As a business owner, you have probably at one time searched your company name online to see how it appears in the local search results. Interestingly, many other people and potential clients do the same both on mobile and desktop in a local search for reviews and directions.
SEO practices change all the time and therefore, you have to find new ways to always dominate, especially in local search results. Below is a compilation of ways you can use to optimize your on and off-site strategies, so you appeal to clients who may be searching for your business locally.
NAP (Name Address & Phone), A Must For Local Search
So how do search engines find your business? They look for your business name, business address, and business phone number. There is an ecosystem of local directories, and “aggregators” that search for and find this NAP information.
This ecosystem is vast and can be very beneficial to local businesses if the NAP information for your business is consistent.
Not only do your business name, address, and phone number need to appear consistently on your site, but they need to be submitted consistently on all the local directories in the local seo ecosystem.
There are many tools that can assist in this effort but it is critical that the search engines have the right information about your business so it can be found and listed properly in the search results.
Google My Business
Google My Business users can now have more control over how they appear on mobile and desktop thanks to a Google feature called Google Posts. As a business, it is important that you claim your Google My Business page.
Listing your business information in Google will index your information for local search results so you appear in direct searches for your business, but also general searches for your local area.
With Google Posts, you will be able to publish your products, events, and news to Google maps and Google search. When a potential client starts a Google search on your company, the results will appear in a detailed manner. Google Posts also contributes to your local SEO.
Write a post on Google Posts by logging into your Google My Business Account and choosing from the options. You can upload an image once you have logged in or highlight an event in the 300-word space given. This will last seven days, so remember to make fresh posts every week. You can write about your sales and promotions, job vacancies, update your location, post reviews, and even news.
Titles and Meta Description Tags
The content of a webpage is most usually a description of title and meta description tags. Title tags are ideally 50 to 60 characters in length while description tags can have between 160 and 200 characters.
To reach out to a large audience, you should take advantage of the space given and describe your business wisely. Tools such as Yoast’s SEO plugin for WordPress can go a long way in helping you see how your title will look and how you can customize your words around the number of characters.
Ensure your text in the title and meta description is descriptive and compelling so that you get higher click-through rates. Keep to the character count as one extra character could result in ellipses which makes the whole description look unprofessional.
Where relevant be sure to include the name of your city so that you can reach local customers who are doing a local search. You can also use one keyword and ensure it is close to the tag’s beginning.
Online Reviews Affect Local Search
Did you know that up to 84% of customers trust online reviews? Did you also know that out of ten customers, seven are likely to leave a review for a business if asked? These statistics show just how critical online reviews can be for the success of your business.
You can keep track of how your business is doing online using reputation marketing tools and software. These tools help you as you try to get and manage your company reviews. They include tools like Vendasta and Reputation Loop. Social media platforms like Tiny Torch are efficient as they will alert you whenever your brand is mentioned.
Ensure that you respond to all reviews, be they negative or positive. This makes the audience see the thoughtfulness of your company. Positive reviews, however, make more business sense as they improve the visibility of the business.
Facebook and Google My Business should, however, be your primary areas of focus because it is natural for people to see what their friends and family like on social media platforms. With good reviews, there is a high probability that you will draw in more customers.
Online Directories and Citations
Many businesses mess up their chances at being visible online by not putting up even a single local business listing. Google estimates that four out of five consumers conduct local searches using search engines. Get your business listed on top online business directories such as Yelp and Citysearch. Ensure that you do the same with respectable local business directories.
Your chamber of commerce and local newspaper website will be of help if you are seeking local business directories for listing your business. As mentioned before, ensure that the name, address and phone number (NAP) of your business are listed correctly and are consistent on these directories and search engines.
Lack of suite numbers, misspellings, abbreviations and wrong phone numbers can cause great losses in business, especially if Google is not able to determine which information is correct. Google may fail to show your business in the search results if there is an inconsistency or incorrect information.
Local Search Structured Data Markup
Schema markup/structured data markup is a way through which you can provide more information about your business to Google. Through structured data markup, you can add information about the products you sell, services offered and reviews to Google.
31% of websites use local structured data markup…
Approximately 31% of websites use local structured data markup. By using the schema markup, you are placing your business on a pedestal as it will stand out in your locality and possibly rank higher.
Google encourages the use of structured data markup as this helps it determine who you are and what your business does. Coding may not come easy to most people, but that is not the end of the road as far as local structured data markup goes. You can simply make use of Google’s data highlighter when marking up content.
Improving your local search results does not have to be rocket science anymore. With the tips provided, you clearly have a head start on your competitors who may not know much about Google search and its impact on business.
By utilizing the search tactics mentioned above, you are sure to stay ahead of the game especially if you rely on local customers for the success of your business. Reinforce information about your service areas, locations and products using the tips above and it will only get better.