Businesses need local search. In fact, 88% of local searches lead to a visit or phone call in 24 hours. 92% of people who use local search will choose a result from page one. If you’ve got a brick and mortar location, and want to remain relevant, you need to rank for local search keywords.
When it comes to earning the rankings you need, nothing is more important than the information you put out there. Content, in all of its forms, has an undeniable impact on rankings. Here are eight local search optimization tips you can use.
Localize Your Target Keywords
This is a simple, yet very important step for boosting your local search rankings. Most local search can be condensed to a formula. It’s simply a keyword phrase + a geographic qualifier. If you want to improve your local search rankings, you have to optimize for local keywords. If ‘donuts and pastries’ is one of your choices, then you will want to work on ranking for ‘donuts and pastries in Cleveland’ or ‘donuts and pastries near Cleveland’.
Once you’ve created your localized keyword sets, you can get to work using them. Include these in your website content to improve your chances of ranking for local search.
Keep Your Business Information Complete and up to Date
Neightan White is a copywriter for who says, “When it comes to ranking in Google for local search, it’s all about Google my Business. Make sure your business profile is completely filled out there, and that you update it if anything changes.”
If your business information is in Google my Business and it’s up to date, you are much more likely to rank on page one. Better yet, you could make Google’s local 3 pack.
Google is a great place to start, but don’t forget about social media. Use local keywords when you create your social media profiles, and fill out any location-based information on those sites as well.
Optimize Your Website and Content for All Devices
Not all local search is done on mobile devices, but a significant amount is. If you aren’t optimized for mobile already, you absolutely must be to succeed in local search. Your website, blog, and other content must be clear and easy to read on any device. That means designing your website to prioritize mobile users, but also formatting content so that it’s easy to read on smaller screens.
Finally, remember to include your contact and location information on your website, and make it easy for mobile users to find quickly.
Write Content That is Locally Focused
To improve search results for local keywords, create content that is relevant to local customers. Choose topics that local customers care about when blogging. Write about local events. Include visuals in your content that are locally relevant, and geotag them. Use local keywords in your content, especially in your headings and titles. Add local references to your tags and descriptions as well.
For help with this, find resources that can help you create locally focused content, and that can help you earn and measure your local SEO rankings.
Participate in Local Social Media
Reputation and reach are important factors when it comes to local search ranking. You can improve both by participating in local, social media groups. Search your chosen social media platforms for local groups and discussions, then join in and take part. Focus on contributing content that is helpful and relevant, not on promotion.
However, if you publish content that’s relevant to local audiences, you should absolutely promote it across your social media channels. Not only will this increase your social media engagement, but you’ll also boost your audience, and your chances of getting shares and backlinks.
Fill Out Your Profile on Local Directories
Don’t forget to complete your profile information on local listings as well. Not only will this improve your local search rankings, but it also gives potential customers an additional place to find your location and contact information. Some examples of these are:
- Yellow Pages
- Super Pages
- Merchant Circle
- Angie’s List
There may even be some directories that are specific to your area. Do a bit of research to see where your competitors are listed.
Encourage Satisfied Customers to Review Your Business
While registering with directories like Yelp can help your local search engine rankings, earning positive user reviews on those sites can help even more. Hit it out of the park when it comes to customer service, then encourage your customers to share their positive experiences by leaving reviews. Not only are positive reviews an excellent form of word of mouth advertising, but they can also boost your search rankings.
Work with Local Media And Influencers
Getting the attention of media and influencers has always been an integral part of good SEO. The same is true of local SEO. You just have to modify your outreach efforts a bit to focus on building relationships with influencers and media types who have access to local audiences.
If you have something newsworthy to say, reach out to local media with your press releases. Search social media for the #Haro tag (Haro stands for Help A Reporter Out) using local keywords as well. Identify the people in your niche who have influence over the local audience, and work to establish relationships with them. Offer to guest blog for them. Engage with them on social media. Share their content. Before long, they’ll reciprocate, giving you access to a new audience, and helping your content go viral.
All of the content that is related to your business can play a role in your ability to rank in local search results. This includes social media content, website content, blog posts, directory information, and user-generated content such as reviews. By using the tips above, you can better optimize your content, in all of its forms for better local search rankings.