Local SEO is the best strategy to get your closest target audience representatives. Moreover, every modern search engine optimization strategy begins with local tactics. Google gets loyal to businesses in internet that try to represent and advertise themselves among the local audience. The reason is that Google encourages the step-by-step development of an internet marketing strategy rather than ambitions of top position among all competitors within the worldwide search.
Local SEO is the strategy that has the greatest potential for small businesses with physical locations. The most prominent examples of successful local optimization strategies can be seen for restaurants, barber shops, local stores, SPA salons and other representatives of small business which often have their websites based on WordPress platform.
How to start your successful local SEO campaign and develop your WordPress website in accordance to it further – this is the main question we will try to answer within this article. The content will be divided into two parts: common local SEO basics and specific tips for the implementation of the strategy within your WordPress website.
Key Points of Local SEO Strategy
The first thing you need to understand about local SEO strategy is that it is targeted on the specific search results. Local search results are not the same as the common organic search results. The main advantage for small businesses is actually based on this peculiarity: you do not need to compete with the organic search monsters and get the chance to be seen by the targeted audience. Google has created local search results especially for small business representatives. The goal is to help them get their customers from the very start.
Nevertheless, even the local search results can appear as a very competitive environment. It is primarily dependent on the region you are located in and the amount of direct competitors within this region. So, where there is a competition, should exist strategies to take over your vis-a-vis. Let us describe the most efficient ones.
Should you primarily think about blogging, you are unfortunately wrong. Blogging and community stuff is a very powerful benefit for your local project but still not one you should start with and focus on. The main things Google wishes to see on your website to rank you on top of local search results are: clear and sufficient copy on what you offer to your potential customers, good optimized landing pages or categories (meta descriptions, titles and keywords firstly), and understandable location and contact information.
It means your content must cover all goods and services you offer within your physical location. The better you design and decorate content the higher your chances to be on top of local search results. Do not overwhelm your website with decoration, however. Try to keep balance and focus on description content there is a question between text and decoration.
Covering Your Local Names
The statement could sound obvious but it is a bit deeper than most beginners think. The prime idea is to use not only the local names your physical store or office uses within contact information but all surrounding area names which you want to serve. Think about landmarks which are located near you. Your potential customers can navigate themselves not only by means of streets but also by this landmarks and other well-known reference points.
You should not forget about unofficial nicknames of your local area too. Endonyms (self-names) of some streets, squares, buildings or landmarks could be used by people not only in everyday speech but also in search queries. As the local representative you should know this endonyms or learn about them as quickly as possible.
We have told a lot about the competition you should face but there is an opposite side of the deal in local business. Small businesses usually need to communicate and collaborate with each other to provide their customers with a complex service.
Do not lose a chance to create good connections with other local companies. When you analyze your business opportunities and services of your neighbors, it is highly probable that you can see great opportunities on creating a convenient chain-service for your customers. Reasonable competitors will never decline such an offer (and unreasonable will be automatically eliminated at this stage of your relations).
Most local searches are made by means of mobile devices: smartphones, tablets and other modern gadgets like smart watches. It means you must have the mobile optimized website to cover the most part of your potential customers. Sounds obvious but is surprisingly ignored by most of the beginners in the sphere of WordPress website development.
Fortunately, most modern WordPress themes are already optimized for mobile devices by default. This is the additional evidence of the great importance of mobile optimization.
Tools and Tactics for Successful Local SEO Implementation
Now, when you know the basics of local SEO, let us proceed to specific actions you need to take for the successful search engine optimization within the local segment.
Google My Business Page
Google provides local business owners with a unique tool called My Business Page. By means of this service you can edit all infos about your business in local search results. It opens up opportunities to show your address and contact information directly to user. Moreover, you get the chance to describe your business shortly and consistently and provide a potential customer with ratings and reviews on your place. Even more options are available after claiming the official ownership by Google.
Testimonials are your key tool for local search engine optimization. User reviews are the most important thing Google will prefer to show to all of your potential customers. It means you need to browse review projects like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Airbnb and similar ones. There is also an opportunity to set up automatic notification within Google tools to receive all mentions of your business in internet by provided keywords.
Social networks remain one of the main tools for users to live comments and testimonials for your business. Potential customers also look for an opportunity to get a fast contact with you by means of Facebook or other popular social network. Make sure you have official business representatives in all popular social networks and get ready to answer all requests from various sources operatively.
Local and Niche Directories
Every geographical area and every business sphere has at least a few directory websites. These projects aim to gather all local offers from small businesses at one place to create a convenient catalog for each interested user. Obviously, you do not want to miss the opportunity to be mentioned as many times as possible. The variety of directory projects can help you a lot in succeeding with this goal.
Sitemap is one of the most important tools in communication process with a search engine. This feature is crucial for both organic and local search results. You can use professional automated tools to check and verify your sitemap. One of the prominent examples of such tools is Schema.org. This tool helps you to explore your website`s sitemap and edit it for the demands of search engines. The alternative tool is Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.
Additional premium tool for local search engine optimization is Moz Local. The tool`s price varies from $99 to $249 per year. It provides a WordPress admin with a complete set of tools to analyze, optimize and develop your website in terms of modern local SEO demands. The price of the tool is not affordable for all beginners in the sphere of WordPress administration but it can serve as a great tool for your advanced steps in website development process.