With the shift in more and more searches having local intent than ever before, and Google’s acknowledge of this with the recent Possum update – being optimised for local search has become an essential consideration for businesses with a bricks and mortar location.

We’ve put together a handy local SEO checklist of things to consider to help your website get as much local visibility as possible:

On Your Website

Create location specific pages

Creating a page on your website specifically about the location of your business is the first step to gaining local visibility. This is especially useful for businesses that have more than one location (eg. Restaurants).

Include NAP

Once you’ve created your location page, make sure all of your business’ contact details are correct and present on this page – getting the name, address, phone number (NAP) including here is particularly important. It’s also good to include opening hours and any extra details the user may be looking for.

Schema markup

To help Google to easily read your page and understand where your business is and what it does, all contact information on your page should be marked up with the relevant Schema. Choose the relevant category Schema for your business (eg. Restaurant) and make sure your NAP, opening hours and logo are all marked up. You can find examples of LocalBusiness Schema here.

Content

Where possible, it’s helpful to include location specific content on your page, again to send signals to Google that your business is located in and relevant for that particular area – businesses with several locations should create unique content for each location page.

Relevant On Page SEO

When looking at your on page SEO, ensure your H1 tag, title tag, page URL, and image ALT attributes all include the location name and a relevant keyword where possible.

Google My Business Profile

This is essential for local search visibility – without a GMB listing you won’t appear in the local pack or on local map listings. Google has actually listed the factors that determine local ranking for GMB profiles, you can read them here.

Create or Claim

First of all, if your business doesn’t have a Google My Business listing – create one. If you haven’t claimed your listing yet, then do so.

Correct Information

A GMB listing with correct and up to date contact information is more likely to appear in the local pack for search queries – make sure your business is listed in the correct category (eg. Italian restaurant). Having your NAP exactly match the information that appears on your website is essential, it’s also important to keep opening hours accurate and update with any special hours for Christmas or bank holidays.

Imagery

Including interior and exterior images of your business helps the user to see the real building behind the GMB listing – exterior photos also help to confirm the location of your business.

Reviews

The star rating on your GMB listing is another important ranking factor. The more reviews your profile has and the more positive those reviews are, the more likely you are to gain visibility in the local pack. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and be active in responding to any negative reviews that may appear.

Directory Submissions

As with any SEO work to gain visibility in the SERPs, having a strong back link profile to your location page is another important consideration.

Correct NAP

It may seem obvious, but the NAP of your business should exactly match that same information on your GMB listing and your website. When all contact information is the same across these different platforms, it will help to reinforce the message that your business is in that location.

Type of directory

As with the Google reviews, it’s also important to have your business featured on influential review websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. Submit your website to well-known directories as well as relevant business and local directories.

By making sure all these steps are in place, your website will be well on the way to gaining local visibility in no time.