Optimizing your site for local search is important in order to be found online by a local audience. Ranking for “near me” searches will become more attainable after following the 6 steps explained below.
An increasingly important feature for local search is “near me” searches, such as “doctor’s office near me” or “coffee shop near me.” In fact, their popularity doubled in 2015 (link is external), and they are expected to occur even more frequently over time.
This article provides 6 steps that will improve local search results for your business.
1. Update Google Local Business Page Listing
Showing up as a Google Local Business is one way to improve your visibility in Google search.
If a user searches, “gym near me” in the area, a list of nearby locations will appear at the top of Google.
If you click on “Ladies Choice,” a pop-out box that includes information about business hours, phone numbers, and directions appears.
As the Ladies Choice Fitness example shows, a Google local business listing gives a searcher additional information about your business.
Getting started and/or updating your Google Local Business listing is easy.
First, go to https://www.google.com/business and click “Start Now.”
The button will take you to Google Maps and ask questions about your business, including its name, country, address, city, state, zip code, business phone number, and category.
Make sure you take the time to upload unique information. Use this checklist to avoid mistakes.
2. Make Customer Feedback Visible with Reviews
One of the most influential factors to impact near me search results are customer reviews.
Google makes it easy for customers to review a business (link is external). They simply have to open Google Maps, find your business, select “write a review,” and score it out of five stars.
Increasing the number of positive reviews users leave can have a dramatic and positive effect on local search. Google places greater weight on these reviews than on reviews from other sites, such as Yelp.
Responding to reviews is another way to improve your local search ranking. It shows that you value your customers and want them to have a good experience.
3. Display Business’ Name, Address & Phone Number
Clearly showing an accurate business name, address, and phone number is crucial when optimizing your site for local search.
Make sure you display your business name, address, and phone number(s) often throughout your website, preferably at the bottom of every page.
4. Optimize Photos for Location Based Searches
Pictures also seem to influence location-based searches.
If you’re trying to rank higher, the location should be one of your target keywords not only in the text you use on your website but also in the file names and tags of every photograph.
5. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly
With the rise of mobile searches (link is external) over the last five years and Google’s decision to focus on mobile and desktop searches separately, it’s no surprise that your site needs to be optimized for the mobile experience.
However, a recent survey shows that 26% of small businesses with websites do not have a mobile friendly version. This oversight is significant, especially since most of these “near me” searches are coming from a mobile device.
Complete the above task to maximize how often your customers see your business in local search results, complete the following tasks in Google My Business.