Local search is an area that is becoming increasingly fundamental for any SEO strategy. As search engines aim to provide users with highly relevant results, one of the main aspects they have focused attention on is search personalization, and giving users results based on their location is a crucial component.
The following statistics indicate just how paramount local search has become:
- 73% of all online activity is related to local content (Google)
- 82% of local searchers follow up with a phone call or a visit to your physical location (TMP/Comscore)
- 40% of all mobile searches have local intent (Google)For Google in particular, this move towards greater personalization will continue to weigh heavily on their ranking algorithm. So if you expect your website to perform well, local search optimization is something you should be focusing on. How can you get started? Here are a few tips that will help you optimize your Google + Local listing and establish a presence in local search results.
1. Follow Google's Quality Guidelines
Much like organic rankings, Google has a number of guidelines in place for its local listings services. Among other practices, you should ensure that you are actually authorized to manage the listing, that you accurately represent your business and its operations, and that you use precise location information.
2. Upgrade To Google + Business
Upgrading your Google + Local profile to a Google + Business one allows you to combine local and social features. From a marketing standpoint, this is beneficial as it enables you to include posts, videos and build a following on Google + while displaying your business' local information to potential customers.
3. Fully Complete Your Profile
When you set up your profile, make sure that it is 100% complete. Profiles that are fully completed are more likely to display prominently than those that are not. Include data such as your website URL, phone number, hours of operation, email address and a thorough, well-written description of your business.
4. Choose Relevant Categories
Google + listings come with a wide choice of categories to choose from, but it is very important to select the categories that most accurately reflect your business. The more detailed and specific your categories are, the better users will be able to locate your business based on the terms and phrases that are relevant to the services/products you provide.
5. Encourage User Reviews
A main factor in local search results is citations. Google, for example, takes into account customer reviews to determine which business can best provide the best solution for its users. Where appropriate, you should encourage visitors to leave reviews, whether via email, newsletters, social media or even by mentioning it to customers in-store.
Today, failing to optimize for local search is a costly mistake. Improving your performance in local search results can not only increase exposure and visibility, but can also boost traffic, leads and conversion rates. And given the volume of searches with local intent and the weight placed on local results on search engines, upping the ante on your local search efforts is paramount to success.