In the past, search engines would display the same or similar results for all users, regardless of their geographic location. Now, however, they display different results for searches with local intent. So, if you own a local business, you should consider a local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to capitalize on these relevant, highly targeted local searches.
#1) Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
If you haven’t done so already, update with your website with a mobile-friendly design. According to a report by comScore, 56 percent of all searches performed on smartphones and other mobile devices have local intent. By using a mobile-friendly design, you’ll connect with these users while encouraging higher local search rankings in the process.
#2) Add Geo-Targeted Keywords to Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
Include geo-targeted keywords, such as the country, city or postal code code in which your business operates, in the title tags and meta descriptions of your site’s pages. When crawling your site, search engines will find this information, using it to associate a physical location with your business’s website. Hiring an SEO Toronto agency is one of the best ways to make sure your Title Tags and Meta descriptions are written properly.
#3) On-Page NAP
You can also encourage higher local search rankings by including your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) in your site’s content. However, you should present this information in plain text. Uploading an image with your business’s NAP prevents search engines from properly reading it. Therefore, it’s not going to help you achieve higher search rankings for local keywords.
Don’t forget to create a listing for your business on Google My Business. Not only will this help your business appear for relevant searches, but it can also increase your site’s search ranking. After creating a GMB listing, go into your account and add your website’s URL. Assuming you’ve already included your business’s address and other contact information, Google will associate the website URL with your business’s address, thus helping you rank for local searches.
#5) Build Backlinks
Even with new local SEO strategies like GMB, backlinks continue to play a key role in a website’s local search ranking. According to Moz, backlinks hold more weight than any other local SEO ranking signal. For local SEO, you should focus on backlinks from local websites associated with your business’s location.
#6) Create Local Citations
Finally, create local citations by adding your business to online directories. HubSpot has a list of some of the top online business directories for local citations, with some of the most popular being Better Business Bureau (BBB), Angie’s List and Merchant Circle. When adding your business to these directories, use the same NAP as displayed on your website. After all, you want search engines to create a connection between your business and its geographic location.
Local SEO requires patience and hard work. If you’re willing to put forth the effort, though, you’ll be rewarded with more customers to your local business.