have as many positive reviews of your business as you can but when it comes to where these reviews should be found, there is a lot to be said for having positive reviews on Google Maps. First of all, the fact that Google owns it means that being considered a positive firm on Google Maps will likely have a good effect on your search rankings. However, there is also the fact that many people will look at Google Maps to know exactly where you are and if they can see positive reviews here, they will be far more likely to take action by visiting you. Feel free to encourage and incentivise users to leave a positive review of your business.
Be consistent and accurate
You may feel that stretching the truth slightly with respect to your location and the areas you cover will put you in front of more people, but this isn’t a positive thing. When it comes to local searches, you want to be focused and this means that you want to be accurate about your address, including your city and region. Studies indicate that most people are willing to travel close to 20 minutes to reach a local business, so make sure that you provide people with as much information about where you are. If you try to cover too many areas, you will find that you are more likely to be penalised in search engines as opposed to supported.
Have your city and area in the title of the landing page
It makes sense to provide accurate and localised content for the more important SEO elements on your site. While you should look to provide localised content on a number of different platforms and sites, when it comes to your own site, you need to make sure that your city and area are listed in the title of the landing page, the H1 tag, the title tag, the Meta Description and in the landing page of the URL.
If you run a business that can be found in a number of different cities, you need to make sure that you have a specific landing page for every store. Don’t copy the content, create fresh content for every page and make sure that every landing page has a localised element about the area and store that is being represented.
This is an area that many businesses were affected with by Google Pigeon. If you have links to your landing page from PR n/a sites or sites that are ranked PR 0, you should try and have these links deleted. Google views these sites as purveyors of spam, and they actively warn users not to use them. This means that you may actually be harmed by having links from these sites, and you should look to disavow these links. Tools such as Rmoov or the Disavow Tool from Google will help you to achieve this with a minimum of fuss or effort, or you could contact the website of the linking site and request that the link is removed.
Make sure your category associations are correct
With Google My Pages, you have the chance to clearly list the business categories that you operate in, and this helps users to find you when they carry out a search. This means that you should pick categories based on the business you run, not based on the services and products that you provide. Google allows you to select five sub-categories, which will hopefully allow you to be as targeted as possible when it comes to ensuring your business can be found.
Make sure your NAP details are correct
There is a lot to be said for being cited from respectable sources and there is a lot to be said for the fact that citations from the most respected authority sites form the basis of localised SEO. This means that you should be looking to have links pointing to your site from these locations, but you also need to ensure that the information contained on these sites are correct.
Given the fact that people trust what they read on these sites, if you have incorrect information and data, you can expect people to believe this incorrect data, which will cause problems for your business, potentially harming your search engine rankings.
Improve the quality of inbound links that head to your domain
A previous tip highlighted the importance of ensuring your inbound links to your landing pages are correct and of good quality, but it is important to do so with respect to your entire site. With this style of linking, focus on creating good quality content and utilising localised anchor text to direct people towards your site.
Make sure your structured citations are consistent
Localised business directories should include your name, address, phone number, the category of your business, reviews of your business, images and descriptions of your business. It is vital that you ensure that these elements are correct and consistent. If you are concerned about the accuracy of these elements or you don’t have the time to ensure that they are correct in every listing, there are tools offered by Synup, which is free, or more heavy duty tools provided by Yext or Moz Local that will ensure your citations are consistent and correct.
Bear in mind that if you have stores in different locations that you need separate content and details for each unique store.
Consider the strength of your domain
If you are looking to stand out in a competitive market, you want to have a strong domain. The stronger the domain is, the more trust that a user and search engine will place in what the domain has to offer. Ways in which you can do this include developing a robust link profile with sites of a high authority linking to you with the relevant keyword terms and phrases. You should also look to make improvements offline and by developing your business brand, you will see your website being more highly regarded.