Local Search Optimization: Understanding the Basics

Get Found

Taking a moment to improve your business’s online presence increases the chances of you getting found by local search engine users, which in turn brings you new business.

87% of people who own smartphones use a search engine to find information on goods and services each day. 50% of people who find a local business related to their needs will then visit a store in their community within the next 24 hours. As you can see, getting found in local search matters a lot!

But how can you be sure that you appear on the first page of Google when people type keywords related to your business into their search? Using local search engine optimization (Local SEO) practices improves your ability to appear on the local Google map results and the standard search results.

Ready to get started today? Locally based businesses can use the following quick yet effective SEO strategies to improve their rankings, get found by more people and get more business coming through their doors.

Infographic on Local Search basics

Create a Positive User Experience on Your Website

You should always put effort and care into the design of your business website. For instance, ensure that all the needed links are easy to find and that people can get critical information as quickly as possible. /

Ideally, you will also have several pages of information worth digging into that can encourage people to stay on your site and learn a little bit more about your business.

What does a great user experience have to do with search engine ranking? Simple. Google tracks how people act on a website after they click on a search engine listing. Factors that can influence your ranking include:

  • Bounce rate — How many people click the “back” button after looking at just one page
  • Time on site — How long people spend on your site overall
  • Page views — How many pages someone looks at after clicking through search engine results

The key to ensuring you have a good site experience that encourages people to spend more time is to test and get feedback. Ask others for their opinion, or offers customers a coupon if they fill out a survey. Then, build out your content so that people have more to enjoy with each online visit.

Use Responsive Design and a Fast Web Host

People’s experience on your site also has to do with the way it looks and functions. You will need to use responsive design, for example, so that people with different sized screens can all enjoy a similar, high-quality browsing experience. A large portion of your traffic is likely to come from mobile devices, after all, so you want them to be able to see everything without too much pinching and pulling.

Another factor that affects site experience is how long it takes for your pages to load. There are many things that can slow down your page load speed, including having too large of image file sizes or having your site connect through a redirect.

You can get your site tested both for its responsive design and its page load speed to get tailored suggestions on how to improve.

Use the Right Keywords On Your Site Pages

Your business likely has a few keyword phrases it wants to appear in search engine results next to. For instance, a local hardware store would want to rank when someone searches for “hardware store in Duluth, GA.”

Search engines actually have pretty sophisticated ways to connect these phrases to semantically similar information on your site, like the phrase “hardware in the Duluth area.”

That said, it never hurts to have a few exact matches for priority keywords on your pages. Having descriptive page titles or headers using keyword variations is incredibly important.

You will also need to use meta descriptions that encourage people to click on your search engine listing while using keyword signals for the search engine itself.

Create Great Content

Every page you write for your website should be engaging and informative. Let the personality and motivating values for your brand shine through in the words you write.

After improving your main site pages, you should regularly add updated content on your site’s blog section. Updating your site with new content gives Google an excuse to review it and potentially shift its ranking potential.

Using keyword phrases in your content also helps flesh out your connection with certain search queries. For instance, a hardware store writing a blog about “The Best Paint Colors for Your Guest Bathroom” could use keyword phrases like “buy interior paint in Duluth” to help their ranking.

Claim Your Google My Business Page

Your Google My Business listing is used to display business information in relevant search results on both Google Search and Google Maps. It uses information you complete along with information found on your website to tell search users about your business.

For instance, if you use the right Schema markup for NAP (name, address and phone number) and business hours, the information will display right in search results, encouraging people to call you or decide when to visit.

Claiming your page makes the information more accurate and complete, increasing your odds of obtaining a higher ranking.

Google Map 3-pack

Find Local Link Citations

Every link pointing back to your website helps boost your search engine ranking factors a little bit more. You can start claiming easy links on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and your local Better Business Bureau to get started. Then, you can reach out to local blogs, news sites and other publishers to get guest post credits that include links to your site. Don’t forget local business directories and industry specific websites.

Building out a steady collection of citation links is one of the most effective strategy for boosting your search engine ranking.

Post on Social Media

Experts have mixed opinions on whether social media directly influences search engine rankings. However, social media pages can drive traffic, help you build citations and serve as an extra page for search engines to find when relevant keywords are used.

Simply put: having an active, engaged audience on social media can help benefit your other digital marketing goals in synergistic ways.

Get Online Reviews

Reviews linked to your Google My Business page can help boost your ranking.

When someone searches for a popular business category, like “Mexican restaurants in Memphis,” Google will typically favor those with active positive reviews over those without.

Encourage customers to write reviews with every purchase. If you can identify your top 20 favorite customers you know by name, for instance, reach out to them directly for a review. Give people a direct link on your site to your preferred review source so that they have just a few steps to take.

Keep in mind that most people would love to voice their opinion, but the more work they feel they have to do, the less inclined they are to do it! Make the process easy, remind them often and connect review requests with a positive experience to build up both your review rating and your local search ranking.

Improve Your Local Search Engine Ranking With Optimized Scribes

Optimized Scribes has experience helping businesses of all sizes get found more easily in local search, including small businesses like yours!

Become the star of your local community and increase your visibility exponentially when you take a look at our local search optimization packages today.


Categories: Local Search Optimization, SEO
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