How Do I Optimize My Website for Local Search?

by | SEO

How Do I Optimize My Website for Local Search?

You’re meeting friends for dinner. You want something new. A local search on Google brings up a Thai restaurant that looks promising. What do you do next?

If you’re like most people, you tap your phone for information. Seventy-seven percent of consumers state they use at least two review platforms when searching for local businesses.

Why is that? Because we trust Google, with 98 percent of consumers admitting they use the internet to find information on local businesses. Why drive around when your handheld device holds a wealth of information? You can tap, look, and evaluate before heading out the door.
That’s a time-saver, money-saver, and energy-saver. Win-win.

If this sounds like you and you run a business too, hopefully you realize just how essential local search is. You’re missing out if your business isn’t ranked well within local search. Your competition knows this; do you?

How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search

Local search is also known as local SEO. It’s the process of improving your search engine visibility within your local region. It’s primarily for brick-and-mortar businesses looking to attract nearby customers. Whether you’re a small coffee shop or an established service organization, optimization for you means you’ll be visible online and prominently ranked for local customers turning to search to find help.

Understanding the core elements of local search ensures you’re implementing each tool effectively. It’s one of those strategies that needs to be worked over time. If you aren’t, your competition is. Here’s where to start.

Optimize Your Google Business Profile

One of your first steps is to establish an online presence with Google Business Profile, a free tool that allows businesses to manage an online profile with all of their pertinent information. You can list your address, hours of operation, contact information, and link to Google Maps. This isn’t surface-level information; spend time optimizing it.

  • Complete your profile: Add all relevant details.
  • Select the proper category: Select the category that closely describes what you do.
  • Use keywords: Add relevant local keywords to your description to help attract customer search.
  • Add quality graphics: Skip low-res imagery and invest in high-quality images of your business, products, or services to create a visually appealing site.
  • Encourage reviews: Satisfied customer reviews help you rank higher.
  • Stay active: Your business changes throughout the year, so share these details online with your customers and engage with them when they have questions.

This is an ongoing process. It’s vital for small businesses looking to stand out with local customers. You may have a website, but it’s your local Google profile that might be a first impression with a prospect. Make sure both are branded well for your business.

Dig Deeper
What Google’s Page Experience Update Means For Your Site
On-Page SEO Factors Your Site Should Have

Create Local Content

Google gets smarter all the time. Which means marketers are always working toward building up their profiles to appeal to what search engines want. Content tops the list; always has and always will. As a local business, it’s your goal to give people what they want … with a local flare.

Become the authority within your industry and within your local demographics. Create content that resonates most with your local audience—blog content, social media content, video—it’s all up to you. Promote local industry gatherings, local news, and educational content. Are you part of local community groups? You can use that to promote your cause. If it matters to your community, chances are it will attract customers too.

Perform Local SEO Audits From Time to Time

A website that sits dormant for months or years may not speak highly of your business. It may lack the very things that normally attract potential customers. The fundamentals are there, but it won’t keep attracting business without upkeep.

SEO is an ongoing, intuitive process. It’s more than putting things in place and expecting them to work. Instead, it’s about seeing where your web presence currently stands and how it’s impacting your overall goals. Local search audits can include a variety of things, including:

  • Website audit: How well is your website performing?
  • Competition analysis: How well is your web presence performing compared to your competition?
  • On-page SEO: Does your site have the appropriate on-page elements to help it rank well?
  • Citation audit: Are all of your citations in business directories correct?
  • Google search: Is your site crawlable? Does it have index errors?

Pages can become irrelevant as the internet changes. Do your links still connect? Is the content still functional? Local SEO audits keep it all under control.

Localize for Mobile

People use mobile for everything; that shouldn’t come as a surprise. These days, 63 percent of Google searches occur on mobile in the US; 46 percent of Google searches have local intent.

When people are out and about, trying to find what they need, they’ll only stick to your website if it’s easily accessible and navigable on mobile devices. What does that look like?

  • Responsive design: Design should adjust to different screen sizes, maintaining a seamless user experience across devices.
  • Image optimization: Compress images to reduce load times.
  • Simple navigation: Make it straightforward and clear, with easily clickable links and an easy-to-find menu structure.

You can’t get there if you aren’t testing regularly. Test the user experience to ensure it appears and functions as intended. Utilize Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to ensure it meets Google’s optimization standards.

Improve Your Visibility With Local Search

Do you have a local search strategy? Is it a part of your digital marketing goals? Local SEO is an integral part of any marketing plan.
Local businesses have special needs and desires. You’re trying to reach local customers and don’t want to spread your advertising dollars to people outside your community.

If you haven’t understood how to set this up in the past, it’s time to dive deep and create a plan that allows you to target the right customers, ones who will truly do business with you.

Your customers are out there and waiting. How will they connect with you?

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