How Local SEO is Changing the Search Game

Local SEO has been a player on the SEO stage for only about a year now, but it’s quickly becoming a dominant factor for business owners who want to increase their website visibility, especially those who own a brick and mortar location. Local SEO refers to the searches people make when they want to find a “coffee shop near me” or “flower shops in Greenville, SC”. Essentially, it involves the searches people make when they’re on the go and don’t know what to search for.

Because of this, this type of optimization is relatively unused and is a powerful tool for businesses to gain momentum and visibility. There’s a good chance your website will be able to rank high for those specific local searches.

Let’s walk through some ways to gain visibility by improving your local SEO.

For brick and mortar establishments:

  1. Add your location to your main page titles as well as your meta descriptions.
  2. Make sure all of the web addresses that relate to your business are unified and pointing to your correct location.

TIP: If you have moved locations since you’ve had an online presence, take the time to ensure every mention of your brand online has the updated address and phone number. This includes Yelp, online directories, social media, and Google My Business. Google will give you a significant rank decrease for local searches if your information across every online platform is inconsistent.

  1. Set up a Google My Business profile and optimize the info on the profile.
  2. Add your business to local online directories such as your Chamber of Commerce directory or small business informational websites.
  3. Make sure to claim and identify your location on your social media profiles.

For online-only businesses:

  1. Add your location to your main page title and meta descriptions.

TIP: Even if you’re not tied to a physical address, if you want to be found in local searches, place your location (city and state) prominently in your meta information.

  1. Add your business to local online directories such as Yelp and ask your clients to leave reviews of your business to boost your rankings.
  2. Make sure your location is prominent on your Contact or About page. If you have no mention of where you’re located, Google won’t show your business in location-specific searches.
  3. Claim your location on your social media profile.

Using schema markup

Schema markup, or structured data, is a Google-preferred method of letting Google’s bots know what your website is all about. This helps them categorize and rank your website more thoroughly, which in turns help you rank higher for local searches.

The process starts in Google Search Console and only involves a few steps:

  1. Navigate to Google Search Console and find Data Highlighter in the sidebar.
  2. Click “start highlighting”.
  3. Enter your website URL and the type of information you want to feature first.
  4. Highlight and tag the relevant info.
  5. Review and publish.

 

Local SEO is a powerful tactic to make your brand stand out and your business gain more visibility in searches. With a little bit of strategy, time, and the tools Google provides, local SEO can be successfully implemented by any blogger or small business owner.

Emily Lewandowski

Emily is an SEO Strategist and founder of Some Pretty SEO, a digital resource geared toward bloggers and small business owners to help them understand and implement best search engine optimization practices. In addition to Some Pretty SEO, Emily is the creative force behind the fashion blog Some Pretty Thing (http://www.someprettything.com).

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