Does your business rely on local search traffic, but you have no idea how to increase your share? Local search can be fiercely competitive depending on your industry. For example, if you are a Chinese restaurant with 5 others within a 15 minute walk, then you need a solid strategy to dominate.
Some businesses might not be taking advantage of local search at all. In such scenarios doing even the minimal amount of work allows you to get to the top of the rankings. In this article you’ll learn the strategies that have proven to work for countless other businesses.
One page per location
Businesses that have locations across a country should have page per location. That’s because it’s not websites that are ranking, but pages. Therefore, to increase your chances of ranking for local search terms you need to use relevant keywords.
Let’s say that you have a real estate company in the United States and operate in 50 cities. You could create identical pages, but just change the location names on each page. It seems like a lot of redundancy, but it’s not a problem if your website is designed to only show the relevant page to your client. That can be achieved through geotargeting.
To increase the relevancy of the page you should change the content and images of each location page. For instance, a page describing the real estate market in New York should read differently compared to one in Miami.
Choose the right keywords
Execute keyword research for each location separately. Focus on location based keywords as opposed to generic ones. These will be ones that include the names of your city and neighborhood names. It would be a mistake to carry out research for one location and assume the same keywords are used for every other location. Each location has different needs and the demographic might vary. Therefore, the keywords used will differ across the country.
The ideal keywords should have decent search volume without tough competition. However, to dominate the local search landscape you need to go after the most popular keywords that your customers are searching for.
Include business information
The header should be used to include your most important business information on every webpage of your website. The main details to include are your physical address, phone number, email and opening hours.
Even if you don’t have a physical address it’s a good idea to include one. That’s because it helps with geotargeting searches. Google might send you extra visitors in your city – even if you don’t have a physical store where clients come in the traditional sense.
Google My Business Listing
You need to visit the Google My Business Listing webpage to officially share your business with Google. Here are noteworthy things to consider:
- Complete listing: make sure to fill out the Google My Business Listing to 100% completion. Missing information may confuse customers and not go down well with Google. Make sure that you enter the same details as you have on your website.
- Choose the right category: when creating a listing there are a lot of categories to make a selection from. Browse through the list carefully and choose the one that best describes your business. Choosing the wrong category will confuse your customers. Is there no category for your business type? Then consider choosing a broader category related to your industry.
- Learn the rules: your listing can get suspended if you don’t play by the rules. Therefore, your hard work can be undone if you make a choice that Google doesn’t like. Not knowing the rules will not do you any good either. Creating multiple listings should be avoided, don’t stuff keywords, URL redirects are prohibited and a mailbox/virtual address cannot be used as the business address. Avoid breaking these rules and your listing should not be touched by Google.
- Quality images: Customers love high quality images when looking at business listings. For example, a barber or restaurant may get a large portion of their business from excellent interior décor. You need to highlight your establishment via professionally taken photos.
The advice given above might not lead to direct SEO influence, but some of these factors do determine the response rate. Therefore, when your listing receives a higher rate of interactions it’s likely to rise in the rankings for specific search terms.
Citation pages are places around the internet where you can fill out a business profile. Filling these out allows you to increase the number of ways that people can find you. Also, most listings provide a link to your website, which means your SEO is improved.
The fields offered by various citation pages will differ, but you should fill them all out to deliver the complete information. Also, the info must be consistent with your website, other citation pages and the Google My Business Listing. Inconsistencies might lead to multiple entries automatically generated by Google, which means you’ll be competing against yourself.
Don’t forget to add images to these citation pages to give viewers a good idea of what to expect. Images might be the key selling point of your listing if you have a beautiful physical location that clients will love to visit. Consider adding the same images to all citation pages for consistency. Otherwise, visitors might conclude that some entries are from different businesses.
The stakes are high for dominating local search if you need local footfall to survive as a business. It’s not difficult to get meaningful traffic, but you must put in the work. Following the advice above is a good starting point that will get you results no matter what industry you operate in.
Don’t stop looking for ways of improving your local search rankings since there are a lot more tricks out there for you to explore. When executed correctly local search has the potential to explode the number of people coming in through your business door.