Optimizing a website for local search is important for a few reasons. First, the number of smart phone and tablet users is on the rise meaning that a larger percentage of searches are being performed “on the go”. Mobile web searchers are often looking for local information and local establishments. Second, search is becoming more personalized and search results vary depending on individual search behavior, social media connections, and location. Therefore, it’s important to consider the following local SEO best practices while conducting an SEO campaign:
Incorporate Local Keywords
The first step of an SEO campaign is to conduct keyword research to find out how target audience members are searching for the products or services that you provide. Skipping this step can result in less traffic or less qualified traffic that won’t convert. Keyword research should first be conducted nationally, and then localized later by adding the city or town, state, and neighborhood in front of the chosen keyword. For example, for a local pizza shop it makes more sense to optimize for “Anytown NY pizza place” than it does to target the much more broad “pizza place”.
Develop Local Search Profiles
You don’t need to be a business that only operates locally to create a local search profile. In fact, all businesses should submit their information to Google, Yahoo!, and Bing local directories. It improves search engine results page visibility, increases your online real estate, and builds another legitimate inbound link to your website.
Include Contact Information
Contact information including a physical address, a mailing address, and a phone number should be included on every page of the site and should be crawlable text that the search engine spiders can “read”. For many websites it makes sense to include this information in the footer.
Optimize Social Profiles
Just as you would optimize your website for local keywords, it’s important to do the same to your social media pages. Optimize the title of the page using a local keyword and include local terms in the bio sections as well as in post content whenever it makes sense to do so.
Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
What’s the point of optimizing your site for local search from mobile devices if your site can’t be viewed on a mobile device? You can’t assume that a visitor will return to your site at a later time on a desktop. In fact, it’s doubtful that that will happen. They will simply go to your competitor’s site and do business with them instead.