Are you searching for a pizzeria, gas station, or hairdresser nearby? We’ve probably all done it: We are in the city or driving around in our car, and we just need to find something nearby. Searching for a local business is called local search and is gaining a massive amount of popularity since 46% of all searches already is a local search1. That’s the place you want to show your company! How to make sure your company is noticed in local searches? That’s what you’ll find out in this blog.
What is a local search?
Local searches are searches specifically focused on local companies and business sectors or when someone searches for a business they can actually visit, like a coffee shop or clothing store. This can be any kind of company, so it doesn’t matter if you offer products or services. Google (and other search engines too!) automatically shows companies that are close to the searcher’s location, so he can easily visit the company.
The growing popularity of local search
With the increasing use of mobile and voice search, local search has become even more popular. That’s because voice search is mainly used when people are on the go and want to find a company nearby quickly. So if you’re going to improve your (local) findability, you’ve got to start with optimizing for local search using the following tips!
Optimizing with local SEO
You can optimize several areas to get noticed in local search results, but before you get started, there’s one crucial step to begin with: adding your company’s location. When your website doesn’t show the company’s location, a search engine like Google has no idea where your company is located and can’t show it in its local search results.
When you do add your location to your website, don’t forget to add contact details like email address and phone number too, so people can quickly get in touch with you. Keep in mind that these details should be consistent on every channel you use to rank even better.
When you’ve done these necessary steps, the real fun begins. It’s time for local SEO! Below you can find our tips to optimize for local search:
Become locally findable with Google My Business
One way to improve your local visibility is with Google My Business. With Google My Business, you can create your own company profile, so you get even more visible when people are searching for your company or those similar to you nearby. Besides that, this search result is shown to the right of the search results (on mobile in between the search results), so people get to see this result immediately. When you benefit from these, you need to verify your business in Google My Business now. After verifying and adding important company information, you have to take a look at the other features Google offers with this:
Reviews are vital for every organization because they make a company a lot more trustworthy. Google has seen the value of reviews too and shows these prominently in the Google My Business-card. Everyone can give a Google review, but what’s more important is how you make your company more visible with this.
Quantity is very powerful, and you want to have as many reviews as you can collect. Let your employees or clients write something about you, and make this process even easier by showing a shortened link to your Google review page. Or even better: let people give you a Google review with just one tap or scan using QR or NFC. These scanning methods are beginning to take their place in the online world, and can be used for pretty much anything. Want to know more about QR and NFC? Read about it in our blog.
Besides many reviews, it’s essential to use keywords. You can use these keywords not only in your Google My Business profile but in your replies to reviews too. You can also ask your employees to use keywords in their reviews so that you can get even more visibility!
Google Post is another feature, one you might have seen in other company profiles. With Google Post, you can show your audience a short message highlighting a specific article, event, or offer. This way, people can convert even faster! Just keep in mind that Google only shows these posts for a week, so you have to decide what creates the most conversions.
Want to know more about Google My Business and its features? Download our mobile report and get even more tips & tricks!
Besides creating a company profile in Google (or Bing or Apple Maps), you can also optimize your website to improve your local ranking:
Because most local searches are done via mobile, mobile speed is vital for your local search ranking. 53% of all visitors leave a website when loading takes longer than three seconds2. That’s why you have to make sure your site loads fast when people visit your company online.
With the MODX CMS, you can almost always be 100% sure you have a fast loading website. This is because it is a smart CMS with little code, but also because of our image optimizations and lazy load. Want to know how fast your website is? Go to: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ or https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/testmysite.
When your site does load fast, you want to make sure users can actually use it on their phones. Mobile-friendliness is crucial to get a good position in Google search results. If you want to check out if your website functions well on mobile, you might want to take a look in Google Search Console or visit: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly
Social local with social media
Although social media has little impact on your local ranking in search engines, it still knows the value of local. Facebook, for example, offers companies the opportunity to promote their business locally and even notifies you when more people are close to your company when events are organized in that place. That’s the perfect time to show ads to those people that are near your company, showing them how to get to your company and what they can find there.
Even though social media like Facebook do offer better options for you to promote your business locally, it still doesn’t affect your local search ranking. That’s why, for now, you should use social media just for brand awareness and engagement.
Recruit the best employees with local SEO
Do you want to stand out for applicants in your area? You don’t have to use these local SEO tips just for sales, and you can use it for recruiting too. Show vacancies in Google Posts, let your employees write a positive review about working at your company, and let searchers go to a mobile-friendly recruitment environment.
How to optimize for local search?
When you want to improve your local findability, you have to follow these tips:
- Show your company’s location and contact details on your website and socials;
- Verify your website in Google My Business and get started with Google Reviews and Google Posts;
- Optimize your website for mobile;
- Use social media (although this doesn’t affect your local search ranking (yet)).