Image sournce: https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/

In today’s business climate, local search is crucial to the success of a business. Think about it. If your tooth starts to hurt, and you need to find a dentist, you’d search for the best dental clinics in the area. If you’re looking to move to a neighborhood like Echo Park, you’d search for “best real estate agents in Echo Park” or “homes in Echo Park.” The results that appear at the top of search engines belong to those who have put in local SEO work.

Local search is important because it’s proven to be effective. Studies have shown that 50% of people who conduct a local search on their mobile devices—like the examples previously mentioned—will visit a location on the very same day. And 34% of people who conduct local searches on desktops or tablets are also visiting locations on the same day. Overall, 18% of all people searching locally will make a purchase within 24 hours. With no other type of search is the conversion power so strong.

Now that you understand the importance of local search, it’s time to start putting in the effort to improve your own local SEO.

Update Your Titles & Meta Descriptions

Updating your titles and meta descriptions is a simple, quick way to improve your local SEO. For every title and meta page description, you should include the name of your city and state, or even your neighborhood if the character count works for it. You can use a plugin like Yoast to see a preview of what your listing would look like after you update your titles and meta descriptions. This will give you an idea of what to expect before you make official site-wide changes. You should also check out a more comprehensive list of the best SEO plugins to use if you currently operate on a WordPress platform. Check out SEO applications for Shopify here.

Submit To Directories

Fifty percent of local-mobile searchers are looking for businesses information, such as addresses and phone numbers. For this reason, it’s imperative that you submit your business information to local directories. This is one of the easiest ways to strengthen your SEO, yet it is often ignored by business owners and entrepreneurs.

You should have your business information listed across sites like Google+, Yelp, Citysearch, Merchant Circle, and other local directories. There may even be niche directories that are applicable to your business, depending on your industry. The more directories that you keep updated, the more search engines have to crawl, and the more relevant your business appears to be.

You should also be submitting your business information (address, phone number, website) to citation data aggregators like Infogroup, Acxiom and Factual. What’s most important is that your business information is consistent across the board for every directory and aggregator. Keep a list of websites and URLs where you’ve submitted business information, which will help make updates much easier. If Google can’t determine what’s right and wrong about your business details, they might display the wrong information or not display any information at all.

Claim Your Business Online

It’s one thing to start a business and launch a website, but entirely another thing to claim your listing on different platforms. The primary platform you need to consider is Google. Although Google My Business (GMB) is technically a directory, it’s so important to your search engine ranking that you need to pay special attention to it. When you make a local search, the first local results you see with business information and ratings are those that have been submitted to GMB.

The verification process is thorough, but well worth the wait, and very necessary. Once you sign up, you’ll receive a postcard to your business address that contains a pin you’ll need to verify that you own the business at the location you provided. Once you’ve received your pin, you should fill out every field in the GMB database to make your listing as complete as possible. If your GMB page is very strong, it could help you make it into Google’s traditional three-pack results box. For example, when we search for “Echo park restaurants,” we see three top restaurants appear: Masa of Echo Park Brewery & Cafe, Ostrich Farm, and Button Mash. These businesses have claimed their companies on Google, and filled out many details of their operations.

Source: Square 1 Group

Consider Hiring A Local Agency

One of the biggest benefits of working with a local SEO agency is that, well, they’re local. Not only are agencies well-versed in local SEO, but they’re familiar with your city, town, or neighborhood, and have been through the process of getting businesses at the top of search engine results time and time again. They know your area well, can easily integrate local search terms, and understand what it takes to appeal to those local residents. Alternatively, you can work with any marketing or SEO agency that specializes in SEO. This is the perfect option for people who have a little extra money in their budget and don’t have the time to learn SEO on their own.