According to Google, 46% of all searches carried out online have local intent, and based on research conducted by Nectafy, 88% of local business searches carried out by mobile users result in them 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 SERPs 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 will not just frustrate customers but the search engine will choose not to display your business as a result as there will be no clarity on the exact details of the business.
Google My Business (GMB) is a must
For any business that wishes to have visibility on search, GMB is ground zero. GMB allows the business to list all the possible details of the business and this 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 listing will prompt customers to make a buy, it also instills confidence in the search engine that your business is trustworthy, which will help improve its ranking on search.
Have local-flavored content with relevant schema markup
Having relevant local-flavored content with relevant schema markup will increase the relevance of your business to be displayed for ‘near me’ searches.
Having 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 searches.