1. Create a Contact Page: If you have a local brand, you must have a dedicated contact page, as people now want detailed information about your brand, including your contact details. On your contact page, you should display:
- Your name
- Your business’s full address
Your name phone and address details together are also commonly referred to as NAP data, though your email isn’t. We will explain NAP data and why it’s so crucial to local search in more detail shortly. Make sure your website contact details are clearly displayed, current, and accurate, so people can get in touch with you without any issues.
2. Make your phone numbers clickable: As over 30% of all local searches are done via mobiles, it’s important to be as accessible as possible to searchers who want to connect with your brand. An easy way of doing this is to make your phone numbers clickable for mobile versions of your website. This saves people having to take the extra step of copying your number and switching apps when they want to call you. The searcher will then get an automatic prompt when they click on the link, that will ask them if they’d like to place a call.
Make sure you make your phone numbers clickable via text links and not graphics as Google needs to be able to crawl the data. You also should display your phone number at the head of every page of your website, as mobile devices are now the primary means by which users conduct local searches.
3. Add a location Map to your site: As 86% of local searches look up a business’s location using Google Maps, it makes sense to add a map with your location to your website. That way, people can immediately see where you are located, without having to leave your site to look you up.
Embedding a Google Map on your About or Contact Page gives you a two for one, as you can show your website visitors where to find you AND let Google knows where you are located, which will help with your local search score. To embed your Google Map, just search for your business location on Google Maps, then click on the dropdown menu at the top corner of the screen and select embed. You’ll get an embed code which you can copy and paste into your site’s html to display your location on your website.
4. Incorporate Schema: Schema.org was created to provide a common language between websites and search engines like Google and Bing. It helps search engines understand what your website is about, so they can rank its relevancy when returning results for local search. If you add the most relevant Schema mark-up for your local business, to your website, you’ll be letting google know you are a local business and not a big global brand. Including Schema markers can help you confirm the nature of your business as well as its location to Google, and this may give a slight boost to your position in local search.
To add Schema to your website quickly, you can make use of the many free online Schema tools that take the information you enter and generate html code. You can then copy and paste this code to the html <head> section of your website. Google’s Structured Data Helper and Data Highlighter, will let you easily add in Schema mark up data to your website, or you can use the free JSON generator offered by the Schema App.
Once you’ve added in your Schema information, you can also use Google’s Data Helper tool to test how it displays. Google’s Add structured data tool helps you add any type of structured data to a html website. The structured data you generate using the tool will be eligible to appear as a graphical search result, which can help you reach many more people. If you have a local restaurant or are a local food producer for example, you could use the Add Structured Data Tool to turn your recipes or meal ideas into rich results. Don’t forget to test your data in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool after you enter it, to check there are no errors.
5. Keywords: Make sure your location keyword appears high up on every page, ideally in your headline. Optimise your homepage’s title tag, ensuring it includes your location and 2 or 3 high performing keywords that are niche relevant. Don’t forget your metadata, as this helps you boost your clickthrough rate. Never overstuff your meta description with keywords though, instead make it catchy and short, and include one mention of your location.
When you sit down to write your meta description, imagine you’re giving an elevator pitch to someone, to convince them to visit your website or give your company a try. You can check out Google Ads in your local niche to get good examples of short persuasive copy that will work, including keywords. If you decide to use one, don’t copy word for word, instead rewrite them so they are totally unique.
6. Ensure your website is mobile optimised: Did you know 9 out of 10 smartphone users perform local searches while they are out and about? If you have a local business, it’s important to make sure your website displays and navigates well on mobile devices, as many people will look up your information while they are on the move. If you’re building your website yourself, free tools like WordPress or Wix make it easy to get a sleek looking mobile optimised website, though you still need to check how your chosen template performs on smartphones and tablets. If someone else is building your website, let them know that it’s critical your site functions well on mobile devices, as if it doesn’t, people will lose patience fast, and you’ll lose custom.
7. Check for errors: As with any SEO strategy, to score highly with Local SEO, you need to make sure your website is online and error free. Consider improving your internal linking structure to make it easy for people to navigate to what they need and check your website and pages to make sure they’re online and don’t have any bugs. You can use free tools like Screaming Frog to check your website’s images, links, scripts, and apps, to see if you have any missing H1 or meta tags, or 404 errors.
8. NAP – (Name Address, Phone Number) Citations: NAP, or Name, Address, Phone Number citations are places on the web where three pieces of information about your business appear:
- Your Business Name
- Your Business Address
- Your Business Phone Number
Google crawls these NAP mentions when it gauges your local search ranking, and they are hugely important to your local SEO ranking factor. To score highly with this factor, you must make sure your NAP info appears on as many reputable websites as possible and is accurate for every site it appears on. NAP citations are so important to Google that mismatched NAP data contributes to 41% of all ranking issues! Only real, physical location data counts, when it comes to Google’s assessment of NAP, not PO Boxes, or virtual offices.
Make sure your NAP data is displaying on all the important local business sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. You can do this by claiming a profile there and filling out your information, so your NAP data will be accessible to Google when it crawls the relevant sections of the site. Don’t just stop there though, get your NAP data listed on as many high authority places as you can. The more places it appears, the more authority Google will assign to your business, and the better your local search ranking will be. Google checks all your NAP mentions them to assess your brand’s location and to make sure your business information is accurate. If Google sees a lot of correct NAP citations for your brand, they will give your business more priority in search, as you will appear to be who and where you say you are.
9. The easy way to review your NAP citations: Tools like Loganix help you find out where your NAP data appears online, making it easier to see how many citations you have, and where your information is listed correctly. If you’ve not done this before but have had a business for a while, you’ll likely find you have a lot of incorrect listings. Identify all the places where you have outdated or incorrect NAP data, and make sure you update each one if you can. You’ll be able to change your own NAP information easily on sites like Yelp, but if you’ve been mentioned on a local community page by someone else, you’ll have to contact the owner of the page and ask them to update your info.
Tools like Yext make updating your NAP data a whole lot simply, by automating the process, so you don’t have to manually re-enter your NAP information on every single site. As Yext is integrated with hundreds of sites, you can enter your NAP data once and let Yext update it on all sites it appears on.
9. Get more local citations and links: To build up NAP citations on relevant local sites, use Ahrefs Link Intersect tool to enter the URLs of several local brands and generate a report which shows you what sites are linking to them. You don’t have to search brands in your niche, any local brands will work, as all you are trying to do is find sites that reach out to your community. Look through these results to find websites with citation opportunities, where you can display your NAP data.
Typical sites include local community pages, the Chamber of Commerce where many local businesses are listed, and local news or reviews sites. Other sites could be suppliers or producers, local figures, or bloggers. Some of these sites might also let you feature your link too. Once you have drawn up a list of sites where you can feature your NAP, follow up by reaching out and asking if they’d consider listing your business’s NAP data.
Never post your NAP data as an image, including on your own website. Though it might look attractive, search engines won’t be able to crawl it and you’ll miss an opportunity to rank. When you include your NAP data on your site, make sure it’s on the header or footer of every page too.