How to Optimise Your Site for Local Search in 2015
Prospective customers in your area are searching for businesses like yours online. Make sure that they find your business, by appearing in the local search.
What are local search results?
Local search results provide users with information about local businesses or places in response to their search engine queries.
For example if I type in “steak restaurant” into Google, I’m provided with information about reastaurants near my current geographic location, along with their address and contact information. I’m also provided with a map that shows the locations of the restaurants in my area.
By optimising your website for local searches, you can pick up a lot additional traffic from web users searching for or in the general location of your business.
So, how do you go about optimising for local search?
Set up a Google My Business account
Google My Business has replaced Google+ Local. Setting up an account involves signing up with your business email address and providing information about your business through the online My Business dashboard. You will be sent a post card with a unique code in the post which you will need to enter online to verify your address.
Make sure to complete your profile, with the following information:
- Address & map location (there is a feature to drag the map marker to your correct location)
- Phone number
- Opening times
- Payment options
- The category of your business
Once your My Business account is complete and your address is fully verified, web users will be able to find your business online through the local search results.
If your business has multiple locations and addresses, then you will need to also use Google My Business Locations. If you have 10 or more locations, then you may benefit from uploading your locations in a spread sheet.
Set up your Google+ Page
Having a completed and well written Google+ page has many advantages for a local business:
- A link to your Google+ page may appear in local listings, and organic results
- Customers may leave you reviews, and a link to these reviews may also appear in the local listing, organic, and paid results
- Posts from your Google+ page may appear on your Google My Business page
- You share posts and other media like videos, with your followers and in your circle; helping you to promote your business
When setting up your Google+ page, make sure to link your Google+ to your website. If you also link your Google+ page with your Adwords account.
Do On-Site SEO
- Make sure that your businesses contact details are easily available on your website
- Use keyword/s within your page title (h1 and h2 tags) – try to have both the service and the location in the title.
- Use keyword within your Meta Title tag (for example: Steak House London)
- Mention the locality of your business in the page content.
- Have your business name, address and contact information on the page. You can use a local business schema mark-up tag for this.
- Having the location and service name in the website URL can also help.
- Have a fast loading, responsive, and easy to navigate website
- Having testimonials on the page may also help
Use Local Citations
Place your business information on third-party websites. Make sure the information is accurate, and exactly matches the information on your website. For example, if the address on your website is listed as 145 St. John’s Street, and the address on one of your citations is listed as 145 St. John’s St., then Google may not see these as being the same address.
Get Positive Reviews
Google takes into account the number, and quality of reviews of businesses when formulating the ranking of websites in the local search listings. For this reason it is important to give customers the opportunity to and encourage them to leave reviews on websites.
Which websites are best for your website will depend on the review sites which Google is pulling information from in your sector. The best way to do this is to do a search for your target keyword in Google and see which review sites are most prominent. You can also have reviews directly from your Google+ profile, and on your own website.