Local search is one of the most dynamic search results in Google. With every change in the search results local search appears to be affected more and more. However, there are several things that you can do to minimize the flux and improve your overall local search results.
On Site Local Search Tips
1. Put your address in the footer of your website. This seems like a simple thing, but so many websites don’t do this one simple thing. Place your full address, street, city, state and zipcode in the footer of your template so that it appears on every page.
2. Address Schema. While you are adding your address to every page, wrap it in schemas. I don’t normally recommend spending a lot of time worrying about using schema markup, but this is one area where it can actually provide some direct benefit. The format is straight forward:
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>Street Number and Name</span><br>
P.O. Box: <span itemprop=”postOfficeBoxNumber”>PO Box Number</span><br>
<span itemprop=”postalCode”>Zip Code</span><br>
3. Include your local phone number as well as your toll free number. The area code on your website can also be another key indicator of where your business is in the real world. While you are at it, may your phone number ‘clickable’ for mobile users. The last thing they want to do when looking at your website is try to remember your number so that they can call when all they should have to do is click.
The code for this is simple and should be used on every site:
4. Make your site mobile friendly. This is becoming more and more important, but for local it can be huge. When someone is out driving in their car looking for a place to eat, or a store that has exactly what they are looking for, they are looking on their phone, not back home sitting at their computer desk.
Off Site Local Search Tips
1. Google Plus. Stake out your space on Google Plus. If you haven’t already established your own business page on Google Plus, do a search for it first, it may already exist since Google has a tendency to create pages that it needs to appear complete to the users. Once you have created or claimed your Google Plus page be sure to fill it out completely.
2. Bing Places For Business. People often forget that there are other search engines out there, this really upset the folks at Bing, but there really are other search engines that can send traffic to your website. Bing Places for Business is similar to the old Google Places and Yahoo! Places. Simply log in and create or claim your business page and fill out your business profile as completely as possible.
3. Local Review and Listing Sites. When it comes to brick and mortar stores with an online presence, being involved on local review sites is almost mandatory. The list of sites you should at least complete your business listing on can get quite long. Some of the most important include
4. Better Business Bureau. The BBB is one of those organizations that often feels pointless but for local brick and mortar businesses is almost mandatory to be a member of. You can sign up here. BBB Online App
Finally, be sure to take the time for find opportunities to link to your various online profiles. This help re-enforce the fact that these are your listings and should be applied to your website.
Asking customers for reviews is an important part of getting reviews. If you don’t make the effort to actually ASK for the review, you are very unlikely to get one. When you do ask for a review on your website here is a little trick you can use to make it as easy as possible for your customer. When you link to your Google Plus page add this code to the end of the URL:
This creates a popup ready for your customer to fill out without them having to figure out the Google Plus review system on their own.