Updated: Oct 6, 2022
by Kayla Walters, Good Cheer Web Design
If you’ve ever searched for “hair salon near me” or “interior designer in St. John’s,” you’ve unleashed the power of an online search engine’s local business recommendations. We use this service to find businesses in our personal lives every day, but have you ever wondered how you can optimize your own website so you start appearing in these local search results too? Here are five ways to improve your website so you’ll begin to appear in general search results based on your location and keywords associated with your business.
What is search engine optimization?
Search engine optimization (SEO) ensures that your website is found by potential customers looking for your products or services. It involves using technical aspects of your website, such as page titles, H1 and H2 headers, links, and plugins to help search engines read your website’s content. Implementing these elements properly will make your business easily findable and, in the end, help your website rank better in search results. The higher your page appears in search results, the more likely customers are to find your website!
Local SEO is a strategy you can use on your website to target customers looking for businesses within a geographic area or physical location. In 2020, 93 percent of consumers searched for a local business online, so using local SEO tactics on your website will help you reach your ideal customers.
Use location keywords in your page titles and content.
For search engines to know you provide a service within a specific geographic area, you need to include these keywords in your website’s page titles, headlines, and content. When your site is first published or updated, search engines will scan the content on your website and take note of specific location data. Mention your location as much as possible—don’t just rely on your contact page to get this information across—so search engines can start showing your page in “near me” searches.
One method of adding your location to your website is to update your page titles. If your Home page is currently named “Home,” use a more descriptive title such as “Interior Design in Corner Brook, Newfoundland” or “Bridal Salon minutes from St. John’s, Newfoundland.”
The same principle goes for the content of your website. Read through what you currently say on your Home page, your About page, and your Services page. Do you mention your physical or geographic area in headlines or paragraphs? I recommend mentioning your location in at least one headline and within at least one paragraph on each page of your website.
Create a page for every product, service, and location.
Do you currently have only one page on your website that lists all your products or services? Search engines have trouble reading these types of pages because there isn’t one specific service being focused on.
Try separating the services or products you offer into individual pages so each page can have its own titles, headlines, and content that are specific to your area. For example, if you are a photographer in Bonavista, have a separate page for each type of photography service you offer, such as weddings, family/lifestyle, or newborns. For example, you could title one of your pages “Wedding Photography on the Bonavista Peninsula.”
Ensure your website is mobile friendly.
Starting in 2020, Google began favouring websites that were optimized for mobile devices, and this has quickly become one of the leading factors in ensuring your website ranks well in search results. To be mobile friendly, your site must be easy to read and navigate on devices such as smartphones and tablets.
If your website is not easy to read and navigate on mobile phones, your search ranking may be lower than that of local companies who have optimized their websites for mobile devices.
Ensure your contact information is accurate and easy to find on all platforms.
To unleash even more power from search engines, double check that your business name, address, website URL, and phone number are the same on all major social media or directory listing platforms that you currently use. The more online records there are of your business and the geographic area you serve, the more reputable you’ll seem. If your contact details are incorrect, search engines may not recognize that these listings are for the same business, so it’s best to keep these up to date!
Set up or claim your free Google Business Profile to appear on Google Maps.
The single most important tool you can use to increase the likelihood of visitors finding your website through search results is to claim your Google Business Profile. These listings are completely free and will allow you to add photos, relevant contact details, menus, and the services and products that you sell.
Google favours businesses that use their services, and once you claim and set up your Business Profile, you’ll begin to appear in general search results based on location and keywords, as well as Google Maps!
Kayla Walters is the owner of Good Cheer Web Design, and she specializes in building handcrafted WordPress websites for women entrepreneurs and women-focused organizations across Canada. She’s been designing and maintaining websites for over fifteen years and loves working with women who are ready to automate, streamline, and scale their businesses online. And when she isn’t glued to her laptop, she loves exploring the city with her dog, Gus.
Want to learn more about SEO and other ways to optimize your website to increase sales? Head to www.GoodCheerDesign.com/resources to access a list of links and WordPress plugins mentioned in this article so you can start optimizing your website for local SEO.