Local SEO is one of the most effective ways to reach nearby customers online and increase traffic to both your website and physical location. Local SEO solutions are important if Google Maps listings dominate the first page of results when you search for your keywords or phrases. This is especially crucial if your competitors appear at the top of Google listings.
When someone searches for a local business, Google shows a variety of nearby businesses that are selected based on local SEO. So, if you aren’t investing in local SEO, then it’s unlikely Google will show your business in results for local searches. You should also consider local SEO if you’re a business that strictly or primarily sells locally. Appearing in local searches isn’t always as easy as it appears.
There are several factors that contribute to how you rank in local searches. In this post, we’ll go over what the major influences of local SEO are, how to do on-page optimization, and why your business needs local SEO. If you’d like to speak with one of the 450+ experts on our team, you can contact us online.
What is local SEO?
Before you can learn how to do local SEO, you have to fully understand what it is.
Local SEO is the process of optimizing your website in order for it to appear in search results for location-based or “near me” searches. For example, if you’re an auto body shop located in Harrisburg, you’d want to show up in searches for phrases like “auto shop Harrisburg, PA.” Showing up in service or product-related searches is great, but local SEO allows you to take it a step further and reach customers searching for those same things in your particular city or region.
What influences local SEO?
When learning how to successfully do local SEO, you should be aware of the various factors that influence and contribute to how you rank. Although some factors carry a heavier weight than others, the combination of them all is what makes your business stand out and rank highly in local SEO results.
Google aims to be as user-friendly and helpful as possible. With that being said, Google shows the local SEO results it feels will best match what the person is searching for in order to provide the most value. When you provide complete and detailed business information Google is able to understand your listing and therefore rank you higher in local SEO results.
Not every user will indicate a location in their search, so Google will determine the distance based on what it knows about the user’s current location. A user might simply search “Italian restaurant” or “Italian restaurant near me.” In this case, Google will calculate the proximity-based on what’s known in terms of the searcher’s location.
Businesses that establish a well-known reputation online have a higher likelihood of Google showing them in local search results. The more familiar a company is to searchers, the more favorable Google determines the listing to be. Google also determines your business’s prominence based on other key factors as well.
How to do local SEO on-page optimization
Local SEO is a continuous process that requires you to constantly monitor and update your on-page optimization strategy. Below are a few factors to focus on for local SEO.
1. Optimize title tags and headers
One of the simplest ways to improve your ranking in local search results is to optimize your title tags. You can do so by including your location in the title tag. Instead of making your title tag “Smith’s Specialty Coffee,” consider adding in your location so that it’s “Smith’s Specialty Coffee | Harrisburg, PA.” Doing so will communicate to search engines that your coffee shop, in this instance, is directly related to Harrisburg.
As a result, your listing will be more likely to appear in searches for coffee shops in Harrisburg. You should also include similar keywords and phrases in the main headers of your page. Be careful not to repeat the same keywords over and over.
Using synonyms will still effectively communicate what your page is about. A helpful consideration with headings is that they are used to frame the content that follows, so variations of your target keywords may help you more effectively communicate the content of your page.
2. Formatting your NAP
NAP refers to your name, address, and phone number. Each of these should be displayed on your website and in your Google Business Profile listing. Having this information up-to-date is important for your Google Business Profile listing.
If you’re unsure of whether your business appears in local searches, you can go online and get your business online with Google. Be sure your NAP is consistent with your business listings and don’t forget to include your business hours.
3. Embed a map
Embedding a Google map on your site makes finding your location easier for users. Having a live map on your page is much more appealing to local users than a list of directions or none at all. When you include a Google map on your page, users can also get an idea of where your business is located in relation to them or get directions directly to your business.
4. Include straightforward calls to action
When a user visits your page, your ultimate goal is for them to convert. The best way to ensure a user knows what you want them to do is to include clear calls to action. Effective calls to action stand out, include a way to contact you, and tell the visitor exactly what you want them to do next.
Buttons on your page are a great way to ensure your calls to action stand out. To better perform in local search results when your business has multiple locations, customize your call to actions to be relevant to your locations. For example: “Find an open booking in Harrisburg.”
5. Publish reviews and testimonials
Online reviews are very important in regards to whether or not users choose your local business for their needs or a competing local business. Reviews are so important to users that 84% of people claimed to trust them as much as personal recommendations. Responding to online reviews in a timely and professional manner helps show the relevance of your reviews and sends trust signals to users.
What does this mean for your local business?
If you don’t have customer reviews or testimonials, you could be missing out on potential sales. Fortunately, this can be an easy fix. Encourage current customers to leave helpful reviews of your products, services, and location.
These can help you to rank higher in local SEO.
6. Make your website mobile responsive
The better user experience your site provides, the more favorable Google views your site. Imagine you do a quick search on your smartphone for a coffee shop nearby, and then you click on the first search result. But when you land on the page the images are distorted and the copy is too small to read.
What do you do? If you’re like most users, you’ll go back to the search results and choose the next option shown in the results. Make sure that your pages are optimized for tablets and smartphones, so you don’t lose possible sales.
If your site cuts off images or forces users to scroll horizontally across a page to read your content, you are sending potential customers into the arms of your competitors. Creating a mobile-friendly website doesn’t have to be hard, either. You can find web design agencies across the country, from Pittsburgh to Orlando, that can help your business launch a responsive website.
In some cases, they can even optimize your site for SEO, saving your team a significant amount of time.
WebFX knows how to do local SEO
Our company has been in the SEO business for almost two decades. We understand how Google works, the constantly changing algorithms, and various aspects of digital marketing. We begin by researching both your company and industry.
Likewise, we’ll learn all about your company and then find your competitors, evaluate your current strategy, and revise your local SEO strategy to meet your company’s goals. We’ll also audit your website to determine where our efforts are best invested. At WebFX, we break down our local SEO process into three parts:
- Execution: Implementing your local SEO strategy
- Reporting: Collecting data to learn what works and what doesn’t
- Improvement: Revising your strategy
When you work with one of the 450+ experts on our team to carry out these three steps, you can have an impressive local SEO strategy in no time!
WebFX is your local SEO partner
Ranking highly in local search results can be challenging, especially if you’re unsure of what you’re doing.
That’s why we’re here to help! We’ll help you rank higher and start achieving a higher ROI in no time! Work with one of our experts to create an optimal presence in local search results.