A local website needs to be seen by local customers. Your audience is around the block not half way around the world. Your competition is next door and let me tell you – they are tough.
Local search is a “near me” search. “Pizza near me.” “Barber near me”. “Fabric store near me.” And Google knows that a searcher really means “Near Me”.
If you want your business to be the answer to a search – tell Google why.
What does Google look for?
Google looks for signals across the internet. Your website can’t do it alone.
Relevance – Don’t expect to rank for a search term that isn’t your business. A pizza parlor with dessert items on the menu isn’t going to rank on a search for a bakery.
Distance – Google knows where you are and where the searcher is! Focusing on your geographic location is going to make your optimization easier.
Prominence – Be the local expert in your field. Google says:
“Prominence refers to how well-known a business is … Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.”
Where do you start?
Be the expert in your field in your neighborhood and make sure Google knows about it.
- Write articles (or hire someone to write them).
- Drive traffic through your social media, newsletter or press releases.
- Keep your business citations clean and accurate. Name, address, phone, website should be the same for every reference to your business online.
- Ask for reviews and answer them.
- Get your community to help. Ask for links from organizations that you support or belong to. If they can link to your website with a good story, even better.
Then what? Do it again until the next Google update.