07 Aug Local Search Optimization
Local Search Optimization
7 Ways to Score with Local Search Optimization
- Identify Local Search Terms
If you’re going to optimize your site, you must know what people are looking for. To find this out:
- Use the Google AdWords keyword tool or something like find local keywords in your niche that are attracting search traffic.
- Check out your web analytics to see what local terms visitors have used to find your site.
Local search terms are usually a combination of the town or city where your business is located and the type of service you offer. Finally, think about what services you offer locally that you want people to find on your site — is it optimized so that can happen? If not, the next step will address that.
- Optimize Existing Pages
If you have a business website, you already have pages that describe the services you offer, so your first step is to make it clear that you target a local market. You can do this by:
- Including your town or city in page titles and descriptions, along with the name of the service you offer. Remember to keep page titles to 70 characters or less and descriptions to 156 characters or less.
- Adding local contact details (business name, address and phone number) on appropriate pages.
- Add a map to your site (don’t forget to write out location details in text too, so search engines can index the information).
You can also optimize page and post content by including local terms (without keyword stuffing, of course).
- Localize Your Content
If your business has multiple locations, then there are other options.
- Creating landing pages for each location (a combo of Unbounce for landing pages and Crazy Egg for analytics is one way to do this well). Use these pages to group your local service offerings but be careful to avoid duplicate content.
- Using a software solution to localize your content, like the Yoast Local SEO search plugin, Rio SEO or similar products.
These solutions will help improve your website’s local search engine ranking.
- List It So They’ll Love It
After optimizing and localizing your content, the next step is to get listed in local directories. In addition to the obvious information (business name, address, phone number and other contact details), make sure you write a great description that includes your key local search term. Depending on the directory, you may also be able to add photos and tags. Aim for consistency, so wherever people find you, they see the same information. It’s a good idea to use Google Webmaster Tools to ensure that your site is shown to target your chosen geographical area. In addition, tuts+ recommends the use of structured data as another way to share local information.
- Remember Mobile Users
Mobile users are increasingly using their devices and apps to search for relevant information, as this eMarketer data shows. In the 8 months prior to December 2012, there was a 21% increase in the number of mobile searches and a 25% increase in the number of mobile users searching for local information. A 2012 study by Localeze supports this finding. Recent developments such as the launch of Google Now show that businesses must also be ready for mobile local search.
- Get Social
Speaking of mobile, listing your business in Foursquare and letting users check-in is a good way to leverage the power of local search and build interaction via special incentives and discounts. Optimizing your Facebook business page to take advantage of Graph Search is also useful, as is Google+ Local.
- Ask Your Customers
The last piece of the local search ranking puzzle is recommendations, reviews and general feedback from your customers. It doesn’t much matter if there are a few negative or neutral reviews — if customers are talking about you, you’ll be considered more relevant in local search. If you do get great reviews, use them on local search pages on your site to make both search engines and users even happier.