Local search marketingSuccessful online business owners recognise local SEO is essential. Although the www. promises an international audience, the majority of businesses rely on local customers to survive.

Local SEO involves optimising your site so that it will show in search results where the end-user has signalled geographical intent. Furthermore, having an online presence is proven to attract local customers to your physical store.

But online business owners are still getting local SEO wrong, so what can you do to increase your visibility in local search results?

Onsite optimisation

Your first point of focus should be your website. Your contact page should include all your contact details including postcode and ideally a Google map. This identifies to users exactly where you are located so they can easily find your physical store.

You should also be optimising product pages with your location, your town or city, and even your neighbourhood. You do not need to be too creative. Imagine what search terms prospects will use to find your products and make sure those keywords are including in your page content.

Online directories

Local directories go a long way to increasing the visibility of your business and you should include yourself in all the vital directories that cover your industry together with general directories such as Yelp.

Google+

Although Google+ may not have mastered the social network touch, it does feature in search results and gives you more visibility to local users than any other social media network.

By updating your My Business profile in Google+ and posting content on the network, you will perform better in local search and organic search results in general.

Schema Markup

It may seem to be an innocuous tactic, but schema markups help search engines identify your page content so they can more accurately place your website in local search results.

The Schema markup is something your web developer should handle on your behalf as the code needs to be including in “div” tags behind the scenes, therefore ask your developer if they have included schema markup.

Mobile-friendly website

Responsive websites are the buzz at the minute, but with the number of searchers using mobile technology to access the web, it is foolish to ignore mobile-friendly advice, especially now Google are penalising websites that do not provide good user-experience on smaller screens.

A responsive website means your website will fit into any screen size whereby visitors can comfortably and easily navigate your site. If your webpages do not fit on a screen, visitors have to use the scroll bars just to read the content. This is a nuisance end-users will not tolerate and they leave your site.

User reviews

One of the most effective tools for local SEO are third party sites that reference your brand and business. Online consumers are more likely to visit your online store and purchase on the recommendations of others.

Many industries now have some form of outlet whereby local citations can be left by other customers. Review sites like FourSqaure and TripAdvisor are massive for online businesses and you should actively engage with customers on them. Whenever any posts a message about your site, respond to them appropriately.

If you have not already covered the bases of local SEO, you should make it a priority. Improving organic search results is a vital part of online marketing and if you do not rank online, it could decrease the number of customers to your store offline.