Welcome to Chapter 4 of our Definitive Guide to Local SEO.
In this chapter, we’ll explore a very important topic critical to local SEO: User Experience.
Understanding the importance of this element and how to properly optimize the user experience is key when it comes to boosting your business’s local online presence.
We’ll explain exactly why, so read on if you’re curious about how user experience can help your business make a bigger impact in the local market!
How Do You Define User Experience?
User experience (UX), in the context of search engine optimization, particularly local SEO, refers to the overall quality of the experience that a user has when they visit a website or online platform.
This can be measured according to the speed of loading time for a website, how easy it is to navigate, or if the content and visuals are easily digestible.
With local SEO specifically, UX also includes how well the website and landing pages are optimized for local searches as well as providing useful information about local business listings that are related to the searcher’s query.
Why is User Experience Important?
A good user experience can make the difference between potential customers staying on your website or quickly navigating away from it and instead going to your competitors.
By understanding the nuances of user experience, businesses can create an online presence that appeals to their target audience, builds trust, and encourages repeat visits and purchases; while also encouraging users to explore your website further — improving overall engagement metrics such as time on the page, bounce rate, and click-through rate.
What Determines a Good User Experience?
User experience is about more than just aesthetics; it also includes aspects such as ease of navigation, content relevancy, speed of page loading time, and overall usability.
When implementing a local SEO strategy, marketers and business owners should put considerable effort into ensuring that their website is optimized for both organic search engine visibility and user satisfaction. This means using:
- keyword-rich titles, meta tags, and descriptions
- images with appropriate alt tags
- backlinks from reliable local sources
- fast page loading times
- relevant content that engages visitors throughout the journey
Good design plays a key role in improving user experience too; an aesthetically pleasing website interface helps reduce bounce rate as visitors tend to stay longer when they find the visuals and accompanying content appealing and compelling.
What About Mobile Responsiveness?
Businesses should make sure that their websites are mobile responsive so they can offer the same great experience to their users regardless of the device used.
This will help with both organic ranking on search engines as well as conversion rates since mobile searches are now dominating most industry sectors — especially for local searches.
Here are some tips you can follow to ensure your website is responsive across user devices.
Tip 1: Invest in an Adaptive Design
Adaptive design is one of the best ways to make a website mobile responsive. It uses flexible grids, images, and CSS3 media queries to automatically detect the user’s device and display the site accordingly. This means that elements on the page will shift around dynamically to fit all devices from phones to tablets to desktops. With adaptive design, you don’t have to worry about designing separate sites for different platforms or manually resizing your content.
Tip 2: Use Media Queries Effectively
Media queries are small bits of code that allow you to customize how a page looks on different devices with different screen sizes and resolutions. These can be used in conjunction with adaptive design techniques to ensure that your website looks perfect no matter which device it is being viewed on.
Tip 3: Optimize Your Images for Mobile Devices
Mobile devices often have slower connection speeds than desktops, so it’s important to optimize your images for faster loading times. You should compress larger images as much as possible without sacrificing quality, and use smaller versions of logo images instead of full-size ones when appropriate.
Tip 4: Enable Vertical Scrolling Instead of Horizontal Scrolling on Mobile Devices
Horizontal scrolling on mobile devices can be difficult for many users, so you should make sure that your site enables vertical scrolling instead of wherever possible. Not only does this make it easier for users to navigate your site, but it also helps improve its accessibility compliance since users with limited mobility can more easily access content without having to scroll horizontally through long pages.
Tip 5: Avoid Large Blocks of Text on Mobile Devices
Long blocks of text can be difficult for mobile users to read due to their small screen size and slow internet connections, so it’s best practice to break up text into shorter paragraphs or bullet points when creating content for mobile websites or apps. You should also use larger font sizes so they are easier to read on smaller screens, as well as add headings and subheadings throughout the content to break up the copy into readable chunks that are easy for visitors to scan if they are short on time or data plans!
What About the Conversion Funnel?
Businesses should also focus on creating seamless customer journeys through each step of the buying process via conversion optimization.
They should anticipate customer questions beforehand by providing detailed product descriptions and reviews which adds credibility to their services and products while helping them stand out from competitors.
Following up with customers after purchase helps instill loyalty too; email newsletter campaigns can be used for this purpose along with developing rewards programs for returning customers or those who give referrals to create brand advocates over time.
Does NAP Accuracy Impact User Experience?
Yes, as we discussed in Chapter 2: Local SEO for Beginners [Getting Started], NAP accuracy is an important factor in local SEO since it helps ensure that businesses are found in the right place and can be contacted by potential customers no matter where they’re finding your business; for instance, Yelp, Google, Bing, Apple Maps, etc.
Having accurate NAP information makes it easier for search engines to determine the relevance of a website to a local query and boosts its placement in search engine results pages (SERPs), so your customers can find you more easily.
Additionally, having accurate NAP information tells search engines that your business is legitimate and trustworthy. It allows them to better understand your business’s true location, making them more likely to rank you higher for relevant local queries.
Don’t forget to display your NAP in the footer of your website. Having an accurate NAP on your website ensures that customers will know exactly how to get in contact with you, making their experience better and further encouraging them to choose your business over competitors.
Failing to accurately list your business’s NAP on your website can result in lower rankings and fewer customers browsing or visiting your site.
Furthermore, failing to keep updated NAP information across all websites that mention your business can create confusion which may lead customers away from doing business with you.
This could mean missing out on valuable leads and potentially damaging brand reputation and trustworthiness.
To ensure success when optimizing for local SEO, businesses must make sure all of their listings have consistent and up-to-date NAP information appearing across the web.
Keeping track of such data across multiple platforms can be time-consuming; however, investing time into ensuring higher levels of NAP accuracy is worth it as it drastically improves visibility, increases the likelihood of appearing high up on SERPs, and ultimately boosts conversions due to improved user experiences when attempting to contact businesses or find their exact location via Google Maps or similar services.
How to Manually Run a NAP Audit
A NAP audit is a process of evaluating the accuracy and consistency of a business’s Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) information. This process helps ensure the information listed on local directories and listings is correct, accurate, and up-to-date.
Follow the steps outlined below to conduct a manual NAP audit for your business.
Step 1: Locate Online Mentions of Your Business
This means searching through different directories and listings such as Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Foursquare, etc. The goal here is to make sure all relevant information about the business can be found online. This includes the address, phone number and website URL.
Step 2: Compare Each Directory Listing with the NAP on Your Website
Any discrepancies should be noted and fixed by changing/updating the incorrect listings.
This could include adding missing listings or removing outdated ones in order to have consistent, accurate information across all platforms.
Once you have verified that all information listed on each directory is accurate, then it’s time to check for consistency across them all.
Every platform should list identical NAP information, such as:
- name format (e.g., “Company ABC” vs “ABC Company”)
- address format (e.g., “123 Street Ave.” vs “123 Avenue Street”)
- phone number format (e.g., “+1 1234567890” vs “123-456-7890”)
If any inconsistencies are spotted they must also be corrected or updated accordingly.
Step 3: Quality Check Any Changes
Finally, once everything has been checked and amended you can test the accuracy of your audit by running a local search query using various phrases related to your business or industry (e.g., “best Italian restaurant in Chicago”).
This should return results that accurately reflect your business’ NAP data as it appears on its website/directories/listings — if not then further revisions may need to be made until satisfied with the results shown in SERPs for these queries.
NOTE: creating consistency across your NAP will improve your local search rankings, but this won’t happen immediately. Allow some time for your changes to propagate before ruling out the effectiveness of your NAP updates.
Speed Things Up With Our Free NAP Audit Tool
We offer a free NAP audit tool so you can quickly assess the accuracy of your local listings. Simply input your business name, address, and zip code and our tool will show you how accurate your NAP is within 60 seconds.
How to Quickly Fix NAP Inconsistencies
To fix NAP inconsistencies, businesses should first review any local listings they have created and submit corrections through a third-party listing platform, like Direction Local.
Direction Local acts as a central hub for your business data, submitting your information to a broad network of review sites, maps apps, search engines, and online directories to ensure your online presence is accurate and always up-to-date.
In addition to fixing NAP inconsistencies, Direction Local will automatically create business profiles on networks where you are not yet listed. This will further improve your online presence and provide more opportunity for local customers to find your business.
There are more local marketing features inside Direction Local that can make improving the user experience much easier, so get in contact with our team to schedule a free demo.
Schedule a free Direction Local Demo
User experience signals are becoming increasingly important for ranking in both local and organic searches. Creating a great user experience can give you an edge over your competition and result in increased web traffic, click-through-rates, and conversions.
If you want help improving your website’s user experience, or improving your overall online presence, contact our team today to schedule a free local SEO consultation.
We’ll work with you to identify areas where you can improve your brand presence to create a better user experience and ultimately boost your rankings in local searches.