For your small business to be successful, it’s crucial to optimize your website for local search. Local Search Engine Optimization—SEO—shows search results based on the user’s location. Optimizing your website for local searches is one of the best ways you can out-rank larger competitors. If you implement your strategy correctly, your business will show up when someone is looking for the services you provide in the community.
Local searches are ones that include the phrase “near me” or mention a specific city. So, someone looking for a dentist may do a voice search and ask Google: “Hey Google, where is the best dentist near me?” Or, a couple planning a trip to San Francisco may look for “the best things to do in San Francisco.” So, Google will show the best results based on the user’s location and location of the business.
So, for your business to be successful, it is essential to make sure you are top of the local search rankings.
In this article, you will learn how to optimize your website for Google’s local search results. You will also find out what other factors can contribute to Local SEO.
Why Local SEO Is Crucial to Your Business Success
There are three factors why optimizing your website for local searches has never been more critical.
1. Searches on mobile devices
First, more and more consumers are using mobile devices to search for the best products and services. They want answers, and they want them fast.
2. Changes in behavior
Changes in the way consumers search for products and services affect local search results. For example, “near me” searches are now one of the most common types of searches.
The importance of ranking for local searches became even more crucial during the coronavirus outbreak in 2020. People were no longer willing to travel miles to a large store. They started searching for local businesses that were near them.
3. Google prioritizes local searches
Plenty of evidence suggests that “local intent” signals play a crucial role in search engine results. According to some Google statements, local intent searches can affect between 30 and 50 percent of mobile search results.
One survey found that over half of searches on a mobile device were for the following:
- Price comparisons
- Store hours
- Store location
- Product research
- Price comparisons
The same survey also found that over 90 percent of consumers were most likely to tap on one of the first few results.
How to Optimize Your Website to Rank Well for Local Searches
Local search results have leveled the playing field. So, if you have a “bricks and mortar” business, you have the chance to compete against large corporations. And, the good news is that it doesn’t cost anything to optimize your website for local search.
Let’s look in more detail at steps to take if you want to dominate local search results for your industry.
1. Optimize Google My Business
Although not part of your website, you must make sure that your Google My Business profile is accurate. Optimizing your business profile on Google gives you the best chance of making the top three results on local searches.
You should include your NAP information—Name, Address, and Phone number. Also, you have to ensure that it’s written identically everywhere. For example, Google will view the terms “suite” and “unit” differently. So, wherever your NAP appears, make sure every entry is identical.
2. Update Your Website’s Metadata
To help your business stand out on local search results, you must include locations in page title tags and meta descriptions. This information is a clear signal for the search engines and your potential customers where you operate.
3. Add location pages and service pages to your website
A vital factor in helping to rank for local SEO is to have individual pages for each location. Also, create separate pages for each service that you offer. The problem with bundling this information on one page is that you are never going to rank in local searches.
For example, say you have premises in three or four different cities. Create an individual page on your company’s website for each location. Include the NAP information as well as store opening hours, and a location on Google Maps.
The same is valid for individual services. If, for example, you have a beauty salon that does hairdressing, manicures, pedicures, and facial procedures—create a separate page for each of those services. That way, you increase your chances of the search engines finding those pages and ranking for local searches.
Related reading: How to optimize content for voice search to boost local SEO.
4. Create local content
In addition to organizing your website correctly, you should regularly post content that is relevant to your area. Depending on the type of local business you run, you could feature city guides, area descriptions, blog about local events, or post relevant news items. The more you post information about your city, the more Google will view your business as applicable to your area.
5. Optimize your website for mobile
It goes without saying that your website should look great on any mobile device—tablets and various sizes of smartphones.
According to statistics released in 2019, 82 percent of people in the U.S. used a smartphone to conduct “near me” searches. Also, over half of all internet searches now take place on a mobile device.
It is also important to remember that Google penalizes websites that are out of date and are not mobile responsive. So, even if you don’t want to rank for local SEO, your website should be responsive and mobile-friendly.
6. Get more reviews
Getting reviews has become an integral part of any local business. Think of reviews as word-of-mouth advertising and personal recommendations. Getting plenty of reviews on your website, on Google, and Facebook is going to boost your success in your local community.
Some interesting stats show the importance of getting more reviews. Here are a few sobering facts about why you need reviews:
- Ninety-one percent of consumers aged between 18 and 34 trust online reviews.
- Consumers will only believe the average star rating if there are at least 40 online reviews.
- Most people now trust reviews rather than advertising or self-promotion.
- Reviews can boost the conversion rate of higher-priced products by 380%
- Seventy-eight percent of people surveyed only pay attention to recent reviews—ideally, ones posted in the previous three months.
So, there are plenty of incentives to include getting reviews as part of your digital marketing strategy.
What is the best way to boost the number of reviews you receive? At Starloop, we have found that inviting customers to leave feedback is the best way. Our review and reputation management solution ensures that every one of your customers receives an invite.
Does our review software work? You just have to check out what our members say about Starloop has helped boost their rankings for local search results. A steady stream of reviews helps increase overall star ratings, brings in new customers, and increases revenue. And, in uncertain times, what local business doesn’t want that?
Optimizing Your Website for Local Search: In Conclusion
Ranking for local search results is not as difficult as it seems. Optimizing your GMB profile, including local content on your website, and getting more Google reviews are a few easy ways to increase your online visibility.
To find out what Starloop can do for your local business, please fill out this easy form to contact a member of our team today.