With so many searches on Google having a local intent, it’s important to optimise for local search and ensure you’re visible to potential customers.
For example, if you search for a cafe or restaurant on Google, you’ll see Google My Business results for cafes near your location, and web results from sites like TripAdvisor showing the best reviewed places to eat locally.
Many large businesses tend to target a broad audience with their content and search strategies, but it’s also important to think local. Retailers with local stores can ensure that their stores and website are visible in searches.
Local search tends to be more mobile, as people are often searching for stores and services while they’re on the move, so it’s important to think about mobile optimisation in this context.
Google My Business results feature heavily in local search results, taking the top three results, often using maps to plot locations. This means that, on desktop, the space above the fold is taken up, and on mobile users need to scroll down to see any other results.
Much local SEO strategy therefore revolves around optimising Google My Business listings, ensuring that you have listings, keeping them up to date with images, details on opening hours and contact details.
Reviews and citations can be important here, as reviews not only feature prominently in local search results, but are also used as a ranking factor by Google, to ensure that users see the best rated businesses in the most prominent slots.
Citations – mentions of your business name and contact details on other websites – are also a key local search ranking factor, so it’s important to build citations as you would build links.
For larger retailers, it’s important to pay attention to local SEO to drive footfall to stores, or even divert local searches to your website.