If you are a bricks and mortar business, then you should be optimizing your website to appear in the local search results. Local search results appear in Google, and other search engines when you search for a keyword using a location. For example, “Dog Walking in Manhattan”.
The local search results map will appear under the sponsored results and above the normal search results. Here businesses are displayed on the map and some businesses will appear in the local search results just under the map.
Your aim is to get your website into the top three local search results to ensure that your website gets noticed. It’s possible to have your website in three positions on the first page for your preferred search term. This includes the sponsored results, local results, and normal results.
The most important aspect of your local SEO campaign is your keyword research. You should be targeting local keywords which people use to find products and services in their area. You should use Google’s Keyword Planner to research and find keywords.
When using the Keyword Planner, you should filter the result by geographic region. You can filter countries, states, counties, and cities. This will help to give you an idea of how competitive the keyword is.
A good keyword for your business will have a good number of monthly searches. You will then need to optimize your website around these keywords. This will give you a solid foundation on which to build your local SEO campaign.
You should categorize your keywords into groups (or silos). For example, if your main keyword is “hotels in New York”, you should have a list of keywords which contain both the word ‘hotel’ and ‘New York’. This list might contain, ‘best hotels in New York’, ‘top rated hotels in New York’, etc. If you have similar keywords, such as ‘backpackers in New York’, you should have another category which contains the words ‘backpacker’ and ‘New York’. This may include, ‘backpacker hostel in New York’, ‘cheapest backpacker hostel in New York’.
Now that you have a list of local keywords that you want to target, you now need to start using them. You should create one landing page for each silo of keywords. You need to ensure that you use the main keyword from each silo in your META title and description.
Moreover, you should also use a combination of keywords in your H1 – H6 titles. Your main keyword from one silo should be used in the first H1 tag and other related keywords can be used in other title tags.
On top of this, you should also use your keywords in your content as naturally as possible and include them in your image ALT text and URLs. You don’t want to stuff the same keyword too many times throughout the page because this may result in a penalty. Good SEO content which also provides the user with valuable content and converts into sales is what you are aiming for here.
In 2011 a new tool called SCHEMA was created and it has been universally adopted by Yahoo, Bing, and Google. You should put your business address on every page of your website using the correct structured data. You can visit schema.org for more information about how to insert this structured data into your HTML code.
You should place your full address, website, phone number, and email address into your footer using structured data so that it appears on every page of your website. If applicable, you should also include opening times and delivery areas.
This information is called a business citation. You should ensure that all websites contain the same business citations, which are also known as NAP (name, address, phone), as what is displayed on your website. Consistency with NAP citations is important here.
You should also use a blog to publish content about your business and local area as this will help you to attract more visitors to your websites. Generally, the more visitors you get, the more chances you have of selling your product or service. Content marketing is a very popular method to attract visitors to your website.
On top of this, you should ensure that you are following best SEO practices by having enough written content on each page. This is especially the case with your home page as it’s likely to be your main landing page.
Don’t fall for the outdated trick of spamming keywords and listing 50 different cities in bullet points and expecting to rank for them all. You probably won’t even rank for one keyword in those cities. Google has become very good at spotting over-optimized sites in recent years. Google’s Panda algorithm affected a high number of low-quality websites. Moreover, Google’s Pigeon algorithm was created to provide more useful local search results. This means, that lower quality sites will perform worse than higher quality ones.
Before you start any other aspect of SEO work for your site, you need to ensure that you have the basics right with your on-page SEO. If you don’t have your on-page SEO done well, then all off-site SEO work will be in vain. The first thing you should do is thorough keyword research. These lists of keywords will be at the center of everything you do to improve the rankings of your website in the local search results.