How to Optimize Your Business for Local Search

written by guest blogger, Ben Robertson from Menadena.

For any local business, the internet can be a valuable tool when it comes to gaining new customers and boosting sales. Whether it’s a good dentist, an awesome burrito or the closest bookstore, more and more people use their mobile devices to find what they need in their immediate surroundings, and if you aren’t there to be found, you’ll be losing business to your competitors.

The key is to optimize your business for local search. This way, when potential customers in your community are searching for the products or services you sell, you’ll show up at the top of the search engine results page and in the Google 3 Pack.

Local SEO Stats You Can’t Ignore

Here are some statistics courtesy of Hubspot, that will help show you just how important it is to be at the top of your local search game.

  • In local searches, the Google 3-pack is in the top spot 93% of the time
  • 50% of people who conducted a local search via smartphone visit a store within 24 hours
  • 50% of mobile searchers looking for local info want an address and similar business info
  • 68% of searchers have used the “click to call” or “get directions” prompt in mobile ads
  • 46% of all Google searches are local
  • 76% of local searches end up with the searcher making a phone call

Steps to Implement Today

As you can see, the analytics are telling you that you’d better take local search seriously if you want to remain relevant. Luckily, there are a handful of steps you can implement right away that will help you reach your goal.

Google My Business – Google My Business is a free tool where you enter pertinent business information and your company will show up in a listing of local businesses when relevant search terms are entered.

Bing Places for Business – In order to be found in more than just Google, you can fill out a profile and claim your listing for free in Bing Places for Business.

Facebook – Creating a Facebook page with your local business information or trying out the Facebook Local App can help people find you.

Yelp – Yelp also has its own business page where you can find and claim your business to extend your online reach even farther.

Useful Tools – It’s never a bad idea to enlist the help of some of the paid listings management tools available. Tools such as Moz Local or Yext can elevate your online status and work together with free tools to ensure you are found when people are looking.

It is also important to understand that NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency across all of the various platforms is a must if you expect to be found consistently. Having the same, accurate information everywhere can account for as much as 20% of search engine results.

Schema for Structured Data – Schema markup, or “structured data markup” refers to a structured data vocabulary that can be added to the code of your website to give search engines more information about your local business. Less than half of all businesses use this markup, so those that do have a decided advantage.

What You Can Do on a Monthly Basis

Once you take the first steps to optimize your business for local search, there are some ongoing tasks that will help to keep you where you want to be. These include:

  • Getting as many positive reviews as possible
  • Providing regular updates to social media
  • SEO tasks like fixing broken links (404 errors) on your website
  • Keeping all your online business listings consistent and up to date
  • Keeping your website and business listing keywords in alignment

There’s no question that keeping your business optimized for local search is critical, or that it takes a comprehensive effort to make it happen. If you would like to schedule a consultation and learn about our Local Foundation package, get in touch with us today.

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