Local SEO for WordPress

6 Tips for Improving Local Search Rankings

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Local SEO is the key to succeeding online for retail stores and local professional services.  Google knows when to serve local search results and without good local SEO signals, you’ll be left behind.

If a web searcher is looking for an electrician, Google is likely going to show electricians relevant to where that person searched from. 

It’s important to identify the most valuable searches and to follow best practices for local SEO. If you send Google the correct signals, you will show up for local searches. Simple as that.

Local SEO for WordPress websites is easier than you think.

Why should your business care about local SEO?

Local SEO is valuable for any business looking to drive traffic to their website from local searchers.

Local SEO impacts your business in many ways on search engines. With good local SEO signals on your website, your business will show up on the maps listed in search results.

Let’s pretend you’re looking for a nearby mechanic.

If you look below, you’ll see I searched “mechanics in Albany” and the first result was a map taken from Google Maps. The only thing visible above the fold was this map, so if you don’t show up on this map, there’s a good chance you’ll be entirely overlooked.

Local search query with map in Google results

When you click on a listing on the map, a card loads with the business’s information. This includes reviews, hours of operation, physical address, phone numbers, and more.  Most of the information comes from having a well maintained Google My Business listing or good on-page signals.

Local SEO Google Maps Business Listing

With good local SEO signals, you’ll have a strong brand presence on Google searches as well. The information on the right half of the page was generated by Google’s Knowledge Graph.

Google Knowledge Graph example

Tips for Local SEO for WordPress Websites

Easy local SEO victories for WordPress websites

#1 Make sure it loads quickly, especially on mobile.

A slow website can lead to fewer sales and provides a poor user experience.

When you’re focusing on local SEO, it’s vital to have a fast website for visitors. This is even more true for mobile users. So test, test, test your website!

Test it over wifi and data. Have your friends, family, and colleagues visit your website on their phone.

You can use a plugin like WP Rocket to make your website load quickly. We’ve also written about how to speed up your WordPress website.

#2 Optimize your page for searches using local terms instead of broader industry terms.

When you’re focusing on local traffic, it’s important that you optimize for likely local searches. Know your local lingo, hotspots, regional nicknames, and major hubs.

Bocain Designs is a web design company in Colonie, NY. For those who don’t know (and you probably don’t), Colonie is a small town next to the city of Albany, NY. Albany is the State capital. Albany is also the name of the county that Colonie is in. For us, it makes sense to say we’re a web design company in Albany, NY.

You can use a plugin like Yoast SEO or The SEO Framework to see how well your pages are targeting different phrases.

#3 Optimize your page titles, descriptions, page content, and page URLs.

Be sure to include your business location in numerous places on your website. Including this within your page content, title tags, meta descriptions, or page URLs can make a difference. Don’t go overboard – you still need to keep these page elements human-friendly.

One of our projects is a business directory, specifically for finding nearby arcades. This website is built with WordPress and each listing page uses local SEO signals in order to rank well for local searches across the nation.

You can also use a plugin like Yoast SEO or The SEO Framework to manage these page tags.

#4 Include your company contact throughout the website

Readily available contact information increases trust with your website visitors and can add location context throughout the website. This could help with your local SEO rankings.

On the business directory, we’ve made it easy to locate the contact information for each business listed.

Contact information for local SEO

#5 Implement Schema on your WordPress website

Schema can help search engines better understand the context of words on your website. Schema allows search engines to display extra data in search results.  Pages containing schema for recipes, reviews, organizations, events, people, places, or products may have an enhanced listing on Google.

There is a dedicated Schema plugin for WordPress. Yoast SEO also provides basic Schema integration.

By using Schema to markup reviews on the arcade directory, we were able to get reviews listed in both the search engine results (left column in the screenshot below) and within the knowledge graph (right column in the screenshot below). 

Example of Schema

That’s right, Google has put our business directory’s review data in the same boat as Foursquare and BirdEye (and in some cases, Facebook and Yelp will be here too.)

This is an excellent way to build up your website’s brand recognition and reach.

#6 Check your third party business listings

After your website has been primed and ready to rank for local searches it’s time to check on your third-party business profiles and listings. This includes anywhere your website might exist: Google Maps, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, etc. 

You need to compare the contact information (phone, email, website, physical location, business hours, etc) with your company details. Everything should match up on all of these listings as well as your own website.

If something is inaccurate and you can’t update the information yourself, then contacting the listing provider is the next best step to take. 

Foursquare Local SEO Listing

There are endless techniques to improve your local SEO.

These are just a few of our best tips for helping your website rank better for local search traffic.

Search engine optimization, and especially local SEO is an everchanging industry. Google is always updating their algorithm and improving how it understands information (your website) and intent (the search queries people type into Google).

Local SEO is something you should revisit at least once a year, to make sure you’re still optimizing your pages for the most valuable and relevant keywords for local search users.

Now, get out there and put this new knowledge to use!  We hope to see you at the top!