Many Local SEOs overlook on-page, at their client’s’ peril. On-page SEO is one of the top local ranking factors, and it doesn’t take much work to get right!
1. Local SEO Site Structure
Before doing anything else, map out the URL structure of your website. Your site structure should align with your products, services and areas of business. Also keep in mind how people are searching.
For example, if your service keyword is your main target, then you could set it up as the main silo landing page, as such:
On the other hand, if more people search using location-specific keywords, then the following structure may work better:
There are many ways to structure a website for local SEO, and none of them is the “right” way. It will depend on your audience and keyword research. Whatever you choose, take your time with this step.
2. Get Your NAP Right… Again
Use the exact same NAP on your website as you did on your My Business listing. Even minor discrepancies have a negative SEO impact.
Don’t try to “fool” Google or users by using an image; clearly display the NAP data as text.
3. Optimize Titles
Page headlines — aka the title tags — are essential for local SEO success.
Not only does Google use the title tag a top ranking factor, but better headlines get more clicks, but CTR also affects organic rankings.
When it comes to Local SEO, the title tag should include the following elements:
Keyword (I recommend exact match)
State (abbr. is fine)
ZIP code (space allowing)
4. Use Keyword-Rich Header Tags
Header tags (H1, H2 and H3) are important when it comes to ranking organically for local SEO keywords.
Ideally, include your city and state in both the H1 and H2 tags of each landing page. Again, this should be done without being spammy. You don’t need to follow some specific “header tag formula” — in fact, that would look unnatural to users as well as Google.
Instead, add in keywords and location data in a way that feels natural. As with site structure, headings and subheadings should align with the information architecture of your site.
5. Build Awesome Landing Pages
If you work with small, local businesses, then content is the one way you can help them dominate local markets (without spending a ton on SEO).
In fact, recent SEO studies have shown that user engagement metrics like time on site may be more important for local rankings than for non-geospecific keywords. If Google sees that customers are staying on the page for a long time, that’s a good sign that they trust your brand.
Example: Design Build Pros is a local contractor business on top of their content game. Here’s the content layout for each of their remodeling service pages:
For multi-location business owners, add content that is specific to each location. Include location-specific facts and landmarks to personalize the page.
For local landing page length, aim for 500-700 words.
6. Take Advantage of Customer Reviews
To spice up your landing pages with social proof, simply copy reviews from Google+, Yelp, Facebook or TripAdvisor and add them to the landing page (image or text both work fine).
It’s the perfect one-two punch; get positive ratings on local directories and add social proof to your site in the process.
Tip: set up a “Testimonials” page and showcase your best reviews on the page.
7. Set Up Images for Local SEO
Use keywords and locations in your image filenames, titles and alt text.
As with stand image optimization, do not keyword stuff. Repeating the keyword too many times in the filename and/or alt tag text hurts a page’s ranking for that keyword.
Instead, shoot for a sweet spot — mention the exact keyword once or twice, then include a few long tails.
Also, compress each and every image to make your pages load faster. If you have big, beautiful images, compress them using a tool like Kraken.io or Smush.it.
8. Make Mobile Work
Recent research shows that more than 55% of local searches happen on a smartphone. Let that sink in for a moment… (That doesn’t even take tablet searches into account.)
If your site isn’t optimized for local devices, your customers will go to your competitor — period. The recent Mobilegeddon update, along with comments by Google’s mobile search team, emphasized the emphasis of mobile readiness to SEO success.
Many small businesses worry about redesigning their entire site for mobile. This isn’t necessary; mobile design is cheap and easy. Almost every popular CMS being responsive by default.