Your Top 4 Must’s for Local Search Optimization
So what’s your local search strategy? Many companies group all search activities into one bucket—it’s all search, right? Yes. And no. All searches are not created equal. As a specific niche, local search requires an approach designed just for it. Especially since the introduction of Pigeon, the businesses that will win at local search are the ones that embrace this reality.
What Makes Great Local Search?
Following are four elements that you must employ in order to win at local search today:
- Be transparent.
- Demonstrate relevancy.
- Focus on your local area.
- Deliver quality.
Let’s look at each one of these on its own.
The bottom line here is that you should not attempt to make yourself bigger or more far-reaching than you really are. Google can see right through you. For example, a hair salon in Wheaton should not tout itself as serving “the greater Chicago area” but as “proudly serving the Wheaton community.”
This same principle holds true when selecting categories for directory listings. A caterer should not show up under “personal services”, for example. Attempts like this to be seen by a wider audience will actually result in the opposite.
Essentially, the moral of the story is to be truthful and open about what and where your business is.
Once heralded as “the” way to improve SEO results, link building is today almost feared. That need not be the case. In fact, I would go so far as to say that links are just as important as they ever were—so long as they are appropriately relevant to a business.
Create a healthy link structure that includes links to and from other businesses or resources directly related to your industry or category. Such links can boost your domain and page authority, helping you climb up the search result listings.
Focus on Your Local Area
In some urban areas, focusing on your local area means emphasizing not just cities but neighborhoods. A person on Queen Anne is unlikely to go to a dry cleaner in West Seattle. Your dry cleaning business, therefore, can benefit a lot when you highlight your Queen Anne location.
The trend in local today is shrinking in a way. The areas considered “local” are becoming smaller and the more you can target a niche location, the better for you. Use these descriptors in your H1 and H2 tags, page titles and other key areas on your site to highlight yourself as the “true” local option.
The quality of all content you put forth continues to increase in importance for SEO. Take stock of your top-line content to see if it really communicates the right messages and information. Start with your URLs, page titles and headers. A big must is ensuring that your name, address and phone number are consistent everywhere they appear—on your site and social platforms and in directory listings.
As always, SEO remains a long-term proposition. There is no quick win but there are very clear paths to the desired results. Let these four tips be the cornerstones of your local search strategy and you will be on that path.