Google results are becoming more and more personalized and are affected by the user’s browsing history or the location. (See our blog post about context information). Optimizing a website for local search is therefore a critical process, especially for companies with local sales presence.
Local SEO is not only limited to commercial stores, it is also useful for service companies like lawyers or professionals like doctors.
To optimize your presence in Local Search you have several on-site and off-site possibilities:
1. On-Site Optimization
Make sure your business name, your address and your phone number are displayed on every page of your website. Usually, most websites include this information only in the “Contact” page, but it is important that it is displayed on all pages to achieve a higher ranking in local results.
Try also to include your city and area in the meta tags, titles and content of your pages. Do not try to do “keyword stuffing” and include them too many times. Only add them where it makes sense, so that your content sounds natural for your visitors.
- Make also sure that you use the Local Schema Markup. Using this markup makes it easier for the search engines to understand and use the local information on your website. If you are not familiar with coding, you can use the Data Highlighter in Google Webmaster Tools Data Highlighter and highlight easily the NAP (name, address, phone number) information on your website.
2. Off-Site Optimization
- Create a page for you company in Google Local. Fill in all required information, select the appropriate business category and use adequate keywords in the company description.
- Submit your company in yellow pages websites, or in directories like Yelp or Zagat. Even if it is not possible to publish a link to your website, it is important to spread your NAP (name, address, phone number) information as much as possible
- Let your customers know that they can post reviews about your company or even ask for them. Having a lot of reviews adds credibility to your local listings as reviews are an important local ranking signal. Google also takes sentiment into account, so positive reviews are more important. Always remember to be honest and transparent, and never buy reviews or publish fake ones.