Local search engine optimization is ever-evolving as new algorithms are released, your software updates, and best practices change. Local business owners have to stay vigilant to compete for the top spots in search engine local results on both mobile devices and desktops.
What You Can Do to Improve Local SEO
Local SEO can get complicated, but there are some simple things that you can do, with minimal tech skills that will have a HUGE impact on how high your business website ranks in local search engine results.
Claim and Optimize Google My Business Listing
Google likes to keep things in-house as much as possible, so it favors its own accurate and current business listings when giving local search results to its users. Additionally, if you want any chance of showing up in the revenue-increasing Local 3-Pack, which prominently displays the top three most relevant results for local search, you have to verify and optimize your Google My Business listing (preferably with dozens of five-star reviews).
Have a Customer Review System that Generates and Posts Positive Reviews
Customer reviews are a powerful tool in optimizing your website for local search. On-page, they give you fresh, local, user-generated content for your web pages. Off-page customer review sites like Yelp often rank in the first or second spot for local search results showing the star ratings of top businesses.
Google has put a much larger emphasis on the ranking power on customer reviews, putting them front and center in the three-pack and showing snippets of reviews on search engine results pages. Getting those golden stars to show up in search engine results with schema reviews markups helps your business stand out and increases your click-through rates.
Knowing how to get more and better customer reviews on the right sites means you have an advantage over your competitors. You can’t write your customers’ reviews, but you should be putting real effort into doing what you can to influence how often you get reviewed and how highly you are rated.
Create and Monitor Accurate Business Listings and NAP Citations
Your business listings make your business visible online, and the more listings you create, the better chance you have of customers finding you. That’s because your business listings and local citations are important to search engines like Google.
Listings and citations are factors in the ranking algorithms used to create search engine results, and a business with more citations will (if all other factors are equal) rank higher than a business with less.
Accuracy and consistency are of the utmost importance! And if you were going to outsource one activity on this list, business listing and citation management is the one you can have managed for you with minimal cost.
Have a Dedicated Page on Your Website for Each Location
For businesses with more than one location, it is hard to “local optimize” your website. Instead of stuffing your pages with half a dozen city/area keywords and tags, give each location its own hyper-local page.
Each location page should be linked to from a high-level navigation menu on your home page. And make phone numbers highly visible and clickable on mobile devices.
Also, when you have specialized services that people search for like sedation for pet grooming or local delivery for things that aren’t usually delivered, create pages specific to those services as well with internal links to your location pages.
Hyper-Localize Title Tags, Videos, and Images
Title tags are the actual words of the anchor text in search results that links to your website. Metadata is the actual words that show up below your title tag in search results. And image tags are the words that show up when you hover over them online and let search engines know what a picture is about.
Be sure the tags that make sense to both search engines and local customers. Use your keywords and location in a logical way that matches how customers would pick your business as relevant from a list of results:
GOOD TAG: “South Philadelphia Dog Grooming Training Boarding”
BAD TAG: “dog grooming PA”
Don’t Let Competitors Top You in Search
Now is a good time to optimize your website for future local customers using their mobile devices and computers to find the best and closest places to spend their money. Use local SEO to make sure future customers are finding your business at the top of search results.