If you own a local business you are in front of a wonderful opportunity. Google and the other major search engines are migrating to local! The statistics are there for all to see.
- Nearly 30% of queries now have local intent
- 1/3 of mobile searchers have local intent
- 30-50% of local traffic going to websites
- Local is in the top 5 conversion sources
- Local results are included about 1/3 of the time, when blended search results are displayed
- SERP are customized and is based on device, location, intent, search behavior and many other factors
So how do gain new customers? It starts by thinking in terms of channels; all of which are melded together by your website.
A Good Website
The first consideration is the structure of your site we don’t recommend as site that uses the same template repetitively for numerous clients. The structure quality and uniqueness of your site are important considerations. Your site should constructed with “content” in mind. Even in the design phase you should consider the following:
All seven elements of the website are optimized for local search.
- H1 & H2
- Anchor Text
- Alt Tags
- Body Content
- Footer – Phone #, Address
- Call to Action
Remember to be consistent with your business information and Call to Action. Here is a good place to also consider your blog, you should definitely have one. Ideally it is integrated into your website.
Local Directory Listings
It all starts with the Big three:
- Google Places
- Bing Business Portal
- Yahoo Local Listings
All you need is a business and a physical location. And if you do things right your business will be right their at the top of the SERP. Here are the results from a Google Search for Online Marketing in Independence:
Optimizing your Listings
We recommend you start by claiming your business on the three major directory listings Google Places, Yahoo Local Listing and Bing Business Portal.
Once you have verified ownership of these listings it is important to complete each one of the fully. This includes photos, videos and business information. The next phase is to make sure your customer base is aware of your presence in these directories. Encouraging reviews on your listings can help with ranking and click through. Fully optimizing your directory listing is an area we will cover at our Local Search Seminar on March 16th.
A Word on Citation Sites
Citations are “mentions” of your business name, address and phone number (NAP) on other web pages even if there is no link to your website. There are 100’s of thousands of citation sites on the web. They help confirm the trust of your business location and status.
- Citations affect Google Maps rankings. Your Google Places listing is worth a lot more with citations.
- Ranking on Google Page 1 is highly unlikely without citations for new place pages.
- Local citation analysis help analyze the sources your competitors are listed on that you maybe missing.
The formula for success is the same:
More citations you have = Places listing + Maps ranking get better