Do you have a business with a physical location (made of brick and mortar)? If so, have you optimized your website for local search? If the answer is “no”, you miss a great opportunity to expose your business to more people in your area.
As with everything about Google, the local search algorithm is constantly subject to revision. However, there are constant ranking factors that persist throughout the algorithm changes. Using this local SEO checklist will position your company to outperform your competitors and position you at the top of the search results.
Local SEO is the practice of improving search engine visibility for companies with a physical location. When Google determines that you are looking for a local service or product, the traditional algorithm is disabled.
Traditionally, measures like a site’s backlinks and domain authority are a good predictor of how Google will rank sites in search results. Well optimized and higher authority websites will often get higher positions. For example, if I search for “advice to change a tire”, Google will try to offer relevant results (search by keywords) and trustworthy (authority / decent link profile).
However, if I’m looking for “tire changer”, now Google assumes I’m looking for a service, not a tip. This reorients the search results based on local SEO optimization. Follow this local SEO checklist to make sure your website covers all ranking factors.
The local pack is this set of three results that appear in the local search. Here is an example : In part, Google Local Pack results are based on proximity, where your computer tells Google where you are. Google wants to prioritize the best results that are also the easiest to access for you.
The rest of Google’s local ranking is based on a mix of page optimization, coding and comments. If you have a business with a physical location, made of brick and mortar, there are ten elements that go into local search engine optimization. Add them to your checklist to make sure your site is ready to position itself. Let’s find out what are the 10 factors to improve your local SEO:
Google is a robot, and this robot needs to be told some things very clearly. Every homepage should have an H1 title and content that very clearly describes who you are and what you do.
Some say “chocolate bread”, others “chocolate”. Use the words used by your local audience. For example, Google Keyword Planner allows you to filter the search by keywords based on location Unless you spend money on paid ads, Google will not give you the exact number of people looking for these terms, but you can at least compile a list of words that are actually used by people. Even with the approximate numbers provided by the Keyword Planner, you can compare the relative popularity of the keywords.
Do not forget to be precise and relevant. If you run a retirement home, people looking for a “retirement home” are much more likely to be interested in your service than people looking for a “retirement”. Once you have compiled a list, use these relevant keywords in your site content, meta content, headers, and URLs.
Mention neighborhoods and local landmarks. If your restaurant in downtown Montpellier serves lunch, terms like “Place de la Comédie lunch”, “best restaurant Place de la Comédie” or “quality restaurant in Montpellier” help search engines to create a context of localization around your business and better deliver these results.
Building content around local terms can also benefit local search engine optimization. The results of the local pack are limited by the city / physical address of your company. If you have a moving company that serves multiple cities or neighborhoods from a single location, create localized content that addresses these areas. A recruitment agency in Grenoble could create blog posts like:
Just say no to the “products and services” page. Every page of your website should have a clearly defined subject. When you group all your products or services on a single page, it becomes difficult for a search engine to cite you as an expert in any field, which decreases the ranking potential.
Look at this example. This agency needs a page for content strategy (ideally titled Content Marketing Strategy Agency), a page for SEO (titled Natural SEO Agency), and so on. Google will never direct a user to the page that is currently being used as an oven, but will be more likely to direct someone looking for a “Content Strategy Agency” to a fully dedicated page that matches that request.
Create a separate webpage for each product or service as part of a site structure optimized for SEO. If you are a purely local company, optimize each page using the localization language (for example, titling your “Lawn Care” page with “Lawn Maintenance in Lyon”.
Structured data is an addition to the code of a page that gives search engines more information to facilitate understanding of the page. In the case of a local scheme, you provide search engines with the name, address, telephone number, email, services, hours of operation and any other information that will help you correctly display your business. .
Do you have a schematic on your site now? Run your homepage through Google’s structured data test tool to find out. You should see something in the right column.
When adding a schema, add the “product” or “service” schema to each product or service page on your site. This will indicate a search engine where you are and what you are doing.
What is NAP?
NAP stands for “name, address and phone number”, which is “name, address and phone number”. This information is an important element of local SEO and should be included on every page of your website. This could be in a shared element such as the header or the footer.
If you have multiple locations, create a page for each location that contains the respective NAP for that location. Enter your full address to the postal code. If you are in a big city, you may want to specify the neighborhood in which you are (for example, for Paris: Bastille, Batignolles, The chapel, Gare du Nord, Le Marais …) and a Google map.
Many sources of information feed the understanding and display of your business in a search engine. On Google, users will see this info graphic when they select your location on a map or in the local pack. It is a place where customers can write reviews of your business. For many customers, this will be their first introduction to your business, so make it a good one.
One of the main sources of data for this info graphic is Google My Business. You must add a Google My Business page or claim the existing page (also, claim your Bing Places for Business page while you are there).
Once you have claimed the page, you can ensure that the NAP, website information, business categories and hours of operation are correct. You can also add photos of your building, products, logo and staff. In addition, you can choose up to three categories for your business. Google offers nearly 2,400 different business categories, so take the opportunity to accurately describe the niches in which your business is registered.
If you have a multi-location business (whether it’s McDonald’s with 1285 locations in France or a local sandwich shop with three locations), you need to create an optimized page in your website for each location.
The page for each location must include the location NAP and the local business schema. In addition, you must create a unique Google My Business page for each placement.
There is a series of local directories that search engines refer to to determine the ranking of local searches. To make sure your Google address is correct, check your registration information in all directories to ensure NAP consistency.
Google wants to provide the best possible answer to your query. This means that they do not want you to feel that they have led you to the wrong place. That’s why Google makes comments a factor in local rankings.
Do a search for almost all local businesses and you will see comments from them on the front page. Even if you can not position yourself on the first page for a local search, another site with a dedicated page probably does. Make sure it has the correct NAP information for your business, and pay attention to comments, thank people for kind comments, and try to respond in a helpful way to any negative feedback.
Google My Business comments are also very important. They are displayed in the local pack, which can help you improve your click through rate from search results. Google also saves and posts Facebook comments, so make sure you have a brand page. Collecting feedback must be an integral part of your work process. Whenever possible, ask gently or remind your clients to review your business.
After having my car repaired, my mechanic gives me a voucher to empty and asks me to take a few minutes to write a comment about his company. If your customers love your business, they want you to succeed; let them know that good reviews are the best way to help.
Although the standard ranking algorithm is disrupted for local search, links are still important. Taking the time to create links can be difficult for small businesses.
Links are the best measure designed to demonstrate authority. A search engine considers links from other websites to your site as a “quality vote” for your site. It is always in your interest to create links where you can.
There are many strategies for building links to your site. You could start with local relationships.
Think about the other companies you work with, organizations like your chamber of commerce, and the charities your organization supports. These are great places to ask for a link when you think of bigger strategies.
When local SEO is involved, the odds are moving away from huge websites and towards well-optimized local websites. When you have these elements in place, your company will be well positioned to beat big and small competitors and bring users to your site: