Why should I care about local search?
To put it simply, search engines automatically make local search results more prominent when they believe you are intending to search for a local business or a business within a specific geographic region. Many people use local search results everyday and don’t realize it! Mobile usage is also growing daily and over 40% of all mobile searches have local intent and show local search results.
What are local search results?
Local results are special results that include businesses in your geographic area. Search engines will display local and organic results simultaneously when local intent is identified. Most search engines still display 2-3 organic results above local results, so a top ranking in organic results is still great. However, if you aren’t “on the map”, then you are missing out.
My website is great, I should already have great local results!
Did you know a competitor can rank higher in local search results without a website? I have witnessed companies, with no website at all, with great reviews in sites such as Yelp and with countless online directory listings show up #1 in local search, ahead of companies that had fantastic websites. A company website can influence local search results in positive and negative ways, so make sure your website is following best practices by using tools such as Google’s Webmaster Tools.
What are the easy things I can do to improve my ranking?
Improving your ranking can be tricky, but there’s a few basic things you can do to make sure your business is in local results:
- Verify and claim your business listing in as many online directories and review sites as you can. Make sure the business name, address, and phone number are identical to what is used on your site. On major search engine listing sites, such as Google.com/mybusiness and bingplaces.com, make sure your profile is 100% complete including the use of pictures.
- Make sure your business address is listed in all of your social media profiles using the same previous format and link to your profiles from your website to ensure they are crawled by search engines.
- Consider using of all business listing and information services offered by major search engines, such as Google My Business, Google+, and Google Business View. The search engines like it when you use their services to offer your customers and potential customers an improved experience and can reward you with increased rankings.
- Create a great ‘About Us’ page or if you have multiple locations create a great ‘Locations’ page. In the page make sure you list your official address(es) and use a verified postal service format. A great next step is to use Schema.org markup so that search engines don’t overlook your address. Finally, write a short paragraph about your school and make use of appropriate keywords.