How Close Can You Get? The Importance of Local Search Engine Optimization

In the never-ending arms race to be No. 1 on the search engine results page (SERP), many organizations overlook one of the most fundamental: including local SEO in their overall SEO strategy.

It’s common sense for local mom-and-pops to include the business address and phone number on the website — how else are you going to get there for that bowl of ramen or a haircut? — but it’s vital for businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries to include it.

Your contact information indicates that you are indeed who you say you are, and it is an important factor in your website’s search ranking. It also helps ensure that spur-of-the-moment mobile searches (“dentist near me”) include your company in the results.

Local SEO isn’t just good for customers; it’s also good for prospective hires, vendors and clients because it helps them find you quickly and easily. This becomes even more important if you have multiple locations throughout a city or offices scattered across the country.

5 Ways to Incorporate Local SEO Into Your Website

  1. Verify your listings with the search engines and online directories. Don’t forget to include review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and others that pertain to your industry. Make sure your name, address and contact information is exactly the same on every site. If it isn’t, Google might penalize your site.
  2. Add a photo of your business to your listings. A well-shot photo aids in SEO efforts (don’t forget the alt-tags) and will help visitors recognize your business instantly.
  3. Add local content to your site and social media posts. This shows search engines that you’re a vibrant local business that engages with its customers and community. Don’t try to game the engines with posts like, “How to Change a Tire in New Orleans” — just tacking a location onto a generic topic. Make the content relevant. Images of new office openings, promotions and other events are just some of the topics you might want to consider. Google loves local businesses.
  4. Ask customers and employees to help by providing photos and reviews of your company on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Yelp. This can help start conversations and broaden your brand awareness. Just make sure you’re regularly checking those sites and responding accordingly.
  5. Include your website URL in all your listings. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how often businesses neglect to do this. Not only is it good for the web surfer, but it also counts as a backlink, one more factor that affects search rankings.

With just a little effort and consistency, you’re bound to see your efforts pay off.