LOCAL SEARCH OPTIMIZATION
Years back, getting found locally was much easier with ads in local newspapers and phone books. However, in the technology era that we live in today, not many people have a Yellow Pages at home or even a current phone book. Instead, people instantly turn to the internet and search for local businesses. According to a survey, 58% of consumers with Smartphones use advanced location-based applications to find out about local businesses, The use of such applications has also increased 33% from a year ago.
What does this imply? If you run a local business and want to target your local community, it is important for you to optimize your site for local visibility. Make sure that your website’s Meta descriptions and title tags reflect local texts and highlight local contact information for clients to contact you. This enables the search engine algorithms to easily index your page as a local business. Compelling and engaging blogs, with local relevance, also play an integral role in promoting your local visibility.
SEARCH ENGINES AND LOCAL SEARCH
Over the past few years, major search engines, such as Google and Bing, have been adding more local listings to the first page of their Search Engine Results Page (SERP). At the same time, they are also placing more emphasis on Google+ Local, Google Place,s and Bing Business Portal. This illustrates that major search engines are attributing a greater significance to local search. Whether you are locally visible or not depends on how well your website is optimized locally. Not surprisingly, if you gain local visibility you will have a better page ranking for local listings that appear on the first page of major search engines.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE FOR LOCAL SEARCH
If you want your business to be locally known and drive customer conversions, it is important that your website is optimized for local search in major search engines. For instance, if you have a dry cleaning business in San Antonio, whenever a person searches for San Antonio dry cleaning services online your website or brand will appear at the top page of your search engine. Thus, the key strategies in optimizing your website or brand for local search are:
- Develop location-based website content with targeted keywords that include local texts.
For example, some text for a dry cleaning business might include: San Antonio dry cleaning, dry cleaning San Antonio, etc. The title tags and meta descriptions should also specifically incorporate local texts, allowing the search engines to better index your page for local listings or businesses.
- Your website should have a ‘contact’ page that specifically mentions your location, phone number, address and zip code.
- Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways of promoting your website or brand as a local business. Engage in as much social media as possible.
- Integrate your website on Google+ Local, Google Places, Google Map, and Bing Business Portal
- Register your website or business with online local listings and reviews pages
In this tough competitive market, local search optimization is key for turning a profit. Thus, you should localize your website to drive relevant customers to your site.