What Makes a Location Page Rank?
This local SEO location page checklist covers several possible questions a website guest may have when learning about a local business. Here is a SEO checklist for ranking location page.
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Your NAP should be an exact match copy on your location page, Google My Business profile, and other citations.
Many SEO professionals (and Google) claim that exact match isn’t as important as it used to be, while others claim that it still is.
My question to you is, why risk it? Be type A and exact match it!
Everyone knows that photos are important for location pages, but so many businesses are missing important opportunities with their photos.
This should be a no-brainier, but you’d be surprised how many location pages are missing interior photos.
Interior photos help guests get a realistic expectation on what to expect in your business. Often times, especially with healthcare businesses, nice looking interior photos can be a deciding factor.
Including exterior photos is super important for location page optimization.
Your exterior photos should include:
- Signage and logos.
- Parking (if applicable).
- Nearby businesses (if inside a mall or strip mall).
Exterior photos are meant to help new visitors find your business upon the first arrival and can also be a decision-making factor for new business.
Optimize Your Image Meta Data
It should go without saying that your images should be of high quality. However, images taken from a modern camera tend to have large file sizes.
Much of this has to do with the excessive metadata included within the photos. This can include unnecessary information such as the type of camera that took the photo.
Software, such as ImageOptim can remove that metadata with lossless compression, meaning that the image quality isn’t compromised.
Software like ImageExifEditor can be used to add metadata to images such as title, description, and even GPS coordinates.
For your website, this is a bit overkill, but maybe beneficial for rankings when added to your Google My Business profile and other citations.
3. Description of Business Location
The description of the location is where many businesses fail. Some locations simply use the same description on all location pages and just replace the location name.
JR Oakes provided an unfortunately great example of how not to write local landing pages.
Notice that this business decided to simply use the same content and merely swap out the city name.
Here are some ideas on ways to help make your descriptions unique and relevant.
- Services Offered: Are there any services offered at this location that are unique compared to other locations?
- Products & Brands: If your location is a store, what are some major brands that someone may be searching for near them?
- Nearby Locations: Do you have other location nearby? This can help with internal linking.
- Unique Selling Proposition: What makes this store unique compared to your competitors in the area?
- Menu: A must-have for restaurants.
4. Helpful CTA
Including a call to action is marketing 101. However, it’s something often overlooked on many location pages.
When adding a CTA, make sure that it really makes sense and adds value to the user experience.
Some options for CTAs include:
- Get Directions (link to Google Maps).
- Reserve Table.
- Request Appointment.
- Shop Now (if online shopping is available).
5. Directions to Business
Including directions to your business can help not only help users find your business, but it can also help naturally work in Geo-specific keywords and targeting into your copy.
A good rule of thumb is to focus on how to get to your location from at least two directions (East/West or North/South) from major highways. Mentioning major intersections can also help identify your business location.
Don’t forget to mention nearby businesses in your directions. This can help users find your business if it’s located in an outlet center or shopping mall.
6. Embedded Map
Embedding a map can help users more precisely figure out if your location is the one nearest to them.
If possible, use the Google Maps API to develop a custom map solution to include your other nearby locations.
I urge all local businesses to venture beyond the standard LocalBusiness markup.
Try to find the most specific local business type that’s relevant to them.
Check out Schema.org for a list of more specific business types to find the type that best matches your business.
8. Title & Meta Description
However, it’s so often spammed by local SEO amateurs.
You may be asking yourself, “Why worry about the title and meta description when we’re focusing on ranking in the map pack?”
Great question! Believe it or not, local businesses still get traffic from the standard organic results.
You should always cover your bases and ensure that you listing is optimized wherever someone may find your business.
A well-optimized title should include three basic elements:
- Brand name
- Geo-specific keyword (city or local area)
While meta descriptions do not directly affect rankings, this is your key selling space in the SERP. This is where the science meets the art in SEO.
Make sure you include the same three elements from the title while adding some extra selling flare. Use that extra real estate to help establish your key selling features.
9. Internal Linking
There are several ways to add relevant internal linking for your local landing pages.
Not all may be relevant to your business, but you can try some ideas from this list:
- Link to other nearby locations.
- If your location offers specific services, link to informational pages about those services.
- Link to location-specific social media profiles.
- For medical clinics, link to doctor profiles.
- For restaurants, link to menus.
- Link to your company about page.
- Have a space for recently published blogs.
- For stores, link to any available online shopping.
10. Load Speed
Load speed is an important ranking factor, especially for local SEO.
Having a fast loading location page can make the difference between your site ranking in position two and position one in the map pack.
Using Google PageSpeed Insights of GTMetrix can help you diagnose issues with the load speed of your webpages.
As a business, how likely is it that potential customers will come through your door?
The whole point of an online presence is to entice customers into your store, your leasing office or your showroom so you can convert them to paying customers rather than just browsers online.
Further, nothing is more frustrating as a customer than finding out that you have been given the wrong information about where a business is located.
As a customer, how likely are you to give this company your business? Not very. In fact, according to Placeable, 73% of consumers stated that they lose trust in a brand when the online listing shows incorrect information.
1. Missing hours of operation information can be a deal breaker
There are many things that people look for in listings, whether they are looking at that search engine on a PC or on a mobile device.
The top piece of information that most people look for is the hours of operation since their search is likely for a business that they frequent quite often.
In fact, in a study conducted by local data aggregator Localeze, hours of operation were noted as the most helpful feature in selecting a business during a local search. 76% of respondent reporting that they expect this information when searching and 61% believe that it is a feature that helps them to select a business.
Even if people are new to a business, it doesn’t give people a good impression if the business hours are not listed and they don’t know that it’s only open from 11 a.m-6p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.Imagine that potential customer who is ready to spend their money in the store, but shows up on Monday at 7 p.m. only to find it closed. That customer is likely going to do another search on a mobile phone to find a different store and spend their money there.
2. You can’t spell NAP data (and score a citation) without an A(address)
While most people would assume that the number one reason people do a search online is for the address or location of a business, the address is actually behind hours of operation as the second most desired information.
But, of course, the whole point of being in business is to make money doing what you love or selling what you love. And that happens by attracting foot traffic and increasing customer base.
It bears repeating that if a business address is incorrect on listing sites such as Google or Bing, then customers will not be crossing the threshold.
A simple thing such as the wrong number on a street address, or even the wrong town, can mean that a customer cannot find you.
The US Postal Service relies on a complex system of checks to verify and standardize addresses, and many of the search engines will default to the USPS for correct mailing addresses.
What this means for the average new business owner is that unless a business is in an established location, getting the correct address on their listing means that both the address from City Hall and the information on USPS must be consistent.
If USPS doesn’t recognize that address, then a business owner must contact them to verify their new address and get that information updated on USPS’s online database.
3. Local searchers are mobile creatures
According to Localeze, mobile-phone-based searches drive in-store purchases with more than 75% of searches ending in a purchase—if a business has their listing details correct.
Now if half of the people searching for a business listing on a local search engine, such as Google Local/Maps, can’t find the store’s business listing details, then the business is going to lose 100% of their business.
For ease of use for potential customers, some of those details need to be as readily available as possible in a mobile-friendly manner.
This can be accomplished with a responsive website that supports cellphone and tablet-specific versions.
4. Updated, accurate websites still serve as a first impression
At the same time, more than 60% of searches on PC platforms such as website portals, Internet Yellow Page directories, and local sites have a similar chance of ending in a purchase.
While mobile searches are becoming more of a standard in where a customer searches, a business owner should not discount the power of a fulsome, consistent and accurate listing that is reflective of the business website.
Any listing should be linked to the business’s website and feature the exact same information, but more of it. While a website should be enough to entice a customer to visit or buy, if those inconsistencies exist, then trust issues may arise in a business’s practices before a customer ever crosses their threshold.
5. Local searchers mix it up across multiple devices, situations and times
People who search for listings are doing it in many more ways than when the Internet first coalesced into existence about two decades ago. In that time, we went from working on desktops to laptops to PDAs to Blackberries to Apples to tablets—and in each iteration, the methods of search have changed.
However, that has slowed over the last five years or so as web developers realize that they need to be smarter. Rather than designing three different sites for three different platforms, they have created websites that are scalable to the search device. And that has been helped along by the proliferation of types of devices in use every day.
According to the Pew Research Center, In 2015, smartphone ownership in America was at 68%, with tablet and computer ownership at 45%. Statista says that almost half of American adults use their smartphones the most to search for local information online, the other half being split between computers (40%) and tablets (11%). According to Localeze, like the types of devices used, what we are searching for varies by the time of day and device. Entertainment is searched for during work hours on computers, restaurants during the evening using phones and health/fitness evening using tablets.
The most important part of those mobile searches is accuracy. If someone cannot find your business in a local search or find inaccurate results whilst out and about, then your business has lost the chance for that browser to become a customer. So having those listings correct in all of the device formats is a must as we, and our technology, continue to evolve in the way we interact with local businesses.
6. Local search results are trusted sources of information
Last but certainly not least is the fact that local search results are considered the most trustworthy. In a study by Neustar, it was determined that these searches, such as “used games Raleigh”, are what people do the most since they put that trust in local business more than big box, big website stores.
Think about it, would you rather find a local store where you can get that latest purse in town right now? Or you can wait a week for delivery, which is four days past the event that you want it for!
Local searches lend themselves to instant gratification and that interaction between browser and salesperson will convert that browser from someone who might get just the minimum to a loyal customer who feels like a million having spent a little more, but getting what they consider to be gold!
Those interactions are what lead people to local searches and the absolute necessity of getting your listings correct.
Trust leads to loyalty, which leads to more business, which leads to happy customers and business owners.
And it all starts with that correct listing in that customer’s local search.
Give us a call if you need help optimizing your business listings.
Local Places Research
Duplicate Google Places Analysis
Duplicate Foursquare Analysis
Foursquare is one of many secondary local search engines where you will need to list/claim and verify your business. Listing and claiming your business properly with Foursquare is an essential step to improving your local presence.
One can’t create duplicate listings in Foursquare. If there’s an existing listing, we will report it to you so you can decide if you would like us to claim it. Otherwise, should Foursquare creation be part of your package, we will create and optimize a new listing for you.
Duplicate Facebook Places Analysis
Facebook allows people to share where they’ve been, where they’re headed and where they are now. This feature is an opportunity for businesses to promote their products and services within their local area.
We will find duplicate Places for your business by searching for its name or locations where people made when they checked in. If we found duplicates, we will claim and merge the duplicates to keep your customers’ likes and check-ins in one place.
Duplicate Bing Local Analysis
Having your business added properly in Bing Business Portal is an important step in improving your local presence. Bing is one of the major search engines where you can have your business listed and verified.
We will find duplicate listings in Bing by searching for its name or locations and report it to Bing if we find any duplicates.
Business Address Consistency Check among Existing Directories
It’s important for your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number to be recorded consistently across all the main search engines and local directories. Inaccurate information can be confusing for customers and more so for Google. Google likes to verify the information it holds about your business with other sources such as local online directories.
It is ideal that your Name, Address, and Phone Number are the same on each site. If there are any discrepancies, appropriate measures should be implemented. Addressing inaccurate results by claiming your listing on those directories and correcting the erroneous information effectively resolves this issue.
Google Places Compatibility Check
Business Information Intake
Business Information Validation
Business Address Verification (if applicable)
Email Account and Logo
Unique Email Account Creation for Local Listing Creations*
Turn Over of Email Account
Uploading of Logo for Linking into Local Listings
Primary Local Business Directories
Google Places – Creation and Optimization
Google Plus User Account Creation
Google Plus Business Page Creation
Your Google Plus Business Page is your brand’s home on Google. When your customers search on Google, the results may include relevant posts, photos, and videos from your Google+ page. Get found across Google, right when your customers are most interested.
We will create and optimize this page for your company to have maximum exposure in Google Plus. We will help you stand out from the competition by including compelling online content such as photos and logos. We will also add your business hours, services, and other information.
Bing Local – Creation and Optimization
Our Bing Local services include the creation, optimization and submission of the Bing Business Portal. We will help you stand out from the competition by including compelling online content such as photos and logos. We will also add your business hours, services and other information. It typically takes two to three weeks for a Bing Local listing to be published.
If your business is located outside of the US, we will be creating a Yelp listing instead since the Bing Business portal is not available in your location. As with Bing, it will typically take two to three weeks for your Yelp listing to be published.
Facebook Places – Creation and Optimization
Foursquare – Creation and Optimization
Claiming and verifying your listing in Foursquare is the first step to get discovered and be successful in Foursquare. Foursquare has millions of business listings, all submitted by customers who go to those places.
We will find your business and make sure that the information for your claimed business is accurate. We will add your company description, phone number, hours of operation as well as links to your website and social media profiles â€“ Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Verification of Foursquare will require a credit card payment of $1.
Additional Major Local Business Directories
Major Local Directory Account Creation and Optimization
Major Niche or Geo Related Directory Account Creation and Optimization
Image Creation, Optimization, and Publication
increases the likelihood of being exposed to consumers in the World Wide Web. Images will have the ability to index
in the search engines when your clients type in relevant keywords describing your business. Images are often times
part of the first page search engine results.
Misc. Service Items
We will provide a dedicated IP for link building purposes. We do this to ensure the link building quality and increase the likelihood of approval for the links we are building. This is because having a dedicated IP allows for a higher approval percentage of the links we build and increases the indexing power behind those links in the major search engines.
IP services will also be utilized when creating your accounts.
- Reporting and Auditing
- Internal Report Auditing and Analysis
All Reporting is subjected to a monthly routine auditing and assessment process. We perform this auditing on a monthly basis to assure that all reports are up to date, error-free, and properly formatted.
The auditing process includes, but is not limited to, the checking of the following:
2. Link status analysis
3. 100% of the month’s work is completed in full
4. Report is updated accordingly
5. Fixing of errors or dead links
Month 2 & Ongoing Monthly
Custom (Citation) Building
We will conduct research to find all the directories your competition has listings in, and use other variables to research additional directories you should be listed in, but are currently not. Using these data, we will be able to not only target the directories that really matter, but we will also be able to track the number of active directories you are listed in versus the average number of directories your competitors are listed in. Our ability to use specialized research and citation/directory tracking resources will give us a leg up on your competition.The purpose of this analysis is to gauge where your competition is. In doing so, we can better tailor a unique citation building campaign in line with your Local Listing Optimization Campaign and overall SEO efforts.
Specialized Directory Creation
Collectively, Local Online Citation Directories are the modern equivalent of the Yellow Pages. As more and more local consumers turn to the Internet to find information about local businesses, these citation directories are growing in popularity. These citation directories can be a direct source of new customers, and they can also boost your local places rankings.The directories we decide to build new listings in will be determined by the “Directory Research” as described in the above line item. Another way to gain prominence on these citation directories is to enhance your listing with more detail about your business.We will create directory listings using (limited to) the below information.*Company Name
*Local Phone Number
*Products and Brands
Specialized Directory Creation
Blog Comment Posting OR Review Publication
Collectively, Local Online Citation Directories are the modern equivalent of the Yellow Pages. As more and more local consumers turn to the Internet to find information about local businesses, these citation directories are growing in popularity. These citation directories can be a direct source of new customers, and they can also boost your local places rankings.
We will create directory listings using (limited to) the below information.
*Local Phone Number
*Products and Brands
You may choose between Blog Comment Posting AND Review Publication
For the Blog Comment Posting: we will conduct research to find blogs that are relevant to your business, and perform posting of relevant comments with reference to your business.
For the Review Publication: Upon being furnished with reviews you have collected, we will publish each of them to one of the major review publication websites.