SEO for Google and Bing local places search results is more important than ever for local SMEs/small businesses. About a third of search engine queries typed into Google and Bing now have local intent. Eye-tracking studies also show people to spend more time looking and clicking on local search results, probably because local results have visually stimulating red icons and an accompanying map in Google (this is also why microdata is becoming so useful and will probably soon become even more so for SEO).
So how do you get your website to rank well in local search results? The answer, in the simplest terms possible, is to be thorough and consistent. By thorough, I mean saturating all the possible channels where you can get your website and business listed. That means don’t stop once your business is listed in Justdial in India or Yelp in the U.S.; continue onto the local yellow pages site and every single other high ranking directory you can find for your local area.
Consistency means making sure that your address, business name, URL and phone number are exactly the same across all channels. This includes local place listings, social media listings, paid search listings, and everywhere else. Inconsistencies confuse Google and can lead to duplicate listings, which split your search traffic and hurt your rankings. Make sure you not only claim all listings and enhance them, but also delete any duplicates that may have cropped up. You can use a tool like Yext to check for consistency.
Oftentimes your customers are looking for a local attraction near your business that can help push traffic to your business. Find a way to link the local attraction to your business’s local listing, and when potential consumers search for the attraction, they’ll find you too.
Encourage customers to give reviews online. This can dramatically increase conversion rates, as most customers check online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Strategies to do this include implementing QR codes for smart phone users, linking to review sites on your website, and creating a user generated content (UCG) section on your website.
Traditional SEO tactics like onsite optimization of alt, meta, header, and title tags also help local search rankings as well, so don’t neglect the fundamentals.
So that’s your primer on how to skyrocket to the top of Google and Bing local search results. It’s not comprehensive, but it does cover all the fundamentals. Don’t feel like taking the time to do all this yourself? Then take a look at Cosmos’s online marketing and SEO services packages, all of which include local search optimization.