A lot of search engine optimization professionals have been thrown for a loop over the past few years by algorithm updates made at the big search engines. It used to be that if you were the top search result for a particular keyword, you’d reach everyone who searched for that keyword. This made search engine professionals and their clients very happy, but search engines aren’t in the business of making businesses happy, they’re in the business of making customers happy. Making customers happy means delivering more relevant search results. As a result, search engine optimization has changed. In the past two or three years, there’s been a much bigger push towards local search, because it tends to be higher relevance. If I’m looking for a pet groomer, I’m not looking for a pet groomer in Houston with a great SEO guy, I’m looking for someone local. In this article, we’ll show you how local search engine optimization can help your business dominate search engine results for the customers that really matter, the ones who walk by your store every day.
Letting Google know where you are
Search engines today use metadata schema in addition to your site’s content to build their understanding of your local business. Using appropriate metadata tagging around your address, published in plain text on your site, can help Google Local catalog your business. Use Schema.org’s Local Business markup in order to add relevant location information to your site’s footer. Any of the major search engine providers will take this hard-coded information into account when they decide what to call your business and where to place it in their own Local Maps platform.
Include your location in your site’s title and meta description
Half of search engine optimization is getting to the top of the listings, the other half is getting people to click on you once you’re there! If you’ve added the Schema.org standards to your address on your website, you’ll start showing up higher in search engine results for local searchers, but that won’t, on its own, encourage local searchers to click on your listing. Add the name of the city, state, or neighborhood from which most of your traffic comes to the title and meta description of your site and have that call-out show up to curious searchers.
Add geo-keywords to your keyword research
If you’ve already done keyword research to determine which industry-specific terms you should be targeting, and you’ve already written articles targeting those terms, you are already on your way to having a great search listing. For those readers out there who haven’t yet taken the plunge into search engine optimization, you can do your initial keyword research including geo-targeted keywords. For instance, if you’re running a HVAC repair business, you might want to rank for “air conditioner repair in Baltimore” rather than simply “air conditioner repair,” which is a much more competitive term.
Invest early to reap dividends
Search engine results have been trending toward local businesses, small or large, for several years. Since the Google index rearrangement “Caffeine,” which was the first time Google started including image, video, and local search listings in the search engine results page, Google has started putting more emphasis on local relevancy. Now, local search can be a major contributing factor to a brick and mortar store’s foot traffic. Work with an SEO professional to build a traffic generating engine that uses the Web to put traffic through your door now, because if you continue to wait, it will be your competitors who see the top rankings for your city’s most valuable search terms.
At Ballantine we specialize in search engine optimization. Call us at (973) 305-1500 to find out how we can drive traffic to your website and boost sales!