Is Your Business Ready For Local Search?

Guest Post by Josh Wardini, Community Manager

The world of SEO is undergoing some fundamental changes. For starters, recent years have seen a global shift to the internet use on mobile devices. Forecasts for this year and beyond only anticipate mobile trends to exponentially rise due to a number of factors.

Aside from mobile devices becoming increasingly available, virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are getting smarter.

Plus, it’s hard not to get accustomed to the level of convenience that voice technology provides. Brands are continuing to develop everything from Alexa powered refrigerators to smart speakers with visual capabilities.

All of these combined have made it easier for people to rely on search engines for finding everything from how-tos to the restaurant with the best tapas nearby. And consumers are certainly making use of local search, with over 70% heading straight to a store once they’ve found the information they need.

Leveraging the Power of Local SEO

According to the research team at Serpwatch, almost a third of searches that happen on mobile are location-based. That’s a huge market share your business is missing out on if you fall behind on adapting your strategies.

This checklist will help ensure that you don’t. Read on for the fundamentals that’ll get you local-search ready.

Optimize for Mobile

A lot of local search happens on the go. So it’s crucial that your business is mobile ready too. Ensure that your website is properly adapted to smartphone views.

The same goes for your content. Structure articles in a way that makes information easy to digest. Keep in mind that users view videos on their phones mostly in portrait mode and use buttons with touch navigation. Invest in providing tailor-fitted online experience through responsive design.

Optimize for Voice

Your site might be optimized for SEO, but that’s no longer enough. Voice search queries are more conversational. You’ll have to tweak your strategies to include long-tail keywords. These are short phrases that more closely replicate natural speech. Instead of “carrot cake recipe,” the voice search equivalent would be more like “how do I bake a carrot cake?”

In that same vein, digestible content that’s neatly structured tends to show up more in voice search results. Loading time is another key aspect in voice search, with results loading much faster than desktop ones.

Clean up your Business Listings

Businesses fail when they overlook their listings. Various reports have found that not only do users search locally, they often act on the information they find. They’ll call the business number or even walk on over to the physical address.

Now, just imagine how it affects their perception of a brand when the information turns out to be incorrect. As it turns out, many industries fail on this particular point, from consumer protection companies to business attorneys, so make sure to exclude yourself by updating your company information.

Consider Signing up For Google Guarantee

As consumers, we love guarantees. Google leverages this in the Google Guarantee program. It offers a $2,000 coverage for “Guaranteed” businesses so that dissatisfied customers can always get their money back.

Imagine being on the business side of this deal. Not only does Google’s extra seal of approval add an “oomph” to your advertising, and the coverage makes hiring your company practically irresistible to customers.

Because Google is effectively staking its reputation on a business, getting that nifty green shield can be a trying process. It involves the business undergoing security checks, and not just online digital scan of some kind.

The inspection is on-site and includes social security number and criminal history checks. It extends to any employees that’ll potentially interact with customers. Once you pass inspection though, it’s worth it.

For starters, advertising through the program is charged on a per-lead basis – much cheaper than going through normal PPC ads.