WordPress is an excellent SEO-friendly CMS for local small businesses.
WordPress is one of the most flexible open-source content management systems (CMS) in the world.
Its rich functionality, low barrier to entry, and unbeatable price have led to its meteoric rise as the most popular CMS on the web.
WordPress is SEO friendly too, to the point where even the non-tech savvy can easily implement some simple optimization techniques.
This is great news for small local businesses that may not have the budget for radical SEO improvements, but still want to rank higher in local search.
Seven simple SEO improvements can be made to boost the WordPress site’s local search ranking.
1. Optimize the content:
Content offerings are the most important assets on the website.
Having a great site structure, blazing-fast load times, and tons of security measures won’t help if the content isn’t up to scratch.
So think about optimizing the content, start with something that the audience finds valuable.
Understand the pain points of the audience and know how the products solve their problems.
Turn solutions into all kinds of engaging content, from videos to blog posts to infographics, keeping them coming back for more.
Once to have great content, the next step can seem a bit overwhelming: on-page optimization.
Fortunately, get the help of some basic tools like the Yoast SEO plugin.
While it typically considers up to 20 different SEO factors for each landing page, Yoast SEO simplifies the job by giving each page a colour-coded score that will help track on-page optimization and pinpoint areas for improvement.
Yoast SEO also points out some important factors on the page, such as word count and keyword occurrence.
2. Review the link profile:
According to recent studies, links are still the most important ranking signal when it comes to localized organic rankings.
The number of domains that link to the site, the quality of the backlinks, and the optimization of the link anchor text are strongly correlated with local ranking.
It takes time to cultivate good organic link building, but here are some simple steps to get started:
Focus on quality over quantity:
The number of domains, IP addresses, and C-blocks that link to the site is important, but a high-quality backlink from an industry leader in the niche is worth far more than dozens of irrelevant, low-quality links.
Use link tracking software to find and remove poor quality links.
Find and fix broken links:
Use a plugin like Broken Link Checker to identify and fix broken links.
This plugin checks posts, pages, and even comments for broken links.
Optimize anchor text:
Optimize some of the anchor text for local search by including the city name.
Just be careful not to over-optimize (eg changing all the anchor text, too many exact matches, etc.).
There is no ideal percentage for location-optimized anchors, so one should run a competitor analysis to find out what is generally accepted in the niche.
Identify potential link building opportunities:
Use a competitive analysis tool to find potential link building opportunities, such as industry-relevant sites that link to the competition.
3. Speed up the website:
Site speed is still one of Google’s most important “technical” ranking factors, and if someone wants to beat the competition in local search, they will need to make sure the site is as fast as possible.
Possible techniques include:
Compress large images.
Large image files are the biggest offenders when it comes to slow websites.
Use a plugin like WP Smush to compress and optimize images.
Clean the WordPress theme.
Make sure to delete old themes; hackers can use them to infiltrate the site.
Reduce server load with a caching plugin:
Caching plugins create dynamic page state HTML versions that significantly reduce server load times.
There are a number of options to consider, including free options like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache, and paid options like WP Rocket.
Don’t go crazy with add-ons:
Find a plugin for just about any feature, but try to stick with essential plugins that bring real value to the site.
Too many plugins will slow down the site.
Alternatively, make life easier by investing in website auditing software.
Quality products will analyze speed factors on the page and suggest ways to speed up the site.
4. Optimize for mobile devices:
Many of the potential customers search for local businesses through mobile devices.
Coupled with the fact that Google indexes mobile sites in preference to their desktop counterparts, it means that mobile optimization is more important than ever.
The best thing to do to improve the mobile site is to focus on page speed and image compression.
Use a responsive theme:
Make sure that the WordPress theme is responsive and adaptable to the content on all mobile devices.
Specific design for mobile visitors:
Use the built-in wp_is_mobile () function to discover different devices at the server level and create personalized experiences for mobile visitors.
Launch a mobile app:
90% of mobile media time is spent on apps.
Mobile device users like apps that give them a comprehensive way to interact with their favourite brands.
Create Accelerated Mobile Pages:
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are blazing fast pages specifically designed for mobile devices.
WordPress comes with a default AMP plugin to use to create AMP pages that are listed at the top of the SERPs when users search from mobile devices.
5. Integrate Google My Business into WordPress site:
Google My Business groups together a number of key factors related to local rankings.
Signs such as physical proximity, user reviews, and business descriptions and categories will affect the position on the SERPs.
On the GMB page, be sure to add the WordPress site to the profile, as well as other key information such as hours of operation and a description of the business.
Look for plugins and widgets that allow transferring key ranking signals such as photos, a business map, and customer reviews from the GMB page to the website.
Install a plugin that allows adding the GMB review to the WordPress site, such as the Google Places Reviews plugin.
This will help increase consumer confidence in the business!
Consider placing an intractable business map on the website via a plugin or widget.
Google Maps Builder is an example that will help customers find.
6. add structured data to pages:
Some local business listings seem so rich, including solid reviews, star ratings, and descriptions, while others fail.
The difference is structured data.
With plugins like Schema, one can provide Google with additional information about the business.
This will give customers more details when they find SERPs, including helpful data like hours of operation, price range, and physical location.
7. Include location keywords in URLs:
The structure of the URL plays a minor role in the ranking ability of the page.
However, when it comes to local searches, including location keywords in the URL can help improve the user experience.
This is especially true if having multiple landing pages targeting different locations and assure customers that they are in the right place.
Previous versions of WordPress didn’t offer much flexibility when it came to URLs.
The latest versions of WordPress have “nice permalinks” by default, which include the date and name of the posts.
Adjust the URL settings in the WordPress admin panel by going to Settings> Permalinks.
Click Custom Structure to add a location to the landing page URLs.
Make improvements to the WordPress site beyond what has been suggested by manually creating robots.txt files, generating XML sitemaps, optimizing site structure, and more.