Optimizing for local search queries is a must. When you don’t prioritize local search, you’re leaving revenue on the table. Consider these statistics:
- 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results
- 88% of people searching for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours
Local search is how your customers find you — but if you’re not on the first page of the SERP, you’re out of luck. And since local search queries correlate with higher purchase intent, this audience is a costly one to miss out on.
That’s why investing in a strong local SEO strategy is key. For the uninitiated, local search engine optimization is a subset of SEO that’s focused on winning local searches. Local searches are characterized by the inclusion of “near me” terms or the name of a city, zip code, or street.
Discover 10 local search tips that will help you supercharge your rankings and capture untapped revenue potential.
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Listings
When you run a local search, Google My Business listings are often among the top results. These listings provide a quick overview of your business on the SERP, including its address, hours of operation, Google rating, and a click to call button. Clicking into the individual listings provides additional information like reviews, photos, directions, and a link to your company website.
To ensure your Google My Business listing ranks well in local searches, you need to include information that is accurate, complete, and helpful. First, make sure your addresses, hours of operation, and phone number are up-to-date. In addition, including appealing photos on your profile can help you tell the story of your business and increase engagement. Finally, you’ll need to have a strong review management strategy in place (more on this next) — your star rating and quantity of reviews are key ranking factors for your Google My Business page. You can learn more about how to improve your Google My Business ranking on this Google FAQs page.
One of the most common next actions after engaging with a Google My Business Listing is to call. 24% of people who click a Google My Business Listing call directly from the listing. And, during the COVID-19 outbreak, calls from Google My Business doubled.
To capitalize on this trend, marketers are placing call tracking phone numbers in their Google My Business listings. With a call tracking solution, you can see the quantity and quality of calls driven by your GMB listings. With these insights, you can report your full SEO performance and make optimizations to your GMB pages to drive higher quality phone calls.
Don’t worry: adding DNI (Dynamic Number Insertion) trackable phone numbers to your website and listings doesn’t interfere with Google’s NAP.
2. Employ a Strong Review Management Strategy
As mentioned above, reviews are one of the most important ranking factors for Google My Business. They’re also important ranking factors for other local listing sites your business may appear on, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Zocdoc, and more. And, beyond rankings, they also heavily influence if local searchers will engage with your listing and ultimately become customers.
Below are some quick tips you can use to manage your reviews:
- Educate customers on how to leave a review
- Provide incentives for customers to leave reviews
- Showcase good reviews on your website (with the reviewer’s permission)
- Continually monitor your reviews
- Respond to every review promptly and honestly
- Provide outstanding service that gives customers a reason to review you
3. Ensure Your NAP Is Consistent Across Your Website and Web Listings
NAP or Name, Address, and Phone Number, is a critical ranking factor for local search results. To ensure you’re a legitimate business, Google will cross-reference your company name, the addresses of your various locations, and the phone numbers of those locations across your website and across other web listings.
To help with NAP consistency on your website, consider adding your company name, the addresses of your locations, and the phone numbers of your locations to your pages as schema markups. Schema, also known as structured data, is the language of search engines — it is easier for crawlers to identify the data in this format. You can add schema markups to your site as HTML code or plugins.
To help with NAP consistency across the web, some marketers are using listings management tools like Yext. After you put your location information in one centralized interface, listings management tools automatically update the information across hundreds of web listings.
4. Add Schema Markups to Your Website
As mentioned above, adding schema, the language of search engines, to your website code can help crawlers more easily identify important information like your business’s name, address, and locations. But you can also use schema to populate more information about your business on the SERP.
For example, you can add schema markups that display your reviews right under your meta description.
You can also add schema markups that list FAQs and link to pages that can answer them. This gives you more SERP real estate — and helps you clear up any common pre-purchase questions searchers have.
In addition, schema markups can help you acquire rich snippets. Rich snippets differ from featured snippets, in that they contain deeper information than just text. For instance, they may contain reviews, prices, dates, images, social profiles, and more.
When you take the time to add schema markup to your site, your SERP presence is more competitive and you can improve your CTR. Schema markups can also improve your local search rankings, as search engines can more easily crawl your site and understand why you should be ranked highly. See the complete list of schema markups you can include on your website here.
5. Create Location-Specific Pages
As mentioned above, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. If you’re not creating local content on your website, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to appear in these search results.
A best practice is to create location pages for each town, country, and region that you serve. When someone searches “Renters Insurance Chicago,” you’ll have a much easier time showing up in the results if you have a page for this location that mentions Chicago in key areas like the title tags, meta description, H1s, body copy, URLs, and image alt tags.
Of course, you shouldn’t create identical location pages with the location name switched out — Google will recognize this as duplicate content and it will harm your rankings. Instead, you should take the time to provide real, valuable information specific to each location. This includes location-specific testimonials, case studies, and FAQs. For example, if you’re selling renters insurance, you could include content around Chicago-specific tenant laws.
6. Employ a Local Link Building Strategy
Link building is the practice of acquiring new links to your site from external domains. When you receive backlinks from sites with high domain authority, your site will be seen as more authoritative to Google. Increasing your domain authority helps your rankings increase.
When you’re working on a local link building strategy, consider how you can get backlinks from reputable local sources, like local business directories, local news publications, local blogs, and local charities or fundraisers that you sponsor.
7. Improve Your Mobile Site Speed
Mobile site speed is an important ranking factor for all search engine queries. But for local SEO, the stakes for mobile optimization are particularly high. Local mobile searchers have high purchasing intent. If you recall, 88% of people who search for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. Making sure your site loads quickly on mobile is the difference between securing their business or giving them a poor site experience and losing them to your competitors.
Below are some tips to increase your mobile site speed:
- Test your site using Google’s mobile-friendly tool
- Redesign your pop-ups for mobile devices
- Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
- Implement caching
- Compress your images to improve loading time
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Reduce server response time
- Leverage browser caching
- Enable gzip compression
- Reduce the number of redirects you use
- Eliminate 404 errors and bad requests
- Reduce DNS lookups
- Reduce the number of plugins you use
- Monitor your site speed over time and make adjustments
8. Track the Call Conversions Your Local SEO Strategy Is Driving
While most marketers use tools like Google Analytics to measure the online conversions SEO is driving, many overlook a critical part of the local search consumer journey — inbound phone calls.
Call tracking ties phone leads and sales back to the webpages that drove them. This allows you to report all the conversions your best SEO pages are driving — both online and over the phone. You can also use these metrics to optimize your pages to drive more high-quality sales calls to your locations.
9. Optimize Location Performance to Increase SEO Call Conversions
While you may be driving high-quality phone leads from your Google My Business Listings and organic traffic, this means nothing if your locations aren’t converting them to customers.
Invoca uses AI to analyze phone conversations and track agent and location performance. With these conversation intelligence insights, you can see which agents and locations are underperforming and failing to convert the leads you’re driving from SEO. You can then drill into the conversations to understand the issue and use the transcripts as coaching tools to increase conversions on calls driven by your SEO efforts.
10. Test, Measure, and Optimize Your Results
Local SEO is not a “set it and forget it” process. You’ll need to continually add new elements to your website and test how they perform. You should also constantly monitor the site traffic you’re driving from local SEO and make optimizations to increase it.
In addition, it’s important to track how much of your local SEO traffic converts to revenue — because what do all those visitors matter if they aren’t turning into revenue? If this is a pain point for your business, the next step is to develop and implement a strong conversion rate optimization strategy to capitalize on your uptick in site traffic.