Search results are always important for websites, since they help ensure traffic. Staying relevant when it comes to searches is especially crucial for business owners who want to enhance their site’s visibility and increase the chances of searches to become customers. This is where local search comes in. A local search means people have the intent to contact businesses offering services around them. The numbers back this up. According to Social Media Today, around 72% of consumers who make local searches actually end up contacting or visiting businesses nearby. The same percentage of consumers rely on search results to find local businesses. This means that any business should be relevant to local searches if it wants an excellent chance of converting searchers to actual customers.

Business owners can take advantage of the expertise of Tucson SEO specialists, to make sure their sites stay on top of search results. All the same, any business owner will benefit from knowing a few techniques to make sure their site shows up at the front of any local search result. Here are some helpful tips for businesses to optimize their websites for local searches.

A business owner’s starter guide for local search optimization

A good and easy first step to optimizing business sites for local search is to put them up on business directories. Sites like Facebook and Google My Business offer online directories, and having a business site on one helps search engines confirm that it is legitimate and can be trusted. Online directories also have incredibly useful features that should definitely be taken advantage of, like getting business locations pinned directly on Google Maps, both for the owner’s and the customers’ convenience.

Going hand in hand with this is keeping a website’s NAP citations up to date. NAP – or simply the name, address, and phone number of a business – is important information, since this will be the first thing users will want to know if they’re searching for local businesses. Having all of these on a business website will make it easier for users to make contact if they wish to, either by calling or by actually visiting the place. Of course, any changes to this information – maybe a new number, for instance – should immediately be reflected on the website, so that potential customers won’t have to encounter instances like the business being unreachable because of a number that’s out of service.

Reviews are any business’s lifeline, since they’re feedback left by actual customers, responding to the quality of products and service, and are the best way for other users to know if a business truly delivers. This is especially helpful for local searches. When a customer’s need is immediate, for example, they will look for a good business around the area to visit, and reviews will help them verify if the business is worth visiting. This also ties up with legitimacy: business websites with reviews are excellent signals to potential customers that products or services being advertised are actually being offered, and this can help convert users into customers.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the number of local business citations. Getting the business mentioned on platforms like Facebook and Yelp, and backlinking to the website, are easy ways to drive traffic to the business both online and off. Building these citations can take a bit of work, but simple things like linking to social media accounts, responding to reviews and mentioning the business name or the website, and promoting products or services on other websites can be a great way to build up citations. Customers who’ve had a great experience with the business will also likely help build these citations when they talk about it on social media or link other local users to the website.

Something that’s incredibly important now more than ever is to make the website a mobile-friendly one. People spend more time on mobiles than they do on desktops and computers, and when it comes to searching and learning about businesses, they will be more likely to conduct their search on mobile phones. In fact, according to BrightLocal, in 2015, around 61% of users tend to contact local businesses with mobile-friendly sites. Having a site that looks great on mobile browsers tend to improve a user’s experience, and factors like having an easy-to-navigate and accessible layout play directly into this.

Lastly, conduct keyword research! Keywords have always been a critical part of SEO, and knowing the appropriate keywords for an industry or service can help drive the traffic toward a website and recognize it as a highly relevant search result. Take the time to do some research and discover what keywords, search terms, or phrases are typically being used to answer questions. Loganix suggests that business owners should use keywords relevant to the industry they are in, including specific services and product names, or even what other competing businesses use. Since it is for local search, adding the specific location to keywords is crucial. After all, searching for “vets in Tucson” will turn up better, more specific results than just a general “vets in Arizona.” Incorporating these keywords, plus the location, on a website can greatly improve the chances of landing on the first page of the search results.

The critical role of local searches

Millions of users rely on the Internet to find what they need, and local businesses should leverage this behavior and become one of the first things a user will see when they search for something. Optimizing a website for local search might sound daunting, but small, step-by-step actions can help. Besides, it’s crucial for any site that wants build traffic, and more so for a business that wants to build a local following. Localized searches are incredibly important, because they’re more likely to convert to customers. Search engines like Google play a huge part in this as, according to SEO Optimizers, they combine user preferences and location to deliver results in the area that fits the user’s needs the best. Experts from reputable Tucson SEO agencies can help with all of these, and greatly improve the chances of a local business and its website to find its way on page one.