8 Ways to Boost Your Local Search Engine Ranking
It’s a small world
Yes, the Internet allows you to reach consumers halfway across the globe. Connecting people from far-flung regions to one another, and spreading information among them at unprecedented speeds, is the first thing most people think of when you ask them what the Internet is for. But, unless your organization is a massive global chain, it’s likely that you don’t actually want to get the word about your products or services to folks in Japan, Austrailia, or Greece—instead, your goal should be to reach the customers who can walk up to your location, not just appreciate how nice your website looks.
And, since 50% of customers who do a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18% of those searchers make a purchase within the same timeframe, you really want to show up on the first page of those search engine results. Don’t worry—we’ve got some tips to help you get there!
- Take a NAP
This one seems like a no-brainer, but make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone number including the area code) are set up as crawlable HTML text, most likely in a sidebar or the footer. Don’t incorporate your into an image, since search engines won’t crawl those as they will HTML! It’s no good having the information, if the search engine can’t see it.
- Create location pages
If you have more than one brick-and-mortar location, set up a unique location page for each store. Those pages should include, at minimum, your NAP, store hours, information about parking (and transit, if applicable), and individual promotions and testimonials. Don’t duplicate content across locations!
If you only have one location, no worries. Just create a locally descriptive “About Us” page, and put all your necessary information—and a taste of brand personality—in one place!
- Be a local authority
It’s a basic principle of inbound marketing that your company should provide consumers, not just with high-value goods and services, but useful and educational content to go with them. The same thing applies on a local level—if you’re catering to a particular geographic area, tailor your content to benefit the people who live and work there. Promote local industry gatherings, share regional news and employee spotlights, and plug your area’s arts festival and other community events.
- Keep tabs on inbound links and citations
Inbound links go from another domain to your site; citations are just mentions of your business name and address, without that link. Verify the consistency of your business address across as many sites as you can, especially at places like Express Update and My Business Listing Manager that help provide the data to construct Google Maps. Just like your NAP, information is useless if it’s in the wrong place (or downright wrong).
- Build goodwill
Plug other local businesses that might be able to return the favor—if your company sells tea, you’ve got a natural connection with another local company that makes teapots. This strategy can help you earn those local links, and build relationships that can benefit your organization down the line.
- Blog, blog, blog
Every new blog post means a new indexed page for your site, on which you can target a geographic search phrase. Which means a new opportunity to get found by search engines. Don’t get carried away, though, and overload on SEO keywords that can drown out your brand’s voice—instead of making a keyword salad, try using case studies and customer success stories for that local punch.
- Make it easy to leave reviews
If the process for leaving reviews isn’t smooth as extra-virgin olive oil for your customers, they won’t leave them at all. If your business has a Google+ page (which it should!), encourage customers to rate and review you there. Yelp won’t allow you to solicit reviews, but you can include their badge on your website, or tell customers that your business is listed there for potential review.
- Optimize for mobile
Again, this one is self-evident, but it bears repeating. Since mobile searches are what drive the majority of local-business site traffic—and, ultimately, local purchasing—it’s of paramount importance that navigating your website from a phone is painless. Don’t let those design constraints compromise your brand’s voice; the goal is to express the same essentials, in a smaller-screen package.
Want to climb those local search-engine rankings, but still having trouble getting started? Your virtual marketing department at SocialLink can help with that.