You can't afford to ignore Local Search

The act of Googling has become such a natural part of our day (and our vocabulary), we often fail to acknowledge that there is a process. Users typically phrase their Google searches according to their stage in the research phase. Anyone who is just starting to explore his or her options might word the search so it is specific to a particular location. Those who specify a brand, however, clearly have previous knowledge and are performing additional research to find out if that brand is the right fit.

  • Keyword + location (example: seo agency st louis)

VS.

  • Keyword + brand name (example: evolve digital labs seo)

Local Search results screenshot

Ranking for branded terms is terrific (and expected), but that Google presence alone will not expose your website to the many searchers who are unfamiliar with your company. For this reason, we encourage you to pursue Local Search optimization efforts. By doing so, you will better convey to Google that your business is connected to a particular location (and thus deserves to rank in the Local arena). Additionally, practicing the tips below can increase your influence over potential customers, and that’s always a positive thing, right?

So how can you rank locally? With ease.

Add location-specific content to your site

Geo-targeting, as it is called, is a strategy that involves including location-specific terms to your website. A few ways to do this is to insert long-tail keywords into content, update title tags (especially the homepage) to include your location, and add an address to every page of your site. For more tips, visit our Geotargeting post.

Ask for reviews

As searchers, we have adapted to rely on reviews when making decisions online, and why wouldn’t we? Exposure to the feedback of real customers provides an invaluable indication of whether a particular restaurant or hair salon deserves new business. Search engines consider these Yelp, Google Local, or Urbanspoon signals when churning suggestions to searchers. So how does a brand bump up its number of reviews? Ask for them. A satisfied customer will want to share his or her experience, especially if you make it known that positive feedback is greatly appreciated.

Make social sharing simple

If your website pages and blog posts do not already have social sharing buttons, add that capability a especially +1s.

Claim your Google Plus and Google Plus Local pages.

In addition to verifying your association with your brand’s Google Plus page(s), you should make an effort to build them out with as much information as possible: add store hours, upload photos and video, choose categories, and share news. Doing so raises the value (from a content perspective) of your brand’s Google Plus page, and as a result, Google will probably be more willing to share your brand’s robust, useful page in search results.

Before you start optimizing for Local Search, try researching your services as a customer would in order to see what appears on the map. What you find may be a much-needed wake up call. The good news, as always, is that the above strategies work a as long as you are keeping the customer in mind while optimizing.