If businesses want to stay relevant across search engines and the marketplace, a local SEO game plan is an essential component to an overall digital marketing strategy. Having a sound local SEO strategy means optimizing everywhere your business appears online so search engines can provide relevant search results to consumers based on their locations. This requires a combination of optimized content on your website, as well as up-to-date facts about your business across business directories. Why is this important? Because as a local business, you want potential customers to be able to find you whether they're looking directly for you or your products or services.
The importance of local search and search engine optimization have increased tremendously due to the rise of mobile. Consumers are searching more than ever, and from more places than ever before. According to Google, 'near me' searches nearly doubled in 2015 alone and mobile searches are growing at 146% year over year. There's no denying it; users are turning to their smartphones to find local businesses, meaning that it's more important than ever for your business to show up in the local search results.
The removal of ads from Google's right rail also has significant implications for businesses when it comes to local SEO strategies. Google's new search layout pushes organic search results well below the visible page fold, leaving only the ad blocks and the local pack visible to the user.
On top of this, organic search listings receive more than 90% of clicks, with users favoring local search results. In order to maintain relevancy in local search, businesses need to focus on appearing in local pack results, which means having a targeted and well-thought through local SEO strategy is key.
What can you do to optimize your business for local search and ensure you have the best local SEO possible and rank high on search engines?
Ensure Your NAP Data is Consistent and Up-To-Date
A consistent NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number) across your site and your key citation profiles is critical for your local SEO strategy. By combining Yext's Listings and Pages, your NAP is never out of sync across the web – from your own website to 100+ key citation sources, maps, apps, directories, search engines, and social media networks.
Add Local Content to Your Location Pages and Your Listings
Search engines like regularly updated pages, however, most local businesses never update these pages. Businesses that regularly add content to their location pages are more likely to rank for local queries than those that don't. Whether it's events, product lists, menus, offers, etc. Yext Pages provides the ability to instantly update this content on both your local listings and your site's location pages, and are built using local SEO best practices. On top of this, utilizing best practices through Schema markup and structured data can also help your local pages rank highly. Check out our whitepapers for tips.
Monitor Your Online Reputation and Share First-Party Reviews To Your Location Pages
Customers are moving from private communication with businesses to public communication on social media, review sites, and discussion boards. Yext's Review Monitoring feature allows you to track what is being said about your business in real-time, as well as to generate authentic, first-party reviews from your customers and add them to the location pages on your website.
Include Backlinks From Top Local Search Sites & Directories
Search engines determine rankings based on how many other webpages link back to a certain site, and whether the information on that site appears consistently in other places online. Links from your location profiles on local search sites to location pages on your site are good for local SEO and good for driving potential customers to local content on your site.
Add Rich Content To Your Listings
Go beyond the traditional NAP by adding enhanced content. Rich listings with images, descriptions, contact information, and directions are far more effective in getting your business information to appear at the top of the local search results. Rich content also provides consumers the information that they need more quickly and makes them more likely to convert. Yext conducted a study of 31,000 locations to illustrate the relationship between rich listings and consumer engagement and found that businesses who include rich information received 416% more listing views.
When powered by the same platform and linked with each other, listings and local pages accomplish both pieces – the perfect formula for local SEO.
Yext partners with over 100 publishers, including Google, Bing, and Apple, to power business listing data for our clients. Learn more about the Yext Publisher Network.
Drive brand-level awareness and store foot traffic by creating and managing local pages for each of your locations. Built according to SEO and app SEO best practices, Yext Pages can help you do just that. Learn how you can use Yext Pages to turn your site visitors into store visitors.
Google's search layout also means it's more important than ever for your business to appear in the local pack. Check out our tips and learn where to focus your local SEO efforts to minimize the impact on your search ranking.