Consumers are looking for what you have to offer, but can they find you on the web? They can if your website is optimized for local search.
You probably don’t mean to play hide and seek with potential customers. But it’s simply not enough to just have a web presence—or create a website. When it comes to local search, optimization has become most critical. Our digitized culture demands it, and businesses that learn how to use local search to their advantage will lead the way.
Leave the past in the past
Long gone are the days of a strategically placed yellow pages ad or billboard resulting in increased traffic and revenue. Today, you have to know how components like mobile and social media affect local search.
Here’s a look at why local search is so important:
- 56 percent of mobile device users are looking for local information.
- 86 million people are searching the internet for information about local businesses.
- 35 percent of mobile device users turn to Google Maps to find local businesses.
- 92 percent of internet searches include social media platforms like Facebook to provide consumers with local business information.
- 3 billion monthly searches include localized terms.
- 70 percent of all searches performed online are ultimately looking for a local, offline business.
Meet your new guide
Here’s a guide to local search best practices that increase your website’s search-ability:
- Get more content out there. One of the best strategies for boosting search engine results pages (SERPs) performance involves posting regular content. Having a blog is one of the easiest ways to get fresh, relevant content posted daily or weekly to your site. When that content includes a relevant geographic term, it increases your position in SERPs.
- Complement your friends. Building good relationships with those who provide complementary services has long been standard practice in business. Keep that going on the internet, and develop content that stays focused on your wedding planner services, for example, while featuring related services like photographers, caterers, etc. This strategy boosts SERPs by giving you another opportunity to include a geographic term, but it also creates beneficial relationships with other businesses, who may link to your services in the future.
- Know SEO. On-page website optimization strategies also boost local search. Make sure your marketing team or expert includes keyword optimization for page titles, URLs, links, content and headers.
- Take the long road. You’ve probably heard time and again to “keep it short” because consumer attention spans are short. However, when choosing keyword phrases, the opposite is true. The industry term is “long-tail keyword phrases,” and it’s the best strategy to use to promote local search. When choosing geographic terms, use a variety of longer location names, like “greater Cleveland,” “Cleveland metro,” “northeast Ohio,” and so forth.
- Go “au natural.” Consumers are wary of “forced” keyword stuffing. Ever happened upon a website page that was unreadable because it included every conceivable variation of a location name—and no relevant information about the business? You don’t have to resort to these measures. Instead, use natural methods. If you have multiple sites, develop a separate web page to feature each location, and create an “About Us” page and a “Contact Us” page, too.
- Get mobilized. Since consumers use mobile devices as a primary way to get business information, make sure your site is optimized for mobile.
With these local search strategies, the lost can be found. In just a few steps, you can take your business from “off-the-map” to “first-on-the-page,” and give customers a way to find you.