According to Google, 46% of all searches carried out online have local intent. Based on research conducted by Nectafy, 88% of local business searches carried out by mobile users result in a consumer either making a call or visiting the store within the next 24 hours. Local optimization basically ensures that your local business is visible for 'near me' searches. After all, Chat Meter reported that 'near me' searches have grown exponentially by 900% over the last couple of years.
Being visible for local searches is the first step but capturing the shelf space on SERP for local queries is the goal for any business and is the ticket to drive sales. Talking about local optimization, businesses have to keep in mind the following to boost their visibility online:
For the search engine to list your business as a trustworthy source, ensuring that your URL, Name, Address, and Phone Number (UNAP) is verified and consistent across all local directories is required. Having UNAP inconsistencies can frustrate customers and could result in the search engine choosing not to display your business because of lacking clarity on the exact business details.
Google My Business (GMB) is a must
For any business that wishes to have visibility on search, GMB is ground zero. GMB allows you to list all the possible business details and they will be displayed as a rich result (in the Knowledge Panel or Local 3-Pack) for relevant 'near me' searches.
Manage reviews effectively
97% of customers read a review of the product or service before making an online purchase decision and managing reviews effectively is crucial for any local business. This means that your business needs to respond to reviews whether positive or negative. While having honest reviews on your local listing will prompt customers to make a purchase. Honest reviews instill confidence with the search engine that your business is trustworthy and helps improve search rankings.
Create local-flavored content with relevant schema markup
Having local-flavored content with relevant schema markup will increase the relevance of your business to be displayed for 'near me' searches.
Using key tools to optimize your business locally is necessary and could prove to be an uphill task for any business, especially ones with multiple locations. Milestone Local and Reviews modules help businesses manage their UNAP consistency across hundreds of local directories as well as manage reviews effectively for multiple locations.
Businesses can also make use of our FAQ Manager to respond to GMB reviews or create local-flavored content while our Schema Manager tool will ensure that the search engine has a clear context of the content to display it as a relevant result for local search results.