5 steps to Local Search Optimization

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Local search optimization (SEO) is an integral part of your online marketing strategy. It can help your business become more visible in local search results, especially for small businesses.

Luckily, you can take a few steps to increase your chances of success. These are some basic SEO principles that you can apply to all kinds of local businesses that have an online presence.

This blog post will discuss five ways to optimize your website—allowing you to rank higher in local searches and attract more customers!

Quick Video Guide for local SEO

Step One: Dedicated Contact Pages

Dedicated contact pages are one of the best ways to ensure that your company appears in local searches. So it is essential to make sure you include all the vital information on them.

A good contact page includes:

  • Your phone number
  • Address details
  • Operational hours
  • Links to your social media

These details make it relatively easy for people to know how to contact you. A good contact page should always have a link to Google Maps. This will ensure that people can find directions to your business when they search for it.

Contact pages on MRK WP website
Great contact pages are essential for Local SEO

What if you have more than one location?

If you have many locations, you should create a dedicated page for each one. Each page should include the address, phone number and operational hours for each location. If you have 2 or 3 locations, you can group them in a state or region with specific addresses.

But, it is always good to have landing pages. These allow Google to know where to lead people to search for your business in a particular area.

Step Two: Have Valid Structured Data

The next step is to have valid structured data. Wondering what structured data is! It is a markup used in SEO that instructs search engines to interpret and present content. This is usually in the header of your web page.

It informs Google about the essential information on your contact page. This way, you allow Google to know what your business specializes in. This data will appear on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

A view of structured data for Local SEO
Having valid and tested structured data helps Google understand where your business is located and is key to Local SEO.

If you have one contact detail on your page, enlist the help of free plugins like Yoast or Rankmath on WordPress. Go through the settings, fill in the type of business you are and your name, and you’re good to go. This will aid in the display of your data card in Google search as well as Bing search.

For more than one location, get a plugin in WordPress. Ensure each area has the required structured data, like operational hours and when the office will be staffed. This will help Google and Bing crawlers to determine what your business offers and how it is different from other similar businesses.

Step Three: Do A Citation Audit

Citations are entries for your business around the internet. They are any mention of your business name across the web. Even if those mentions are not linked to your website.

These citations can include local listings, review sites, and your listing on Google. All these directories need your correct business address information in them.

Semrush tool for citation audits
SEMRush has great listing management tools for Local SEO

Many local SEO citations are free, but you need to make sure you do a citation order. Some great tools can get this done for you. At MRK WP, we use Semrush, an excellent citation management tool. It has a location auditing tool that ensures local citations have the correct details like operating hours and address.

Other citation tools you can also use include Whitespark, Yext, ReviewTrackers, MozLocal and more.

A citation audit is required to ensure that your locations have consistent information. After you’ve created a unique page, as in step one, be sure the link for each place leads to its specific contact page on your website. This allows crawlers to discover your company online and figure out where exactly it is located.

Step Four: Claim Your Google Business Listing

Claiming your Google Business listing with Google My Business is another local SEO tip to increase visibility on Google. This tool allows you to edit and manage your company profile online.

To claim a listing, you must guarantee that your office is open, has a post box to receive mail, and is in service during regular business hours. In addition, claiming a listing confirms that you are the company owner with access to manage its online presence.

Business Profile on Google My Business
For best Local SEO results, claim your Google Business Listing.

Claiming a listing also allows you to attach photos of your business or places where it operates. In addition, you can add more information to this page which might be helpful for users who are looking for that particular location on a map.

Make sure you claim your listing under an email address. Then, as you claim all those details, add another user to the account. This could come in handy in the future because if you lose your access, getting it back takes ages. And Google has no support around the management of a map listing.

You should also make sure you maintain your listing pages. You can do this by making sure that you regularly edit and update your information. This will help Google display accurate contact details for users looking for a specific location on their maps feature.

It is always wise to enlist the help of professionals for this task as it can be pretty complicated.

Step Five: Connect your site to Google and Bing search Consoles.

Having your site connected goes a long way in ensuring your site is crawled and others can access the information. In addition, this will help the search engine bots know where your site is and what it should return when looking for businesses in a particular area.

Google Search Console
Search console gives you insight into how Bing or Google crawl your website.

You can use Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools to connect your website with the respective search console. These portals show helpful information and ensure a crawler can read your website.

This information includes how search engines crawl business websites, what is being indexed and which keywords are used to find you. Therefore, you can use this data to make changes and updates to your website. These changes will help you rank higher in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

When can I expect LOCAL SEO results?

In addition to these steps, you should also build local links. These links do not have to come from authoritative domains necessarily. Instead, they must come from those that influence your specific local market.

Create blog posts about your business too. Make sure it is well optimized for your target audience with keywords in meta descriptions and title tags.

After following these simple steps, you can ensure that your business is well optimized for local search. Hence, you can now focus on other areas of marketing and leave the task of getting found by potential customers to Google and Bing. Get access to the slide presentation on the five steps to improve your local search optimization here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is local search engine optimization?

Local SEO explained is a form of search engine optimization (SEO) that aims to increase awareness about your physical business by increasing traffic from local searches. Put another way; it allows potential customers to locate information about your brick and mortar store in search results so they can come to visit in person.

What is the difference between local SEO and regular SEO?

Search Engine Optimization, in general, is the process of getting your website to rank highly on Google for relevant search phrases. You might be wondering how regular SEO differs from local SEO? Regular SEO focuses on ranking for keywords in Google posts with a global appeal. Local SEO aims at creating more visibility for your website by focusing on local search results in search engines. To get the most out of local SEO, you need to optimize your website and do an SEO audit as well.

Why local SEO is important

Are you wondering if it’s worth your time and money to invest in local SEO? The benefits of local SEO are quite a number. These include getting more customers through your doors, increased brand awareness, and higher conversion rates. Local SEO also tends to have low marketing costs compared to other forms. If you choose PPC, you need to keep spending money to stay on the front page. With good local SEO, you can get more leads for less money. Additionally, studies have shown that businesses with a local SEO strategy increase website visits.

How do I compete in towns and cities out of my location?

If you want to compete in towns and cities out of your location, you need extra work. One way to start is by claiming your Google My Business listing, which allows your business to show up on Google Maps for searches in your area. You can also create localized content. For example, include videos and images that reflect your business in each location. Another way to compete in towns out of your location is through claiming business directory listings. Remember to include important contact information like operating hours and your address on each of your websites, linked to each local directory listing.

Which kind of businesses need local SEO?

All businesses can benefit from local SEO, but some companies may need it more than others. Service-based businesses like lawyers, plumbers, electricians, and those in the medical field typically do better with local SEO. This is because companies like those in the medical field are more likely to share highly informative content to boost their rankings. Retail businesses such as bars and restaurants can also benefit from local SEO.

Is local SEO better than paid search?

The answer here is no. While local SEO and paid search benefit your business in different ways, they both need to be part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy. For example, paid search can help you reach more people quickly, while local SEO takes a little longer to take effect but has longer-term benefits. Therefore, it’s essential to use both strategies together to get the most out of your marketing budget.

How do you know if you need local SEO?

If you’re not sure whether or not your business needs local SEO, take a look at your website analytics. For example, are most of your website visitors coming from your city or state? If yes, you may want to consider investing in local SEO. According to SEMRush, you can also perform keyword research for words/phrases you think your customers are searching for to find your products and services. Local SEO is required when you do search queries and observe that the results are usually more specific depending on where you’re looking from.

Do you need help with local SEO?

If you have any questions about local SEO, please engage us at MRK WP or get a local SEO agency to help you. Allow us to take care of all aspects of your Search Engine Optimization needs, so you have one less thing on your plate. Which step listed above did you find most helpful? What other tips do you think could offer great benefits for companies looking for better Local SEO results?

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