Whether you are a small store or a large business, having your online presence optimized to drive local sales can help take you to the next level. This guide will help you on your way to optimize your local business for search. With Google giving preference to businesses in the areas they operate in, it is important to take the time to optimize your business for local search, making it easy to find for your customers.
At the time of writing this, I’m actually planning my own strategy for going more local. I found that focusing on a worldwide market isn’t my cup of tea, both for budgeting reasons and my passion for working together with my clients to help them reach their goals online. With my own strategy for going local on the drawing board, I figure it’s a good idea to lay out my plans over the coming weeks so that they may even help you to optimize your local business for search.
Here are five steps to help you optimize your local business for search
#1 Make a locally verified Google+ Page
Many businesses are already on Google+ because it can add social media traffic to their website. What most business owners don’t know is that they can leverage their Google+ page to get better local search results for their business. Getting locally verified is simple enough, and can be done through webmaster tools if it has been set up, or even over the phone. It allows a business to add themselves to a user’s Google Maps and tie their branded Google+ page to their listing.
Doing this will help you be more visible in local search results. As a bonus, if your branded page has images and other information about your business, it will be added to Google’s search results for your brand.
This is a step I have already started working on. Check out my Google+ Page and you will see the small badge confirming Vato Design as a verified local business next to the logo. If you want to optimize your local business for search this is a great first step.
#2 Get on local listing sites
While you should not submit your business to a slew of local directories, as this can be dangerous in terms of search engine optimization best practices, using well-respected business directories like Yelp and Glassdoor will help drive local traffic to your website. These directories are well optimized for your business, and having a listing will help your business look more legitimate when people search for it. They even include ratings of your business in the search results, together with location information for your listing.
#3 Include your location information on your website
This won’t necessarily play a large role in terms of optimizing your local business for search compared to the other recommendations on this list, but it’s definitely a great way to let your users know where your business is. And it goes without saying that customers in your local area will feel more comfortable dealing with a local business. Showing that you are local will help your clients feel more confident when dealing with your business online, or taking the time to visit your office or location to purchase, if applicable.
#4 Include location in title tags and meta descriptions
It will be beneficial to include local keywords and your business location in the titles and descriptions of your website. This will help Google to understand where your business can be found, and help your visibility in local searches. Having your homepage targeting location will do this, but using another page to target local traffic can be similarly as effective when you want to optimize your local business for search.
#5 Use Schema.org Markup
Using Schema mark-up on your website can help to improve search results, while simultaneously giving your customers better results when they search for your business. Schema mark-up helps Google to show rich snippets in the search results, giving customers more details about your business like reviews, photos and descriptions of your business. This might help you edge out competitors who are missing it from their websites.
The first step in getting a business optimized for local search is a good website. Don’t be afraid of getting in touch with me if you need help to optimize your local business for search and get a responsive and professional website at the same time.
I feel this is an exciting time for me as I venture into the local market for web design. Up until now I have neglected the local market by not optimizing for it. We all learn from our mistakes, right? I hope this list will serve as both a reminder to myself not to overlook the importance of the local market, and as a guide you can use to drive more local traffic to your own business.
Knowing that a business is located locally can play a large part in a purchasing decision, so it’s really no different than knowing a product was made domestically versus being imported. There is a level of trust in buying from someone who is near you.
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