Once a local website is built and pushed live, an important step in local marketing is to optimize a website for local SEO. This is different to general SEO optimization techniques in that the former focuses on a group of people in an area rather than the entire target audience base.
As such, the strategies will include a series of marketing techniques that help increase visibility to consumers searching in a specific geographic location.
How do you optimize a website for local SEO? That and more are discussed in this quick read to allow you to understand the concept of local SEO better.
Importance of optimizing a website for local SEO
In today’s digital world, more than 50% of searches taking place online are related to local services using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. This builds a strong case for businesses to optimize a website for local SEO so it ranks high on search engine results pages (SERP).
Having a solid online presence for your business is essential, and local search optimization (local SEO) works if implemented successfully. Apart from maintaining an online presence, other significant benefits of optimizing a website for local SEO are
- reaching to a larger audience within the local area. When you implement local SEO, your website ranks high in search results due to geographical specifications and helps customers find you faster.
- being visible to your audience or consumers when searching for businesses like yours. It shows your products or services first because you are nearby. That also helps improve your website traffic.
- allowing you to convert visitors to customers expressly. If your site appears on the top of local queries all the time, the likelihood of conversion becomes high. Customers with immediate needs for your product or service, for instance, can contact you immediately on first contact via the site.
Best practices to optimize a website for local SEO
Ready to bring your business closer to home? The following strategies will go a long way in helping you achieve that. Listed below are some best practices you can adopt for optimize a website for local SEO.
Focus on internal linking
Internal links refer to the practice of adding links to other pages within the website. You can use them to direct your potential customers and search engines to much needed information. This can help reduce your bounce rate as well.
Internal links help search engines optimize the content of a website and easily navigate through the different parts of the site.
This works great when local businesses want to showcase the different services and sub-services that they have to offer making it easier for visitors to locate pages important to them as well.
Dedicated content pages for services and locations
Creating separate pages that specifically cater to each location and service offered is a good practice for local SEO.
Not only does it help Google better understand the context of the website but it also provides helpful information for visitors to learn about the services offered and locations served.
The content on the service and location page also usually matches the intent of the local clients perfectly.
Creating an HTML and XML sitemap
A sitemap is a list of different pages of a website which is created in a way that is easy for search engines to crawl and index the essential pages. There are broadly two types of sitemaps, XML and HTML. The former is for search engine spiders while the latter are for visitors.
The XML sitemaps increase the chances of your site getting crawled, while the HTML enables visitors to find what they are looking for, ultimately providing a better user experience.
Optimize metadata such as Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Slug, etc.
Adding metadata such as title tags, meta descriptions and slugs to all the pages is an effective way to optimize a website for local SEO. It is an opportunity for the site to advertise itself in seconds.
While optimizing for local search, the title tags, for instance, should contain the location of interest, your product, or the services provided. That way, the website can appear in queries of potential customers more often than usual and increase the credibility.
Create relevant local content
In the process of optimization, you have to meet the needs of your audience. How do you do this? By learning about your local audience and thus providing the content from the perspective of the potential customers.
Possessing an excellent site layout and multiple security will be needless if you do not include content that points to the right audience.
Ensure accuracy and consistency of crucial local business information
Any local business has key information that needs to be highlighted online. These include:
- Business name
- Address: where your business is operated from
- Phone: how can visitors get in touch
- Payment methods accepted
- Opening Hours: when can visitors get in touch
- Services offered
- Locations served
- Parking information
- Reviews & testimonials
- Accreditations, certificates and qualifications
It’s important to ensure that the information included is accurate, updated and consistent across all other business listings and citations. This will allow search engines to show the visitors the right information relating to the local business.
Optimize for mobile browsing
With a majority of customers browsing through mobile, a large part of optimizing for local SEO is to ensure the website is responsive for multiple devices.
If the site is not mobile-friendly, they will face difficulties accessing key information and the website will likely be penalized by Google since mobile responsiveness is a huge ranking factor.
Speed up the website
Having a website with faster load speed will not only allow visitors access information quicker but also help towards ranking your website high in local searches and reduce the bounce rate.
There are various measures you can take to ensure the website loads faster across multiple browsers and devices.
If it’s a WordPress website, you can use caching plugins that will take care of many technical aspects to ensure your website passes the Core Web Vitals.
Use Schema to add structured data
Schema is a type of structured data that helps search engines better understand the info on your website in order to serve rich results. It communicates to the search engines in a structured manner making it easier for them to understand the context of the website.
There are specific schema types that you can use to optimize a website for local SEO. This can be useful when you want to get rich snippets from Google searches.
Though this requires some coding knowledge if done from scratch, there are certain plugins such as Schema Pro that can do this without writing up any code.
Integrate the website with Google Business Profile
Once you have claimed the Google Business Profile for a local business, it will be visible on Google Maps. An important step would therefore be to embed a Google map on the website to help your website visitors easily locate your business.
This is especially helpful when the business has multiple locations which can all be represented by individual markers on one map.
Submit citations on local business directories
Citations refers to any online mention of key local business information as listed above. They provide strong signals to search engines that the business exists.
Submitting them magnifies your relevance to search engines and helps build trust which can in turn increase the chance of google crawling your site and ranking high on the SERPs.
Depending on the service and location of the local businesses, you could choose local directories that are relevant. This can potentially improve the chances of optimizing the website for local SEO.
Showcase reviews on the website
Chances are that you would look for reviews prior to engaging with a local business. As such, they are an important mechanism in building credibility and trust.
By showcasing ratings and reviews on local business websites, it sends signals to search engines on the authenticity of the business. This can eventually improve search rankings and also get in front of more local customers.
Local SEO is an effective strategy to help your business rank on SERPs. Fortunately, optimizing your site for local SEO is easy to implement when you understand its concept.
Therefore, the guide above should help you master the local SEO technique and use it to your business advantage.