How to improve your local search results

Most businesses in Lorain and Western Cuyahoga counties are looking for ways to bring in more foot traffic or generate more local leads, and you’re probably one of them.

Local search results matter.

Take a few easy steps to improve your local search ranking.

But how much effort have you put into improving your local search results? If the mere thought of SEO (search engine optimization) or lists of keywords causes your eyes to glaze over, don’t worry -- it’s not as complicated as it seems.

First, let’s look at why you should take the time to improve your results. Various studies have shown positive links between local online searches and customer interest and spending. Consider these facts:

  • 74% of internet users perform local searches (Kelsey Group)
  • 82% of local searchers follow up offline via an in-store visit, phone call or purchase (TMP/comScore)
  • 61% of local searches result in a purchase (Search Engine Watch)
  • 59% of consumers use Google every month to find a reputable, local business (Search Engine Watch)
  • 37% of all searches are done on mobile (ClickZ)

What all of this should tell you is that local search matters. If someone is looking, it probably means they are buying and you want them buying from you. The problem is, if they can’t find you online, you can probably kiss that sale goodbye.

For some good guidelines on what you need to do to improve your local search rankings, check out this article: 5 ways to master your local search ranking, by Bryan Robinson. Pay particular attention to his first point, where he talks about making sure your local directory listings are up to date. If your business is located in Lorain County, you’ll want to make sure your LorainCounty.com directory listing is accurate, because more than 50,000 people visit the site each month.

Just making sure your basic information -- website, address, phone number -- is accurate across the web will go a long way to improving your chances of drumming up more business.

Also, note the last fact that 37 percent of searches are done on mobile -- and that’s only going to increase as time goes on. Is your site mobile friendly?

Pull up your site on your smartphone and see what it looks like. Do the images look weird? Do you have to excessively pinch, zoom and scroll to navigate it? Does your web content effectively tell your story? Will a customer understand why you are the best choice? If you make it hard for your customers to navigate your site or don’t do a good job explaining what makes you different, they are likely to move on.

Improving your local search results doesn’t have to be rocket science, but it does require an investment of time.

Make sure your information is accurate and that you’ve done everything you can to maximize the chances a customer comes to you and not the competition.

Todd Shryock is the director of content for Emerge Inc. If you have questions about the effectiveness of your website and the story it tells customers, contact him at tshryock@emergeinc.com.

Emerge Inc. provides web, mobile, social and content solutions and is based in Avon Lake (Lorain County), Ohio.

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