Why Local Search Traffic Matters to Your Small Business
It’s no secret that ranking higher than Lowe’s or Home Depot for any home improvement-related search phrases is a difficult task. With millions of dollars to spend on marketing every year, the chances of you outranking them on search engines are small. However, if you run a home improvement shop in Denver, then outranking Lowe’s on a national level isn’t necessary. As a small business, your most important battle is the one in your backyard – outranking them within Denver. Now, thanks to local SEO, you can.
What is Local SEO
Local SEO is a series of elements in Google’s search algorithm that help local businesses to rank higher for local search results on search engines. There are two primary facets of local SEO:
- A Denver-based construction company will rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) than a Boston construction company for someone who searches for the phrase “construction company” while located in Denver.
- A Denver-based pizza shop will also rank higher on SERPs for someone who searches for the phrase “pizza in Denver”.
How to Improve Your Local Search Rankings
Local search rankings are determined by hundreds of factors. For today, we’re going to keep it simple and talk about the 3 factors that will do the most for enhancing your local search rankings, but we also suggest exploring this article on how to perform the ultimate local SEO audit to perfect your local search ranking.
1. Local Directory Listings
One of the most important elements of local SEO is managing your business listings in local directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, and many more. Each of these sites enable you to upload basic information such as your business address, a description of what you do, and a phone number to contact your team. Search engines provide a local ranking boost to businesses that upload their information to each of these directories, and penalize discrepancies in these listings.
2. On-Site Locational Elements
Search engines also examine your website to determine how important location is to your business. Using a phrase many times throughout your website tells search engines that your website should rank higher for that phrase. Similarly, including your business address on your website and citing the city where your business is located throughout your website help you to rank higher for that location. For example, describing your fence repair service as a Denver fence repair service will help you to rank higher for those Denver fence repair searches. One common mistake in local optimization is to add your business location as an iframe tag – ex. showing your business location on a map. We get it: it looks really cool, but please don’t do it. Search engines aren’t able to read the locational data from these maps when crawling your website, so make sure to list your address in plain text.
3. Reviews from Google Plus and Yelp
The third foundational local search factor is the quality and quantity of customer reviews from sites like Google Plus and Yelp. A small business with hundreds of 5-star reviews will receive a ranking boost over the small business with mostly 1-star reviews. Pro tip: businesses with positive reviews can provide this information under their website listing on SERPs using a microdata generator tool, which typically results in a much higher click-through rate.
Last May, Google reported that local search results lead 50% of mobile searchers to visit your store within 24 hours of discovering your site. With numbers like that, local SEO is becoming a necessity for every small business. Working on these three factors will help you to see significant search ranking increases over time. However, SEO takes time and effort to see progress, so while you work towards optimizing your website for these local search factors, we suggest using paid search result to begin ranking for these local search results immediately.
Start working on implementing these foundational elements of local SEO, and remember to subscribe to my blog for more expert insights on how to build your small business’ online presence.