Today we are going to fill you in on the basics of a well-optimized site for local SEO.
Aside from our recommendations in our previous on-site and on-page optimization guide (which applies to your website for local SEO as well), this guide will include a few additional tips, which will help your website rank higher in the local search results. Let’s begin!
1. Set up your NAP (NAME / ADDRESS / PHONE)
The first thing that you absolutely have to include on your website and your local Google+ listing is your NAP. NAP stands for name, (full) address and phone number. The NAP should be crawlable and always in the same format (NAP consistency) – preferably in your footer or header. Do not create your NAP as an image or a video, as those cannot be crawled by most search engines.
If you are building citations, you should always use the same NAP format that is shown on your website and your Google+ listing. This is extremely important!
2. Include your City, State and Zip in your meta tags
Try to include your city, state and zip code in your meta tags, meta description and within the content of your website (as well as your h1-h3 headers – if possible).
3. Use Schema.org Markups
Schema.org is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond.
It is essentially a small HTML snippet that you include on your website. Search engines will then identify this markup and will subsequently return more detailed results for a potential client/visitor. Try to include both Local (http://schema.org/LocalBusiness) and Review (http://schema.org/Review) markups.
4. Set up and claim your Google+ listing.
Set up and verify your Google+ listing for your company. You can do it by going to this page and following the instructions there: http://google.com/places/.
Make sure to fill out as many informational fields as possible and try to include several images, videos and your company logo too (if you have one). Be very specific with the relevant categories for your business – the more accurately you categorize your business, the better you will rank in the local search results.
A properly structured and categorized Google+ listing will be much easier to rank in the local search results. Make sure that the NAP is in the same format as on your website – NAP consistency is important!
5. Set up a YELP Page
Not every customer is familiar with Google+ and as such it is a good idea to set up at least 1-2 more review pages for your local business. You want to be as accessible as possible. A very popular and common review site is Yelp.com (https://biz.yelp.com/login).
Set up a Yelp profile for your company and include the same NAP format as on your website and your Google+ listing. Fill out all of the informational fields as well. For best results, your profile needs to be as complete as possible.
It is also a good idea to include the well-known Yelp badge on your website. Not only will it allow your customers to easily reach your Yelp page, but it will also act as social proof, which is extremely beneficial to your conversion rates.
6. Encourage your customers to leave reviews (Google+ & Yelp)
Reviews are absolutely vital for a successful local business. Encourage your customers to leave a review on your Google+ listing and/or your Yelp page. The point of purchase is the perfect opportunity to ask for a review. Simply hand your customer a post-card/business card with specific instructions on how and where he can leave a review for your local business. However, be careful with incentivizing reviews, as Google+ and Yelp have very strict guidelines surrounding that. And whatever you do, do not post fake reviews. Yelp and Google+ are extremely adept at sniffing out businesses that try to game their system.
If you followed our previous on-site and on-page optimization guide as well as our tips for perfect local optimization, you should now have a fast, highly optimized website with all the right big brand signals: a beautiful theme, all the mandatory pages, vast amounts of engaging and well-optimized content and perfect performance ratings. Furthermore, your local signals will be well-structured and categorized, allowing for maximum exposure in the local SERPs.
Now that you have built a solid foundation for your local business site to grow on, the next logical step is to foray into link and citation building to get your newly created website ranked for your chosen keywords and open the flood gates of traffic and sales.
Search Engine Optimization Done Right