Doing Search Engine Optimization for businesses at a local level (referred to as “local SEO”) was a big trend in SEO during 2016 and 2017, and it looks like it’s going to be even bigger in 2018.
Is Your Business Website Local SEO Optimized?
There are big opportunities for businesses that invest in doing Local SEO, and the ones that have done it are seeing the fruits of their labor pay off.
- Local Search results show in the top spot for 93% of searches that have local intent
50% of the consumers that do a local search on their phone will visit the store within a day
- 34% that do a local search from a computer or tablet will also visit a store within a day
- 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale.
- Overall, local listings receive a high click-through rate and in some cases, do better than the first listing in the results.
After seeing these numbers, it’s hard to think that any business that wishes to attract clients or customers locally would ignore doing local SEO, but it does happen a lot.
What Are the Best Practices for Local SEO in 2018?
Local SEO might seem a bit technical or cryptic at first. It’s a bit different than optimizing your site for organic search results, but the result could reap better rewards than your organic SEO efforts in certain areas.
The Importance of having a Google My Business page
If there’s one thing you must have, it would be a Google My Business (formerly Google Places) page. Google pulls 90% – 95% of its local listing data from the Google My Business page if available.
With Google being the most widely used search engine, there is no reason to not have one. There will be a few steps to set up the page, and you’ll have to verify the listing. This could take a couple days, but it’s worth it in the end.
All the information that is found on a Google My Business page may be used in the local search results. It also can help Google understand what your business is, and what you have to offer.
Many businesses are tempted to skimp on the details, such as creating an online menu if it’s a restaurant, or leaving off the “about us” section, but every piece of accurate information can help bring in the clients or customers and help Google list your business correctly.
After the information has been entered, there are certain techniques that can be performed to optimize the page for better placement in the listings and click-throughs (a click-through is when someone clicks on the listing to get to your website).
One of the first things you should do to optimize the page is to upload a clear picture of your storefront or building. This helps people identify your place of business easily. You’d be surprised at how many people can’t find a shop and end up going somewhere else instead. Having an image that people can use to identify your business is key to getting them through the door.
Don’t over-categorize your business. Google allows you to choose more than one category for your business, and it can be tempting to select as many as possible with the thought that you want to reach as many people as possible, but this can hurt your optimization efforts. Choose at most the two most relevant categories and leave the rest alone.
Make sure that you write down your business name, address, website and phone number in the exact format that you will use on all websites, including your site. It is VERY important not to have variants of the information. When all the business information matches across all the sites that it shows up on, Google and the other local directories have a much easier time listing your business, and businesses that have consistent information tend to do better in the results.
Don’t Ignore Other Local Sites
There is a lot of focus on Google because over 50% of website traffic that comes in from searches usually comes in from Google. This does not mean it’s the only one that you should focus on.
Sites like Bing Places, Yelp, and other local listing sites shouldn’t be ignored. If there are local online directories (like your city’s chamber of commerce or downtown shopper district), try and get a listing there as well. Listings on sites that are locally based tend to help the local results do better as well.