Search Optimization for Local Searches

local seo info for small businessSearch optimization for local has become a cornerstone for organic search visibility. It’s extremely important for local businesses.

Local SEO can give your small business a serious boost if you know how to take advantage of it. There are some fundamentals and it’s important to get them dialed in correctly.


Local Business Listings Matter

google my business image Want your business to show up on a Google map when folks perform a search related to the products or services you offer? Then from a local SEO perspective, claiming and setting up your local business listing on Google My Business is a must!! It should be the first thing on your agenda for local SEO.

Google My Business will also send business owners a monthly insights email which summarizes stats around how well your Google local listing is performing. And it has recently been updated to include more data.

The original email shared the views on your business, the number of people who clicked to get directions and the number of people who called your business from the listing. The updated one includes visits to your website, reviews, the type of searches you were found for and the percentage increase or decrease month to month for most of this data.

Not sure hot to get started?
Learn more by reading about: How To Claim Your Business On Google.

There are countless other free business listings that you will want to take advantage of too. Find and Claim your Yelp Business Page is one. Otherwise, you are likely missing out on local exposure and perhaps not reaching your entire audience. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can use a paid service such as yext to manage your local listings.

FYI: Some listings will allow you to claim your business and set up an account. Others such as Yelp may need you to request to be submitted. Regardless your business WILL need to be verified.


Getting Your Business Verified

local listings verificationThe verification process may vary depending on the listing – but most will require a code or pin that you will need to input. This code may come by mail and or by a quick phone call.

Even if you’re a home-based business, it still needs to be verified to show an actual location. This way Google, Yelp, Bing etc. can verify that your business is legit.

Just remember, your business needs to be licensed/registered within your city/town/state as it WILL be verified by Google etc.

Each city/town/ state may have different protocols for registering and or licensing your business. If you are unsure as to what is required, contacting your local Small Business Administration is likely a good place to start.


Your N.A P. (name, address, phone) and Showing Up on a Local Search Results Map

local search map resultClaiming your business listings allow you to show up on a local search results map. Listings can allow people to easily know where you are located, the services you offer and your hours of operation.Throw is some good reviews, and that can potentially boost your local SEO rankings even more.

So it’s incredibly important to have your N.A.P – business name, address and telephone number consistent across ALL of your business listings.


Local Business Listings allow you to:
• Add your business logo for branding and people can identify with you
• Choose specific categories relevant to your business
• Add images, photos of your products or services and video
• Include the city or cities you serve within your listing
• Encourage customer reviews and engagemnent
• Allow Mobile Device & Smartphone users to quickly & easily find you

With the rise in smartphone usage, search engines like Google have adapted to provide results relevant to the searcher’s geographic location – down to a specific neighborhood. And this continues to get fine-tuned!

Bottom line, done correctly, these free business listings can be a powerful tool in your online marketing arsenal!


Know Your Keywords and have Great Website Content

Know the keywords you wish to target on your website…
Yes, you need to know these! Keywords are key to your local search ranking. You have to consider the terms your customers use to look for a business like yours. Try diversifying with long-tail keywords. These are keywords on your website used to target niche markets where you have a greater opportunity of ranking higher.

Some examples:
“Emergency 24-hour Plumber Santa Fe, NM”
instead of:
“Plumber Santa Fe”

Notice how much more targeted and dialed-in with keywords the first example is?

Have great content…
Your website NEEDS relevant content! Helpful content encourages engagement, shares and traffic. These factors can help improve your local search ranking. If there’s no content on your website then there’s not much for visitors to interact with.

Be sure to have a thorough business description along with specific pages that describe your products or services, contact and location info. An FAQ page and perhaps a blog (where you discuss topics on a local level) can also work for your local SEO.


Mobile Devices Stats on Local SEO

Folks performing local searches are likely on mobile devices. Recent reports state that 40% of users’ internet time is spent on mobile devices. Approximately 1 in 3 mobile searches have local intent which usually means they are “ready to buy” – so you want to be sure your info is relevant to their needs.

Users often use mobile devices to complement their immediate interactions such as looking for the closest gas station or restaurant etc. This is yet another reason your local business listings are so important!


It’s Still About SEO – Just on a Local Level

Keep in mind it’s still about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – just on a local level. Be sure to include your location/city for geo-targeting purposes. But you also want to infuse your local business listings with keywords and content that best describes the products or services you offer….


Word of Mouth or Business Referrals…

Even if the majority of your local customers are by Word-of-Mouth or Biz Referrals, you can still benefit by claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing. The truth is, they will likely want to do a Google search first to learn more about you prior to contact.

Consider your business listings part of good practices to best serve your customers 🙂


eco-conscious graphic designer barbara rogersWritten by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Helping businesses grow through better design and search visibility solutions. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place with their products or services.