Any business that serves a local market should seriously consider optimizing for local search. Why? Because Google search algorithms match local consumers to local products.
Consider these numbers:
- Approximately 3 billion search queries contain local content every month (comScore)
- 70 % of online searches will use local search to find store front businesses. (Kelsey Group)
- 34 % of mobile users will visit a business the same day of conducting a local search (Kelsey Group)
How to optimize your website for local SEO:
Whether your business is in the local Charleston market (Charleston SEO) or another local area there are two factors to consider:
- Six Crucial On Page SEO Elements:
- Home page title tags with service and location
Having the correct home title tags can significantly boost your business’ ranking on search engines for your particular service. Title tags should be no more than 60 characters and include the city that you are trying to target. Local Visibility provides some great examples of page title tags.
- Home page description and location
It’s always good practice to use page descriptions on your homepage. And, it doesn’t hurt to use descriptions on all pages of your website. Remember, the description should always include the city you wish to target. Although search engines do not use descriptions to determine rankings, page descriptions are extremely important for gaining user click-through from search engine results. Search engines typically show 150-160 characters of the description, so you should try stay within that range. Here are 33 examples of page descriptions.
- URL’s with services and city location
Create pages that exclusively target your local area. If you are a dentist in Charleston, and provide root canals, then your URL for that service may look like this “www.business_name.com/charleston_root_canal.”
- Optimize Keywords on all pages
A keyword, in the context of search engine optimization, is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page. Keywords form part of a Web page’s metadata and help search engines match a page to with an appropriate search query (tehcopedia). In other words, keywords help potential customers find your website. So, they should be included in the body of every page of your website and/or blog. Also should consist of the contents of your page, and your local area. However, do not mention the same keyword more than 5 times on one page because search engines view this as keyword stuffing and penalize your page. We recommend two target keywords. Placing the keywords in your title tags and page description will help as well. In this blog I am trying to target Charleston SEO and Local Search. See how I snuck those keywords in?
Your potential customer is seeking solutions to problems in that you can answer. Blogging allows you to be the thought leader in your local community by providing solutions to problems. Every blog article you write that targets a specific geographic location is a new opportunity to be found by a local customer. Strategically creating blog articles is a very efficient to increase local web traffic.
- Mobile Compatibility
Due to the increasing amount of mobile search, Google is now penalizing websites that aren’t mobile friendly. Almost 50% of searches are performed by a mobile device. You are missing out on tons of potential customers if your website isn’t mobile friendly.
- Off-Site Optimization
- Create a Google Business Page (Google Plus)
Creating a business Google page gets your company on Google map and increases your changes of appearing in local searches. The account is free and, you can learn how to open a Google Plus Page for your businesses here. Make sure to publish your content to your Google Plus business page to reach your local audience.
- Get listed on local directories
Listing your business on local directories is a simple, yet effective way to drive local traffic. There are many advantages and benefits in publishing your business in local directories.
- Have a system in place to receive positive reviews
Google search favors customer review sites. In many cases, local review sites such as Yelp will rank ahead of your business’ website. So, listing your business on local review sites is sort of an easy ‘hack’ to increase your Google search ranking. Obviously, having positive reviews is a good way to turn searchers into customers. Here are 6 tips on getting Google reviews for your business
To learn more about local SEO watch this excellent webinar by Rebecca Churt and David Mihm of Hubspot.