On-page Optimization For Local Websites
Optimizing your website for local search is a powerful way to drive traffic and expand your reach. Over 45% of Google searches are from people looking for local results, so you could be missing out on potential customers if your website isn’t optimized for local searches.
But how do you go about optimizing your website? The start point for local SEO is on-page optimization.
What is On-page Optimization?
On-page optimization is the practice of optimizing the specific elements of a website to increase visibility for targeted keywords. It involves realigning on-page elements like headings, meta tags, meta descriptions, titles, content, and internal linking to improve SERP.
On-page optimization for local websites focuses on increasing a site’s visibility to local users.
Steps to On-Page Optimization for Local Website
Here are the various steps you can take to optimize your site for local searches.
Why is Local SEO Important?
Local search engine optimization allows your business to reach out to local customers. A study found that 88% of people who search for local businesses on a mobile device end up calling or visiting the business within 24 hours.
Those business pages that appear at the top of your searches for ‘local businesses near you’ or similar search terms get more clicks than any other search results.
To rank up the top of Google local searches, you need proper on-page optimization.
Restructure Your Site’s URL
According to Google, the URL of a web page allows crawlers to understand what the page is all about. Your goal should be to make it explicitly clear that your business is targeting people from a specific city.
If you are targeting multiple cities you should create individual landing pages for each city. For instance, if you offer plumbing services in Atlanta, Chicago, and Boston, you have to create individual landing pages for each city. The URL of your landing pages may look like this;
This way you can target traffic from each city individually instead of generally.
Here are other tips to optimize your URL
- Include a keyword: the URL should contain the primary keyword you’re targeting to enable search engines to understand your page. For a plumbing website, your keyword can be plumbing and Atlanta.
- Use real words: if your URL is generic like this “yourplumbingwebsite.com/pwni28893,” you need to change it to words.
- Keep it short: your site’s URL should be short and précised so users can easily understand what the page entails.
Perform Local Keyword Research
Now you have an idea of the locations you want to target. The next question you need to answer is what people are searching for in the location. What search terms are people in Atlanta using to search for plumbing services on Google?
Without proper research, everything you do will be based on assumptions.
What you need is a keyword research tool. Google keyword planner provides insight on the keywords for multiple locations.
For instance, you can follow these steps to get plumbing services keywords ideas for Atlanta;
- Go to Google keywords planner.
- Click on “discover new keywords”.
- Change the location to Atlanta, Georgia.
- Then search for plumber or plumbing services to get an idea of the search term people use from that location and the estimated monthly traffic for each term.
There are also premium keyword generation tools that offer more accurate results like Ahref and Semrush.
Perform a Content Audit
While you need to create new content, don’t neglect your existing content. With your keywords in hand, you can optimize them to rank for different locations.
Auditing your content helps you know which one needs to be optimized. It also allows you to know the type of content that works for you.
Adding images to your web pages makes it more appealing. But it’s necessary to optimize your website’s images so they can add value to you SEO-wise. You can do that by adding alt tags and descriptive titles to your images.
It’s also essential to optimize your images for speed. This will ensure your site loads faster and provide a better user experience which will improve your bounce rate and ranking.
Create Local Content
Now you have the keywords for each location. At the end of the day ranking for those keywords comes down to creating relevant and informative content. So it’s time to start implementing the search terms into your content.
Continuing with the plumbing business example, the next step will be to integrate the keywords into the content for each location.
Since the business has three landing pages targeting each location; they’ll create content around each one of them using the keywords for each city.
For a plumbing website, the content goal should be to highlight the services they offer, why it’s needed, and to provide useful information to their users.
But overall, the content you create should satisfy search intent.
Google wants to show its users the most relevant search results that solve their problems.
There are four types of search intents: informational (those looking for information); navigational (people searching for specific pages); commercial (researching to buy something) and transactional (looking to buy something).
You need to find out what the people using a specific keyword want. One way to do that is to look at the top-ranking page for each keyword.
Once you identify the search intent, write your content around it and keep optimizing as you generate new keywords.
Optimize Your Title Tags, Meta Description and Header Tags
Both the title tag and meta-description play an important role in search engine ranking and getting people to click on your link. A meta description provides a concise summary of a web page.
Tips To Optimize Your Meta Description:
- Write a compelling meta description that will align with the search intent and is compelling to make users click on your link.
- Place your main keyword in your meta description.
- Limit the meta-description to 155 characters.
Tips to optimize your Title tags:
- Craft clear and compelling titles so searchers will click on your link.
- Your primary keyword should appear near the beginning of the title.
- Keep your title within 55 to 60 characters, so it doesn’t cut off in search results.
- Avoid all caps titles.
You’ll want to include the city you’re targeting in both the Title and Meta description.
Tips to optimize Headers Tags
- Make your headers interesting.
- Break down your pages with headers, with H1 introducing the topic/page.
- Use headers to break up large texts.
- Include keywords in your header tags.
Display Your NAP On Your Website
Make sure to include your name, address, and phone number (NAP) on your website. Place it on the header or footer of your website, preferably in Schema format.
These details will appear on search engines and make it easier for people to find you.
It’s also important to have consistent NAP for all your listings. Google scans for this information and uses it as a factor for ranking. A study by Wesley Young found that a consistent NAP can boost a site’s search engine ranking by up to 16 percent.
Don’t make the mistake of adding your NAP as an image, as images can’t be crawled like text.
Embed Google Map On Your Site
It’s a great idea to have Google maps on your website to enable searchers to easily find your address. To have your business on Google maps, you have to list it on Google My Business.
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool from Google that allows businesses and organizations to manage their online presence. It’s more like a listing directory with several benefits.
Claiming your business on GMB isn’t just vital for SEO, but also increases your credibility. According to Google, verified businesses are twice likely to be considered credible by consumers.
Not only does Google My business make it easier to find you, but it also displays reviews of your services. And we know how powerful reviews can be in proving your credibility. Customers who find businesses on Google My Business are 50 times more likely to buy.
Also when you verify your business, the search engine will potentially reward your business with a higher ranking.
Google my business also provides insight into your customers. The insight section provides a wealth of information to help you understand your customers and better serve them and improve your marketing strategy.
Listing on GMB also ensures you have your business address, contact details, and operating hours on search results.
How Do You Claim Your Business Of GMB?
- Go to https://www.google.com/business/. First, search for your brand name to see if your business is already listed. If you find your brand name on GMB, just click manage to skip the verification process; otherwise click “add your business to Google.”
- On the next screen, you’ll be required to input a business name. It’s advisable to go with a brandable name. It should be the same name that’s on your storefront and any other advert content.
- Next, choose the category your business fits into from the dropdown – from retail to restaurant, consulting, and others.
- The next step will be to input your physical address. Google allows you to input multiple addresses if you have more than one.
- Next, enter your office phone number and website to complete the process.
Once you’ve submitted your business information, Google will require that you verify your business. There are several ways you can do this including by phone, email, and postcard.
There’s also instant verification if your business uses the Google Search console.
How to optimize your Website’s GMB ranking
While the factors for ranking on Google my business are not known, here are some things you can do to improve your ranking.
- Update your profile regularly: your GMB profile should show your business name, address, website, phone number, business category, and hours of operation. Ensure to update your profile if any of these changes.
- Add High-Quality Images: GMB allows listing up to 11 photos of your business. This goes a long way in improving your reputation.
- Set up a Question and Answer Section: this allows you to answer likely questions customers have about your business.
Add Schema Markup to Your Website
Schema helps search engines understand your website and match it with local searchers. It’s a unique kind of metadata added to a website to tell the search engine algorithm what it’s all about and how to categorize it.
There are several ways to add schema to your site depending on the platform your site is built on. For WordPress, you can find a plugin to implement schema. Other CMS allows you to add it in the header of the page or in line with HTML.
Place the schema wherever you have a description of your business on your site. If your business operates in multiple locations, then you have to create multiple schemas for each city.
Add Reviews to Your Website
Reviews are a powerful marketing tool that can increase the chances of conversion. Adding reviews to your website has also been shown to improve your site ranking.
Google My Business reviews that included the searched keyword were the second most significant ranking factor for “Local Pack” according to a 2017 study. This means that the more reviews you have, the higher you’re likely to rank.
Adding reviews to your website provides more content for crawlers to assess in their ranking. This article provides a breakdown to add Google reviews to your site.
Make it Mobile Friendly
Over 60% of online searches now come from mobile devices. So it’s not surprising that Google considers mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, then you’ll have less traffic and fewer leads.
First, you should test to know whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.
Google has a tool that allows you to do that. Just enter your site’s URL and click “Test.” If your website doesn’t pass the test, you should consider redesigning it or if you’re using a premade theme, then consider using a simpler theme.
Local on-page SEO should be a vital aspect of the online strategy of any business to improve search engine ranking. Keep in mind that SEO isn’t a one-time thing, so you need to keep researching for keywords and creating relevant content to ensure you keep showing up in relevant searches.