Your website isn’t just for organic rankings on SERPs; It is also a piece of the local business game. the one that helps your business show up for local searches via the desktop or phone. How are these searches any different than the organic or paid results on the SERPs? They present businesses based on nearness or proximity of the user searching. For example, if you search for dentist on your phone, your search results will more than likely show practicing dentists in your general area. This goes for pretty much any brick and mortar business related query. So, how can you make sure your website is sending the right signals when it comes to local SEO? Read more to find out!
Meta Title Tag:
Every page on your website should have their own unique title tag. This helps search engines and users determine what the page is about in the SERPs before clicking on the blue link to the page. What do you need in the title tag other than the topic of the page to help your local results? Your city, state. If you use an SEO plugin like All-in-one SEO or Yoast’s WordPress SEO, the addition of information to your meta information is quite easy.
URL or Web Address:
Ensure your URLs are easy to read. This helps when people are searching for your business but doesn’t know it exists. Ensure the web address helps describe the page in a few words. Try and keep it under six characters if you can.
Make sure your heading tags in your header are HTML plain text format. What this does is gives search engines your page, business, and/or contact information before it reads anything else on the site. Bots cannot determine what is on an image without the help of alt tags or file names. Using plain text is recommended when adding text that denotes what a page or business is about on a website.
Imagine your user is sitting across the table from you, and they’ve just asked a question you have an answer too. In most cases, you would respond by giving them the answer. Then the user would potentially ask some follow up questions, which you may or may not be able to answer. Consider creating content in this format. What are the things your user’s are wanting to know, learn, or discover? Create content that solves their problem, educates them, and/or feeds their want/need for searching on the internet. How does this align with local search? Naturally, if your answering your user’s questions or labeling your business for your market, your target audience will use the same language to find you.
For example, you probably wouldn’t label your business Italian pie, if it’s meant to serve the pizza eaters of your city. You would most likely call it pizza, pizzeria, pizza pie, italian pizza, etc. The Italian pie name would be used for copy on your site to educate your target audience on why your pizza is different and/or better than all the other regular pizza places in town.
One of the major highlights of this post is the contact info. Your business must have, needs, to have the following items on your website, or you will suffer in local results when users search for your product or service.
- Zip code
- Phone #
- Physical Address
Your zip code needs to be marked as the one your business serves. The local algorithms do use this to determine proximity among a lot of other factors, so why not include it? It’s best to use the zip code that aligns with your brick and mortar address.
Phone numbers need to be your actual number. The call tracking numbers are recommended as not being used unless you own the number and can take it with you if you move your business. The reason for this is that your website sends signals out to the internet with all the content and info you’ve offered on it. If you change the phone number on a regular basis, moving to new tracking numbers or switching back and forth between your actual number and a tracking number, it could harm your local directory listing across various sites. Why is this important? If a user finds your business on a directory site and calls the number, you want it to be the correct number. But if you’ve been switching your phone number bi-annually, your users have a smaller chance of calling in that order they wanted to place.
Your physical address should not be a P.O. Box. If you don’t currently have a storefront, there are various ways to denote that you serve an area with a product or service. If you are a virtual business, you do not need to be pursuing local search results in the first place. For the brick and mortar storefronts, ensure your address is accurate and the same across all listings you’ve placed on the internet, so that your user has a chance of finding you and your business.
If you run profiles or pages on social media, ensure your address matches what your website presents exactly. If you use “Road” instead of “Rd.,” it needs to be changed. Accuracy is of upmost importance when it comes to profiles and pages you control. Each page and profile sends a signal out to search engines alike, to confirm or negate your efforts as a local business.
Make sure all images are optimized for search engines. You need to ensure that they are compressed and as small as possible while still holding the highest quality possible. But you need to pay attention to the technical side of the image, too. Check the images file name. Can it be written better to describe the image? How about the alt tag? Can you naturally fit your keyword in and describe the image? Do it. In a large majority of local directory profiles and pages, images can be used to make it look nicer–to represent your business. Take advantage of this and add the smaller signals like alt tags and file names to give yourself that extra leg up on the competition.
Did you know “%50 of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day…?” According to Google’s research, these numbers are legit. Now, what have you done to optimize your local signals on your website?