It is believed that almost 50% of search queries are looking for local information. Today, all the people around the globe are dependent on search engines to discover the local business. With the availability of high-speed internet on mobile phones at least 85% of people rely on mobile search. These searches usually revolve around information like visiting hours and contact information of business in the nearby locality. Hence, local SEO is extremely crucial and important.
Due to such advancements, it becomes necessary to ensure that your business stands out of the hundreds of search results. Therefore, it becomes inevitable for you to optimize website for local SEO. To ensure that you can beat out the competition around you, we have come up with this read. We will cover everything related to the same so that you can establish things best for you.
Understanding Local SEO
Local SEO helps you out in local searches. It ensures that your business is promoted in such queries and hence differs from the traditional concept of SEO. It ensures that the audience can find all the information about your business so that they can visit you at the appropriate timings.
There are geo qualifiers like state, city, zip code, or terms like ‘near me’ and ‘nearby’ which are often used. They help in recognizing the exact information and provide results from a particular area. Some of the most compelling reasons to optimize website for local SEO are as follows.
• Higher Rankings – They help you achieve better rankings in the search results. Thus, brand recognition and business visibility are improved resulting in more revenue generation.
• Make a lasting impression – People find you first in the digital space today and then visit you. Hence, it will help you in setting the tone with the right information for your potential audience. This will help you in remaining a step ahead of your competitors and make a terrific first impression.
• Free Advertising – They are one of the indirect and free forms of advertising. You can release information on the internet with the help of keywords, reviews, ratings, etc. These details help thousands of people in decision making and get attracted to you.
• Improved Sales – When people lookout for information using location filters at least 80% of them end up using the information. If you can design and execute a proper strategy you will end up making more money.
Actionable methods to optimize website for Local SEO
1. Legitimate Reviews from Customers
At least 80% of the users around the globe rely on online users as much as from family and friends. Therefore, it becomes necessary that across multiple channels your business has reviews. They help people in deciding whether to choose your business or not. And on top of that, it also contributes to ranking it to the right audience.
One of the most convenient ways to request for a review is through automated email campaigns. This applies to all the customers who have purchased from you online or offline. For initiatives and programs hosted by your brand for eg. rewards program, a review can be requested along with the purchase.
When customers know that they will get monetary benefits on providing a review they will definitely provide it. You can think of a point-based discount system for the same.
Providing a review directly on the search results for effective engines like Google, Bing, etc. is also an effective method. The most interesting part here is that review here will appear on the top. Hence, it will help in attaining better engagement.
2. Publish Local Content
It is necessary to include local information if you intend to secure sales across online and offline platforms.
Accurate and apt information about you and the products should be placed where people can easily find it. For example, include things like who you are, your location, and things that you offer on the homepage itself. This helps search engines to crawl and extract necessary information easily.
3. Include known and frequently used terms on the website
The header tags, title tags, and meta descriptions play an important role to optimize website for local SEO. Hence, they should be updated as these elements help search engines in understanding the website’s content. The more local terms and keywords you use the more chances of better rankings in that region.
Using plugins is one of the preferred ways to optimize this information. They help you in providing fields for adding slugs, keywords, SEO titles, and meta descriptions.
4. Claim your Business on Google
Google is one of the widely used, popular, and dynamic search engines. If you have a business listed there then it is important to claim it as it helps in boosting SERPs. Also, it helps you appear in the coveted Google 3-pack.
Google 3-pack includes short snippets of the top three spots in the search results. It includes information about the business and helps customers to their front doors. There are also some key practices to follow in the process of claiming the business, which is as follows.
• For businesses operated in multiple locations ensure that you claim it separately. In the end, operate and manage it with a single login.
• For availing maximum chances of getting placed in 3-pack use primary and LSI keywords
• Even if you can find an exact match wisely choose the category that matches your profession
• If there is any change in the business then update it regularly. It helps in guiding potential clients with the right information.
• To add visual appeal include images
• There is a specific segment of Google review. Encourage customers to drop one.
Claiming your business on Google is one of the easiest methods to optimize website for local SEO efforts.
5. Use plugins to your advantage
Optimize website for local SEO with the help of plugins. They carry out complicated tasks in just a few minutes.
Add a Google Map on your website so that the search engines can crawl through it. This is another impactful method to boost local SEO and get noticed in search results. This also helps customers a convenient method to find your physical location. It helps in enhancing conversions and improving customer experience.
Use plugins that can help you in implementing structured data and schema on the website. This is a difficult task even for experts, but with the right plugin, you can easily do it. eg. Yoast SEO. They help you in adding schema for reviews, services, etc. A search result with schema markup helps in displaying images, specific time of operation, reviews, etc. This helps you in standing out of the crowd and competitors who do not use schema markup.
Depending upon your requirements you can shortlist other plugins and use it to your advantage.
6. Content Optimization
It is difficult to turn up in local search results for businesses having multiple locations with the same reference webpage. This will confuse the search engines to place your business in a particular location.
The simple fix to this issue is to create a separate Webpage for the entire content of the website. Once done, optimize it with particular keywords and locations. This will take considerable time and effort from your end, but in the end, it is worth it. When you implement it you will definitely see a sharp rise in the business of each of your store’s locations.
Creating an XML sitemap for your entire website content is one of the other recommended methods for proper indexing. It is an effective method and can be done easily with the help of plugins. They help you in creating an impactful XML sitemap that helps in analyzing site data and improves ranking.
7. Compatibility for Mobile Phones
It has become crucial than ever to optimize your website for use and access on mobile phones. Search engines are resorting to mobile-first indexing and hence your ranking is dependent on it. Therefore, you must optimize website for local SEO in a manner that offers compatibility for mobile phones. If your website does not work well for the users accessing it from the phones then your SERPs will suffer. Also, it is essential to know the following when it comes to local SEO.
• At least 66% of the mobile users are likely to make a purchase from the site customized to their location.
• Mobile devices influence an estimated sale of at least 1 trillion dollars in local sales
• Over the past years the use of terms ‘near me’, ‘nearby’, and ‘close by’ has drastically increased.
The primary focus for you should be to make it easy for your audience to view and access your site from their devices. In WordPress, you can use the response previews from the live customers for making it more effective. It will help in knowing exactly what the audience will see. To preview your site navigate to the Customize option from the Appearance menu. Here, use the table, desktop, and phone icons at the bottom and you can easily preview the site.
It helps you in analyzing how your website looks on multiple device.
8. Website Speed and Performance
Website speed optimization is most important in SEO. This segment is common and applies for both traditional SEO and to optimize website for local SEO. This is about improvising, enhancing, and maintaining website speed and performance. You will never be able to make it to the local searches even if you follow all the above tips but have a poor loading speed. This makes it essential to ensure that the website is optimized to load quickly.
In this era of growing competition users know the average loading time of a website. More than fifty percent of the visitors will abandon the site if it takes too long to load. The average loading time is three seconds and it is not a lot to convince users to stick around. There is a tough competition and your competitors will take advantage of it.
Search engines prefer websites that load fast and offer world-class users experience. You can use free tools on the internet to find the benchmark speed of your site. It is free, effective, and important.
To measure the overall speed and performance there are various segments to choose from. You will receive the following details after your site is analyzed.
• Page Size
• Number of requests
• Load Time
• Overall Performance Grade
It will help in opening new doors for you to improve your performance and speed. Some of the useful suggestions for the same include compressing images, caching plugin, avoiding URL redirects, reducing HTTP requests, and decreasing DNS lookups.
The key is to test, analyze, change, and retest. This process should be repeated until you cannot improvise further on your site. This will assure you about the rankings in the local search because you have made efforts to optimize website for local SEO. This happens because you cater to the local audience, the site loads quickly, and it has implemented focused strategies for improvement.
The intensity of competition is more severe in local businesses compared to global ones in this digital era. Irrespective of how small your industry is or the kind of product that you are making, it is essential to be on the net. Just being there does not attract clients, but following the above methods and tips will attract them.