Whether you have one location or 100, you want to get found online.  By getting found online, we mean winning on Google search.  Most local businesses have outdated websites and lackluster social media.  They might not have a Google My Business page yet—or if they do, they likely don’t use it as social media.  Sadly, the same can be said for many large brands—because they put their effort into the national website, SEO and social media and fail to connect at the local level.  The good news is, there are simple fixes to help any business improve their local search visibility.

Here are six ways to drive traffic to your site by following Google’s lead:

    1. Optimize Your Google My Business Page: Start by implementing best practices shared here: https://gatherup.com/blog/google-as-the-new-home-page/ . Then once your GMB pages are looking perfect, optimize or create your local landing pages as the “website” that GMB pages takes people to.

    2. Make Sure Your Main Website Has a Firm Foundation: Before your build or optimize your local pages, there are a few key things to make sure are taken care of “under the hood” of your website and your local page template.

    • Verify your site is indexed (location pages on your sitemap), crawlable, and one canonical version

    • Mobile Friendly- we will get into this more later as you choose WHAT to include on the local page, but mobile usability is absolutely crucial

    • Site speed and page speed- Google doesn’t like slow sites

    1. URL Matters: When creating your local page URL, the suggested approach is to follow the USPS rules, as well as adding any other local terminology which people might use and would make sense for a URL. City, State.  For instance, if you are a pizza place and your name includes “pizza”, there would be no reason to add “pizza” to the URL.  If it’s not in your name, adding the word pizza might improve the chance that someone local would find you.  Each situation is different, and it’s a pain to change URL’s once they are set up, plus you lose any validity you have gained with Google, so figuring out site structure (and domain if you are just getting started) is critical before you start building.

    2. Maximize your MetaData: Just like you do on your main page, make sure your location page Metadata is optimized for traffic. Page title with location and primary keyword, description that entices people to choose this location, header tag with location and primary keyword. This should all be carefully crafted and thought through as its in essence the “front door” of your local business on Google.

    3. Schema: Add schema markup to each location page. There are multiple schemas available for Businesses that allow essential location information to appear in search results. Schema markup will guarantee Google and other search engines will crawl the location information you provide. Schema markup also offers additional visual impact to searchers, supporting click-through rates.  See https://schema.org/LocalBusiness for more info.  Once implemented, test them here: https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/

    4. Create Consistent and Relevant Content: While we used to focus on landing pages simply being a place for people to bounce through on their way to order, and that is still a key component, the localized content has become key to driving organic local SEO and traffic.  According to Google, 88% of people who conduct local searches on their smartphones visit a related store within a week, so there is big money behind getting people to click on your page.  Now, the obvious approach would be to just put a TON of local content on the page, however, it’s also important to remember that most people are searching from their phones.  Having a clear, concise local landing page experience is important in order to still convert those people to purchasing.  Additional content may be further down the page, but should not affect load speed or mobile browsing experience to a detriment or will be doing more harm than good.

Too many companies focus on paid advertising without taking advantage of these free or inexpensive things that gain a lot of local traction.  By implementing even a few of these best practices, you’ll start to see more traffic and more sales.