Local search is increasingly becoming a major tool in the arsenal of the small, local, brick and mortar business. As the digital space increasingly becomes contextual, it pays to keep your business ahead by being able to signal, literally, “here we are”, as in this is where the business is located. As mobile search rises, as a corollary so have searches for what is nearby, and that’s you and your business. There are a few key ways to go about doing this in both “on page” and “off page” fashion.
Before I get more into Local SEO, let’s step back for a second and remember some basics of regular SEO, which is still the foundation to good Local SEO:
– Focus on a quality content rich, usable site that people want to use.
– In 2016, your website needs to be Responsive or Adaptive designed for mobile, tablet and smartphone.
– Watch that duplicate content!
– Blog, and blog quality over quantity.
– Alt Tags and Title Tags. Make sure to markup what those images are of and what your content is about.
Getting back to local search, the next step is all things getting a search engine to recognize you.
Where are you?
Get your address, phone number, and all relevant contact information, in text, on all pages of your website. Ideally that would be in a footer, and then again on an about us page.
Something unfortunate is that a lot of people optimizing their site for search neglect to implement Bing into the strategy. (Learn more about Bing Network here). That means that’s a market share you’d otherwise be loosing. Combined with Bing’s syndication partners such as Yahoo, AOL, WSJ, adMarketplace amongst others, are able to reach 1 in 3 PC searches in the U.S. That’s 170 million searchers in the U.S., 56 million which are exclusive to Bing network. And these searchers spend 22% more than the average internet searcher. A full 25% of clicks on Bing Network are queries only searched on Bing. That’s exclusivity that can’t be beat.
So for local search, this means getting on Bing places, which is a controllable directory you can create for free, for any business with a physical address. Why do this? Essentially, if you run a bike shop in Kalamazoo Michigan, your business is going to take precedence for all the local people searching for “bike repair” that you won’t otherwise get unless you have properly marked up your site for local search, and submitted to Places.
Markup for Local
Learn about Geo Meta Tags and implement them as well. Here are some basics to get you started, using Palm Beach Florida as an example.
<meta name=”zipcode” content=”33409″>
<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Palm Beach, Florida 33409 (FL)”>
<meta name=”geo.region” content=”US-FL”>
<meta name=”geo.position” content=”43.251306;-77.613646″ />
Lastly, the space evolves fast, so make sure to stay abreast of trends in how search is changing. You could go to Bing and search for advice, with the parameter “in the last month” as a good way to see what is current. Do the same for your business so you can stay on top of reviews, which are your biggest off page local seo factor. The better your customer experience, the better and more frequent your online reviews, and the higher up in the ranking you will go and around you go!