How to Boost Localized Search for Your Website?

by Naren Arulrajah, Ekwa Marketing

Local search is proving to be one of the most prominent trends in 2018, and is likely to maintain its position among optimization factors in the year 2019 as well. Local search optimization is now a key determining factor in the ranking of a website locally. This ranking influences the amount of traffic a site drives from local, on-the-move searches.

It is not difficult to specialize in local search tactics. By following the five below-mentioned steps you can achieve excellent results in terms of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), conversions, and local website traffic of people who live or work near your dental practice location.

Focus on Google My Business
Failure to enlist your business on Google My Business (GMB) may be a key reason for the inability of your dental website to rank on top in Google’s local search results. If you are not listed there or on Bing Places for Business, you are losing out on important opportunities to increase local traffic on your website.

Go Through the Verification Process
Google will send you a real postcard containing a private PIN within. You will need to register at the GMB site with your dental office local address to receive this PIN. P.O. boxes are not eligible.

Fill Out GMB Listing Elements
Complete GMB listing elements such as photos, logos, business hours, description categories, address, website, payment methods, phone numbers, etc. This information should be uniform across your site, GMB, and other directories.

Optimize Your GMB Listing
Make sure that all textual elements are meant for humans and include your top-priority local keywords such as type of service, city, brand name, neighborhood, etc.

As per Google My Business Guidelines, a business can be delisted if they contradict any of the below-mentioned rules:

  • Using a URL redirect rather than the website’s actual URL
  • Inserting a company’s name field among keywords
  • Creating many GMB listings for the same company
  • Providing an address that is not the actual physical address for your business

List with Leading Online Business Directories
As per a Moz 2017 study on Local Search Ranking Factors, link signals are a vital factor in the local ranking of a site. But several website owners do not pay attention to online directories and listings. These are a source of reliable and relevant high-quality links.

The process is straightforward:

  • Identify top business directories to list your business. Some essential directories are Bing, Google, Merchant Circle, Yahoo!, Better Business Bureau, Yellow Pages, Angie’s list among others.
  • Explore local business directories. Research local media and government sites. You could also do a simple Google search.
  • Fill out information and optimize your directory accounts. Describe well and write for humans, and make sure you use keywords.

Special Tip: Similar to listings and directories, citation data aggregators (CDA) also provide search engines with critical pieces of information about your business such as the company name, address, and phone number (NAP). Make sure that all the information that you forward to CDA is consistent. This will avoid confusion for Google and your clients.

Optimize Meta Descriptions with Local Keywords
Meta descriptions and titles are still huge in local searches. Customizable HTML factors act as advertisements that determine how the content of a page reflects in search outcomes. Therefore, they have to be appealing enough to be clicked.

Meta descriptions and titles are restricted to ~50+ and ~160+ characters. This can prove to be challenging. The following suggestions can help:

  • Understand the local keywords that you aim to rank for, and analyze the competition
  • Put local keywords at the beginning of the tag. You may find this formula by Moz useful: Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
  • Delete page names from your titles, for instance, Home, Products, Services, etc.
  • Ensure that your titles match up to the corresponding pages, and never replicate your titles
  • Avoid stuffing keywords; Create human-focused title tags

The bottom line is this: Even if your company gets the desirable No. 1 ranking on local search with effective SEO measures, you would still need to offer users an incentive to click on the link. Expertly developed and relevant meta descriptions and title tags can make a huge difference.

Make Efforts to Gain Local Online Reviews
As per a 2017 Local Consumer Review Survey by BrightLocal, 97 percent consumers checked online reviews on local companies, with 85 percent consumers placing a similar level of trust on digital reviews as personal recommendations.

Reviews can be a strong weapon for developing trust and a stellar reputation within the targeted audiences. Therefore, it is essential to ask for reviews. In 2017, 68 percent of consumers were ready to provide the business a review if asked by the business (70 percent in 2016).

So how do you manage your reviews? You can start by implementing this easy process:

  • Start observing reviews: You can use tools such as Get Five Stars, Vendata, Trust Pilot, Reputation Loop, Talkwalker Alerts, Social Mention, Tiny Porch, and Hootsuite.
  • Reply to each review: Ensure that you respond to every review, whether it is positive or negative. Thirty percent consumers perceive a response to their review as an important factor when evaluating a local business.
  • Manage GMB reviews for your SEO: As per Google, the GMB score and amount of reviews are factored into the local search engine rankings.
  • Manage Review Platforms: Platforms such as Facebook, Yelp, and are trusted review media among consumers.

Special Tip: Consumers on an average read seven reviews before placing their trust on a business. It is important to devise a strategy for producing continuous positive reviews. Ensure that you reach out to happy clients and ask them to review your business to decrease the damaging effects of negative ones.

Achieve Back-links from Local Publications
Content is your strongest ally in the area of link-building. Contact local publications, bloggers, and media sites to create content that is relevant to local consumers. This will enable you to receive coverage, reach out to new audiences, and develop important backlinks that will help your website rank higher in local searches.

You can follow this simple process to enhance your link-building initiatives with content marketing:

  • Enlist the local publications where you would like your business to be featured
  • Understand who is in charge such as journalists, bloggers, editors, etc.
  • Determine how to reach out to them
  • Send out your pitch with ideas on content
  • Accumulate responses and find common grounds on the terms of publication
  • Review the feedback if you do not succeed

Special Tip: You can collaborate with other local businesses to create strong content. Contact your partners with research ideas and create compelling content. Otherwise, you may lose out to national-level players.

Key Takeaway
SEO is dynamic, and so is local search. But these five steps will offer you a solid foundation for your SEO strategy. By implementing these tactics, you can get a leg over the competition in local search results.

About the Author
Naren Arulrajah is President and CEO of Ekwa Marketing, a complete internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media, marketing education, and the online reputations of dentists.  With a team of 180+ full time marketers, helps dentists who know where they want to go, get there by dominating their market and growing their business significantly year after year.  If you have questions about marketing your practice online, call 855-598-3320 to speak one-on-one with Naren.