If you’re looking to optimize your business’s local search visibility, we’ve compiled a list to help get you started. In 2017, Local Visibility is more crucial than ever, given the consistent statistical importance of search engine rankings, citations, and listings in the world of Google My Business. According to Google, 67% of people want ads customized to their locality. Furthermore, 50% of those who searched a business on their mobile went and visited the store or restaurant that same day, while 34% of computer users did the same.
Clearly, your business’s prevalent presence online is vital, so take a look at these tips to enhance your rankings and site visits.
Be present on Google Maps and use neighborhood keywords.
Ever since Google changed their algorithm for ranking businesses online in 2014 (a transition titled “Pigeon”), the neighborhood that a business belongs to is more heavily emphasized than its city and state. To take advantage of this, you should include colloquial and formal neighborhood names in titles and online content frequently. Be sure you know exactly which neighborhood you belong to on Google, as it could have changed since the Pigeon update.
Generate localized content.
Along those same lines, it’s important that you consistently produce new content that is specific to your area. Though sharing news articles, pictures, and friendly reminders of sales or deals are great ways to start off, a blog is perhaps the most effective method of connecting with your local community. Publish blog posts and interviews about your business’s purposes and motivations. Incorporating the more niche, atmospheric details of your involvement in your neighborhood will strengthen the interpersonal relationship between your customers and your service. You could even take it a step further and involve your customers directly: sharing stories of their experiences in your stores and asking them for their opinions shows that you value the members of your business’ neighborhood. Your customers will appreciate your dedication, and you’ll probably get more shares online from other blogs and business’ websites.
Make a web page for each location.
According to blogger Matt Cutts, if your business has multiple locations, you should make an HTML sitemap of every store you own. This sitemap should have an isolated URL for each store; this way, browsers can easily access site-specific information, like the address, phone number and hours relevant to that certain location with ease. Often, businesses who only provide an internal search for store locations and information are not crawlable by Google, so they detract from their store visibility online. A detailed HTML sitemap with individual web pages facilitates quicker searches and a greater likelihood of appearing higher in the link rankings after a generic search.
Build your citations.
Citations and links are key in succeeding in local SEO, as 88% of internet browsers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Whether your business’s name is present on blogs, local search engines (like Yelp, Foursquare, or Hotfrog), or local directories (like Best of the Web’s Regional Directory or Yahoo’s Regional Directory), your disseminated presence online will increase the number of visits to your own site and, most likely, your store(s) itself. Not only will browsers come across your name more frequently, but you’ll also establish your business as part of its community. As emphasized by Google’s latest study, belonging to a neighborhood or area and standing out is important to a business’ success in 2017.