Some small business owners may have never heard the term “Local SEO” and funny enough, this is exactly what they need to succeed online. For this reason, I decided to throw together a simple local SEO checklist that will help anyone optimize their website for local search.
Before we dive into the checklist let’s start from the beginning.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO consists of several processes to optimize your website and certain social media profiles with the intent of increasing your visibility on Google for organic searches that are specific to your city/area.
When searchers type in a location with their search query, Google fully understands that the searcher is searching for something specific near them. Google does its best to provide search results that consist of the businesses within that location.
So how can Google determine who to show? This checklist will answer that for you.
So Who Needs Local SEO?
Any business that has a physical address and operates in a specific location (or a number of locations) needs local SEO. Are you the owner of a barbershop, or a restaurant? Or maybe you’re a Doctor, Dentist, or Lawyer. You must have a website that is fully optimized for SEO.
Here’s some proof: “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on computer/tablet did the same.” This basically means that ranking well in local search results can have a direct impact on ‘in-store traffic’.
Still not convinced?
97% of consumers use the internet when researching local products/services. And if you think that this is just a younger crowd that I am referencing, 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books.
As you can see, local SEO can bring your local business huge returns if leveraged correctly.
What Are The Main Benefits Of Local SEO?
Increase in Brand Visibility and Awareness: More and more people are searching for local solutions for their pain points, if they are within your area they will know about your existence. This concept will make your brand more recognizable.
Finally, Some More Conversions: Local searchers have a high amount of intent behind the queries that they are typing into Google. This means that when they land on your site they are highly targeting and are looking to take action quickly.
Increased Visibility in the SERPS: If you optimize your website you will appear on the first page of Google, and the businesses that are chosen to appear on that page are more likely to gain more visits to their site. The logic is simple to follow, but tough to accomplish at times.
Finally, the moment you have all been waiting for…
Local SEO Checklist
By now you are probably asking yourself, “So what do I have to do to optimize my site for local SEO?” The checklist below contains all the information that you will need to be successful in the local results pages.
- Work On Your Logo: A lot of businesses seem to bypass this major element of your brand, Your logo is essentially the first impression of your business. So make it as attractive and as relevant to what you do as possible.
- Optimize Your Titles and Descriptions: The title tag of each page should help both the users and the search bots understand what you do and how you do it. You only have 50-60 characters to work with here so use your words wisely. And make sure that you include your brand name in there. The meta description of each page should also help users and search bots understand more about your pages. Here is an example of what these look like out in the wild:
- Contact Us Page: This page has a huge amount of impact when it comes to local SEO. It’s no longer just a filler page on your site that gets ignored. You must feature your name, address, and phone number of each staffed location that is a part of your business.
- Phone Number: You need to make sure that your phone number is highly visible on every single page of your site. Also make sure that it is clickable since mobile search only continues to increase. People hate hiving to type numbers in, so make it easy for them.
- Location Pages: You should work on creating a page for each location that you exist in and service. These can be fairly simple pages that answer a few questions that are relevant to that specific location. Also make sure that your name, address, and phone number are clearly visible on each location page.
- Interlinking: Ensure that your location pages are linked to from high-level navigation pages. This will guarantee that traffic will flow to those pages.
- Data Highlighter: If you have Google Search Console set up with your site you need to begin leveraging the data highlighter tool. This is the perfect substitute for Schema Markup. In my opinion it’s even more effective than the traditional coding methods because it removes any room for error.
- Testimonials/Reviews: Take full advantage of testimonials and reviews from your customers. This will help to make your location pages unique and will attract more business. 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business.
- Clean URLs: The days of having your URLs look like this http://www.example.com/awefawqinfwinfuhgpiurngpuh are over. You need to use clean, SEO friendly URLs. Include a keyword in the URL.
- Blog: Writing may not be your forte, but that doesn’t excuse you from blogging on a consistent basis. Place your blog onsite, subdomain blogs have no SEO benefit to your site. Blogs offer an avenue of fresh content to your site. Engaging blogs that target specific pain points attract business as well.
- Citations: Build relevant citations for every location your business owns. You must make every citation that you build consistent. Also, do your best to build your citations on directories that will send you qualified traffic.
- Review Platforms: Ensure that your business is listed on the main review platforms like Google+, Yelp, and Facebook.
- Google Reviews: Google reviews are still considered to be some of the most powerful ranking factors for local SEO. Gain as many of these as you can.
- Social Media Profiles: Make sure that you have profiles set up on all of the major sites. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Also locate social media sites that may be more relevant to your industry/niche.
- Google My Business: If you are a local entity then you need to create a Google My Business profile today! Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.
- Mobile Responsive Site: Most of local searches are conducted on mobile phones or tablets. So make sure that your site is mobile optimized so people stay on your site and interact with your brand.
- Calls to Action: Place calls to actions wherever you can. Make sure that they are really easy to see and understand, and make the call to action clear. Use buttons as much as possible.
- Google+: Create a Google+ page and add as much relevant information as you can. This will help you with both offline and online presence. This could appear in the SERP for your business thanks to Google+:
- Google Map Pack: If you properly optimize your entire local SEO campaign you will begin to show up in the Google Map Pack. This can give you even more real estate on the SERPS, and attract more traffic to your site and eventually through your front door. Here is what that looks like:
- YouTube: As society becomes more and more receptive to visual content, your business should begin taking advantage of video and YouTube today. Videos have the highest click thru rate from the SERPS out of any organic result. That should tell you something.
- Facebook Business Pages: Facebook is becoming one of the biggest factors in the local results world. Facebook has even launched their on local search engine within their platform. Build a page for your business today to attract more traffic to your site and to your storefront.
Now It’s Up To You
Any business that has a physical address should have a local SEO strategy in place. This is one of the most effective ways to attract more customers to your business through the internet.
Local SEO isn’t too far off from traditional SEO, so make sure that you are working on both areas as much as possible. The ‘set it and forget it’ days are long gone, local SEO requires constant monitoring and tweaking to achieve long term results.
In summary, the most important aspects are:
- Display your full name, address, and phone number on every single page of your site
- Keep your citations consistent
- Register your business on Google+, Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business
Always keep in touch with your users and customers to prove that your brand is engaging and relevant.
If you ever need any professional help with local SEO please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Foxtail Marketing. We can help out any business!