(As featured on page 37 of FRLA’s Spring magazine)
It’s no secret that Florida’s lifeblood is tourism. Millions of visitors patronize our great state each year in search of the scenery and southern hospitality provided by our resorts, restaurants and attractions. And, because of society’s reliance on digital, a few clicks of a mouse make booking and planning a trip to Florida easier than ever.
If you’re in the travel, lodging or food and beverage industry, you know the value in enhancing your brand’s digital visibility—on social media platforms, mobile applications and across Google’s search tools. Each increases your brand’s recognition, opens up engagement opportunities and improves search engine optimization (SEO), which is the process maximizing a website’s exposure when a user searches for information on a search engine like Google. However, to improve overall search rank and reach to consumers, it’s essential for brands to optimize for local search. This means providing content relevant to a user’s current location or locations they wish to visit. By optimizing your online presence for local SEO, your brand’s consumer-search process is not only streamlined, but you help put your brand on the map—literally.
Here are three easy ways to improve your business’s local SEO:
Google My Business
In 2014, Google launched My Business, a service that links users with results across Google Search, Maps or Google+. My Business is a great tool for small businesses to build community conversations and provide and connect consumers with valuable information about their business. The tool asks brands key insights about their location, address and website links in order to help improve their overall ranking and visibility across Google’s service platforms. Because My Business asks for specific questions relevant to the brand’s location, this help improves the business’s local SEO. Another advantage of Google’s My Business application is that it allows consumers to write reviews about brands. These reviews also help increase a brand’s search visibility and allow users get an understanding of a brand’s experience before walking through its doors.
One of most important and easiest ways a brand can improve local SEO is by incorporating their city and state into their website’s title tag. Title tags define the theme, title or topic of a web page, and provide key SEO insights. When a user enters keywords into a search engine, one of the first places the engine pulls information from is your website’s title tag. By incorporating your brand’s location into the title tag, this helps strengthen your ranking among consumers who are searching for you. For example, Jill has decided she wants to visit Miami Beach and wants to book a local hotel room. So Jill searches, “hotels in Miami Beach” on the Internet. Because your hotel included “Miami” or “Miami Beach” in its title tag, it has the ability to rank among the first search results Jill sees.
The NAP Factor
Placing your NAP, or your brand’s name, address and phone number, across all of your website’s pages improves local SEO. How so? This information helps search engines pick up key insights it can use to optimize a consumer’s search results. In essence, the number of times your NAP is listed across your brand’s website helps improve your SEO ranking and your brand’s searchability. NAPs are commonly placed in website footers or in the same location on every website page. Note: Your website must list your brand’s NAP exactly the same on each web page. This ensures accuracy and eliminates confusion when a search engine accesses your website’s info.
The Digital Truth
In a tech-savvy world where the Internet, mobile applications and social media connects us all, optimizing online profiles and websites to effectively and efficiently reach consumers is key. Consumers want to access information in real-time, which creates a need for your brand to be there and provide the information they’re searching for. Factoring in local SEO when building your website or online profiles not only simplifies your consumer’s search process, but also helps your brand’s search rank among all other websites and profiles using similar keywords on the web.