By Hâfi Martinsdóttir
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes | 1331 words
Now it’s time to assess whether or not your website is optimised for local search results. This means making sure that the website is reiterating the information provided in your business listing rather than contradicting it, thus confusing the search engines.
You may need some help from your website developer to make some of the changes listed here.
A big issue that service area businesses face is how to show up organically in local search results for an area that is different to the area in which their physical address is located. For example, if you’re a hotel and restaurant and your physical address is in Lake Country, British Columbia but you want to show up in search results for the nearby town of Kelowna, British Columbia. What can be done? Or if you have multiple locations and want to make sure they are not all competing with one another, Starbucks for example, what can we do?
This is where we turn to the website and leverage its signals. Below you’ll find a checklist to follow as you audit your website for local SEO.
Ensure that you have the correct business Name, Address and Phone number (NAP) on every page of your website. Each page needs to give the same basic NAP data which also needs to match up to the information given on your business listings, such as Google My Business, Facebook Business page, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. Consistent information on all channels is key to avoid confusing the search engines. If the search engines are confused, they won’t share your business online.
Also, make sure your ‘Contact’ page is in the main navigation menu and that it also features correct and complete NAP.
Do the title metatags of core pages feature the name of the city where your business is located? Right click and “inspect” to view the page description. Or use a free plugin like Yoast to control your website’s meta data. We essentially want to be sowing your business’ location details throughout everything but without keyword stuffing.
It’s important to continuously asses your Search Engine Optimisation strategy as SEO tactics are always evolving and so what worked in the past could be hindering you in the future. A perfect example was keyword stuffing. This is where websites would contain text that was bursting at the seams with specific keywords the website wanted to rank for (such as the name of the business location and its services). It made the text practically unreadable for humans as it was instead designed for the search engines to read. Now, that very same technique will get your website penalised as search engines prioritise sites that contain high quality text that is relevant to its users and are therefore readable to humans rather than bots. If in doubt, always follow this rule: write for people first and search engines second.
Do you have a reviews or testimonials page readily discoverable on your website? Does your site encourage people to leave reviews and provide a link to direct them to a review site such as your Google My Business listing, Facebook, Yelp, etc? Receiving positive reviews is such a key part of being found locally online that we want to ensure that anyone who wants to write a testimonial can do so easily and quickly. We will cover reviews in more detail in the next part of this course.
If your business services multiple areas, towns or cities, ensure that your website’s core pages feature this geographic-related content that is relevant to your business locations. For example, an individual page dedicated to each area that you serve to show how your business is directly involved with that particular local community. It’s also worth checking to see if you have any links from other local businesses to your site to further strengthen your ties to particular localities.
Let’s take a look at what you would do for one specific area and then repeat it for each individual location. Let’s use the example of a hotel brand that has five individual hotels that each serve a different area. In this instance, we would suggest that you have one website for your brand and five separate pages within that website for each hotel location.
If one of those hotels is in Kelowna, British Columbia then ensure that the dedicated page for this location is optimised with keywords such as “Kelowna” and “British Columbia” along with other keywords you might want to rank for, ie. “family-friendly” “free wi-fi”, etc. Fully optimise this one individual page for that location with keywords, a map, NAP relevant to that location and any links to other websites and businesses within that area that you work alongside or team up with. Don’t forget to link a Facebook page for that specific Kelowna location to that individual Kelowna page too.
So, using this example, you would have one website (for the brand), five separate pages for each individual hotel in their own locations and five separate Facebook business pages for each location connected to the relevant page on the website (the Kelowna Facebook Business page would link to the Kelowna page on the main brand’s website). You would also have five separate Google My Business listings for each individual location that links back to the relevant page on the website.
If you offer multiple services or operate multiple locations do you have multiple websites? If so, then these should all be consolidated into the one singular website with dedicated pages to serve the individual locations or services.
What we want to avoid is each location or service having their own website and instead we want to consolidate this information all under one ‘roof’ on the same website. That way the visibility of that one website will be boosted and each individual location will also receive a boost because of it.
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… we will cover business reviews and how these can greatly boost your business’ chances of showing up in the local search results.
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