Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Local Search Optimization

Optimizing your website for local search

Let's talk about some things specific to local search that can help your local search marketing. First, your contact information is going to be especially important, and there are some specific things you need to put on your Contact Us page.

On the schema.org website you can find specific schema elements that make sense for your type of business and include this markup into your web pages.  Let's say on your contact page you show your name, a description of your business, your address and your phone number... By adding some tags and explicitly defining these items through the markup defined at schema.org, you'll be telling search engines exactly what type of information each piece of text represents.
local search optimization
Local Search Optimization

There are microformats for everything, from your hours of operation, to the payment types you accept, to industry- specific items like menus for restaurants. At a minimum you'll want to make sure to include your business name, address, and phone number, and you should also include things like your business email address, driving directions or a map, and a photo or two with appropriate ALT text.

Your business information should always be in presented on your footer on every page. This is a very common place that users are conditioned to look for contact information and it will ensure that they can find your information quickly from any page of your site.

Modern searchers aren't just searching for you on their desktop PCs anymore they're also searching with mobile devices when they're not at home or in the office. Much of this on-the-go searching is with local intent. Having a site that looks good and functions on mobile devices is something that will not only serves you well with the search engines responding to search queries on mobile devices, but will also ensure that your users have a positive experience with you and your site regardless what device they're using.

If you have resources or programming expertise you can choose to address some of these issues by creating a separate site exclusively for your mobile users on a separate domain or sub-domain. Or better yet, you might choose to use a responsive design that adapts to whatever size of screen your website is being rendered on from a single code base.

The bottom line is that many of your local customers are using mobile devices and if your site doesn't provide the information your mobile visitor needs, or if it crashes their browser you've probably lost a potential customer. Focusing on you're on page- optimization, your contact page, proper schema markup and mobile performance will ensure that you're taking the right steps towards local search visibility with the things that you can control on the pages of your site.

Steve Steinberger

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