Not enough businesses are taking local search seriously. The rise of mobile search as made this concept even more important. In a recent study by Google, 88 per cent of “near me” searches were conducted on mobile. It is important to remember that ranking high on local search is no overnight job. In fact, local SEO is quite competitive. You should keep in mind that, like any SEO strategy, it is constantly changing.
How to Build a Great Local Search Strategy
There are many factors that should be considered when you want to make a name for yourself in local search markets. This week, we have a few fundamentals to help get you started.
Prioritise titles and meta description tags
Titles and meta description tags are customisable elements that tell users what your website or web pages are about. Remember that most users scan the results of online search quickly, so these descriptions should be kept concise and easy to absorb.
When looking at title tags:
- The typical title length is between 50 and 60 characters
- Meta descriptions are between 160 and 200 characters
- Each word must be used strategically to give the user exactly what they want to know.
If you are using WordPress, you can easily preview and analyse the descriptions of your web pages using the Yoast SEO Plugin. To attract local searches, be sure to include the name of the city or the targeted geographic area. It is important for you to try and position the keyword as close to the beginning as you can.
Online Directories and Citations
Many businesses can now access a wide range of high-traffic online directories. It would be wise for you to make the most of these by getting your business listed. It will certainly help to boost your local ranking.
Remember to keep this updated on a regular basis across all directories that your company is listed on. Any information that comes with errors can have negative effects. The same goes with any differentiating information between one directory and another.
Google My Business: Claim and Optimise
Other than the main directories, one of the most important things a local business can do is claim a space on Google My Business. If you optimise it correctly, you will be presented with the opportunity to gain exposure on Google 3-pack.
It’s a simple process of verification. Google will send you a PIN, which you must enter when you log into Google My Business. This PIN will prove to Google that your business is legitimate. Once you are verified by Google, you can optimise the description. You can do the same with any necessary information as well. This will help the customers to learn more about your business.
Actively Pursue Online Reviews
Everyone knows that reviews are important for customers when they want to make a purchase decision. Studies have found that 84 per cent of consumers have just as much trust reviews as they do with personal recommendations. Google also recognises the importance of online reviews and factors them into how you will rank. Therefore, it is of high importance that you always pursue positive reviews. Remember, you may need to ask a customer to complete their review if they haven’t done so. You can even use the software, such as TrustPilot, to help receive and manage your online reviews.
You can also turn to social media and Google, as those are two more platforms where people turn to for reviews. Your business’s Facebook page and Google My Business are two areas to focus your efforts. This is because reviews here are extremely influential for boosting online visibility. When they’re from people in the area, this can give your local search ranking a big boost!
Produce Content that is Local
For local rankings, it is important to produce content that is high in quality and suitable for the local area. This can be done through blog posts, Q&A’s, or anything else that is specific to the area. When discussing written content, there are many factors to consider:
- Understand your ideal customer
- Know when and where they consume content
- Align with the buyer’s journey
- Keep your messaging consistent
- Publish at a steady pace
- Promote across your channels.
If your business has multiple locations, it would be wise to set up a separate landing page for each. Creating and sharing branded content is one key method for standing out in the market. Whatever you come up with, keep your message relevant, informative and actionable.
Local Structured Data Markup
Also known as a ‘schema markup’, this is a code that you add to your website. The purpose is to give search engine robots necessary information about your business. This could be related to your products, services, or simply explain what your content is about.
But here’s the kicker: less than a third of businesses actually do this! If you want your business to stand out in local search, why aren’t you doing this? Google even has a user-friendly testing tool. This is designed so that you can check your markup and ensure it has been implemented correctly.
Social media is dominating the business world, for both the business and consumers. Nearly one-third of the world population is active on at least one of the top platforms. Due to this, businesses must stay socially active, especially in the local market. Here are some things you can do:
- Post about local topics
- Consistently publish engaging content
- Share your content
- Get your content shared by others
- Interact with locals
- Keep followers in the loop
Search engines will notice when you take the time to engage with the world around you on social media. Do it right and they will make your business more visible to local users. If you don’t take advantage of this, be aware that your competitors will be.
Talk to Search and More
There are many things you must do if you want your business to be found online. Sometimes, you would much rather have someone else take care of the intricate details of SEO. This is where Search and More can help. Let us take care of your website and local search rankings. This will give yourself more time to focus on what’s important: your business. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.