Your Local SEO Checklist for 2016

March 6, 2016

local_search_marketing


Local search drives action. According to data from Google, 50% of mobile searchers, and 34% of people searching from a computer or tablet will visit a store within a day. With local searches playing such an important role in driving more business, it’s no wonder competition is fierce for those coveted spots at the top of search results.


While the steps for local SEO optimization aren’t difficult, it does take a mix of both on-page changes and online profile cultivation to get the best results.


Take control of local SEO for your site with these simple tips to maximize your chances to show up in local search results:


On-page Opportunities

Local SEO starts on your own website. The most basic data required is referred to as NAP (name, address, and phone number). At minimum, this information should be clearly located on your contact page. A better option is to include the NAP as part of your website’s footer. Other on-page opportunities for your site include:



  • Local keywords in title tags
  • Separate location pages for businesses with multiple storefronts
  • Map and driving directions on contact page(s)
  • Local keyword optimization on all service-based pages
  • Mobile CTAs that encourage in-store visits

NAP & Structured Data Markup

To increase the chances that your website’s location information is picked up properly by the search engines, Google recommends using structured data markup. Structured data is used to various applications identify and parse specific types of information. For example, an address schema might be used to identify your street address so that it shows up properly on Google Maps. A rating schema might be used to display stars for a particular product, and a blog post schema might be used to display an overview of your blog post (complete with image) in search results.


Once you’ve implemented structured data markup for the relevant web pages on your site, you can check to make sure they display properly by using Google’s structured data testing tool.


Places and Placements

Effective local SEO doesn’t stop with on-page optimizations. Various websites and platforms provide the means to further cement your local presence online.


Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business profile should be your first step in order to show up on Google Maps, which in turn gives you the opportunity to rank for local searches related to your business. Keep in mind that Google ranks your business for local search based on your physical address, not your mailing address. Therefore, if your business has multiple physical locations, you will need to optimize for each one.


While Google is a good start, it is by no means the only place online where you can establish a presence for your company. There are many options for local search including Manta, Yahoo Local and others – don’t discount the ability of niche local sites to bring in quality traffic to your business both online and in person.


Review & Renew Engagement

Business review sites such as Yelp serve multiple purposes. Having a presence on these sites often contributes to the information shown about your business in a local search. Items such as reviews, hours of operation, or other details may be pulled from your Yelp or Citysearch listings.


In addition, responding to reviews (negative reviews in particular) builds trust and can influence buying decisions even for people who do not visit your website directly.


Bringing it All Together

Local SEO doesn’t have to happen all at once. Starting with your own website, optimize your current content and put a framework in place to ensure any new content is also optimized for local search.


From there, find platforms to engage with customers locally. Having a Google My Business page is a good start, and provides a centralized way to update your business details across all Google properties.


Once your site is optimized on Google’s placements, consider completing a business profile on relevant review sites and credible citation listings. At minimum, you want your business to be featured in the same places as your competition.


To get started with optimizing your site for local search, download this quick Local SEO Cheat Sheet and optimize your website step-by-step.

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