Local SEO: using our store locator

In our previous post about local SEO, we explained how to set up local landing pages for your site. In this post we’re going to highlight one of the other features of our Local SEO plugin: the store locator.

How to use the store locator of the Yoast Local SEO plugin

A helpful tool for your visitors

The store locator isn’t something that will directly help your site’s SEO. It’s mostly a helpful tool for your visitors. It allows them to search the nearest store to their address and plan their route to the store. For example, they might be looking for an Apple Store within 10 km from Chicago:

what a store locator looks like

You can expand your locations overview page (we described how to set this page up in our previous post) with the store locator to give your users a better experience. And maybe even more important: to let them find your store more easily, so they can directly contact or visit you!

How to use the store locator

The store locator can be inserted on any page using the following shortcode: [wpseo_storelocator]. For more options please take a look at our knowledge base.

insert-store-locator

Using the store locator for your business directory

Using our plugin isn’t limited to only list your own business or businesses. When you own a business directory to list (for example all the dentists in Los Angeles or car dealers in Arizona) you can still use our plugin!

To add these locations you can just enter them one by one, or import them, After this, you can add the store locator to the (category) pages you want.

A small remark: of course it may be harder to rank in Local Search when you don’t own those places, but it still would be a very user friendly feature for your visitors.

Want to play?

Not sure how to use this, or just curious what it looks like in real life and how it works? Please go ahead and try it on our demo website.

If you feel like something is missing in our store locator: please leave your suggestions in the comments!

Local SEO: setting up landing pages

Our Local SEO plugin helps you to be found by patients or customers in your neighborhood. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the great functionalities, we’ll publish some posts on how to use the plugin best. We’ll most probably even reveal some possibilities you didn’t know about! In this post we’ll tell you how to use the plugin to set up your landing pages.

setting up landing pages for your site with the Local SEO plugin

To get started: here’s the installation guide and configuration guide. It won’t hurt to read those first!

Single or multiple locations?

If your business exists of one store or office it’s pretty easy for you. You just need one landing page. Do you have multiple locations? Then you should create separate landing pages for every single business you own, as well as an overview page of all your locations. Further on we’ll explain how to do this.

Don’t know how to set up your website for multiple locations? Please take a look at our guide.

What to show on your landing pages?

Each landing page should at least show the name of your business, your address and a phone number. You can create a new page for that, in case of a single location. In case of multiple locations you can create a new Location (a post type that appears in the left hand menu, when you tick the box multiple locations).

On the page you can enter your business name as the page title. Adding some keywords and your city to the title may be a good idea for Local SEO ranking factors, but as always: don’t overdo it. But when you have multiple locations with the same business name, adding your city to the title as well will create diversion between the pages.

The address can be added using the shortcode we provide for it. It could look like this:

[wpseo_address show_state=true show_country=false show_phone=true]

Take a look at our guide for more options or methods to add the address.

Adding a map

Additional to the required title and address you can add a map to help your users find your business. It’s not a requirement, but it’s such an improvement for the user experience that you should definitely do this. Adding a map can be done with this shortcode:

[wpseo_map id=all width=800 height=600 zoom=3 show_route=true]

For more options please check our guide.

SEO settings for your landing pages

Basically this isn’t any different from your regular pages. Make sure to mention the most important keywords, including the location. For example your title tag could look like this:

Luca Brasi’s Fish restaurant in New York

For meta descriptions the same rules apply as for regular pages on your site. Although they don’t count as a ranking factor, you do want to make them as appealing as possible. The meta descriptions aren’t shown in the local packs, nevertheless they’re still visible in the organic search results. So you’d want to convince visitors to click on your link.

Creating an overview page

Whether you just have two business locations or several hundred, creating an overview page with all your locations is always a good thing. To show all your locations on one page you can use this shortcode: [wpseo_all_locations]

If you don’t want to do this by a shortcode and implement it following the WordPress template hierarchy you can use the archive-wpseo_locations.php file for it. If the file doesn’t exist yet, you can just create it and loop through the posts.

Please look at our knowledge base for a more detailed explanation.

Sort your locations by category

In our plugin we also offer a custom taxonomy together with the Locations post type, so you can categorize your locations. If you want to show your locations on the overview page you could use the following code snippet:

Using the store locator

Our plugin also contains a store locator, a very useful functionality for your visitors. Not only they’ll be able to search for a store, they’ll also have a visual overview of all your stores on a map. To use this you should add the following shortcode: [wpseo_storelocator]

We hope you’ll get more out of our Local SEO plugin with the help of this post! For more options please check our guide. In our next post we’ll explain more about the possibilities of the store locator.

What is Local SEO?

local seo 7 packOur Local SEO Plugin has been amongst our most popular plugins for almost two years now. However, we never really highlighted or explained why it is so awesome! Let’s do that right now!

Local SEO basically is the optimization process for the local results in search engines. That means the plugin takes care of your websites visibility in Google Maps and  in the so called 7-pack (see picture).

Why is it  important to be visible in Google Maps?

It is important for your website to appear in Google Maps because you want people to be able to find your contact details. Perhaps people already know your business, but don’t know the phone number. If you setup your website right, this location data can easily be found through search engines.

More importantly, people often do not know your business yet and are searching globally for terms like “pizza”, “lawyer” or “broker in New York”. Google often shows a Google Map or a 7-pack for these kind of searches, so it’s of great importance that your business is listed there!

What do I need to do?

The first thing you have to do to get your website in Google Maps is to have a physical location for your business. That sounds silly, but this is one of the major requirements to get you listed in search engines. It’s hard to rank on “divorce lawyer boston” if your business is not physical in Boston (even if you provide the services there). After you have a physical location of your business you can sign up your business in the search engines: Google, Bing and now even Apple.

The third thing you have to think of is your SEO strategy! Just like regular SEO, Local SEO exists of both onpage and offpage SEO. For onpage SEO it’s important you mention the address of your business on your website in Schema.org format. And not only on your contact page, but it’s also recommended to place it in the header or footer of your website, so it’s visible on every page.

Besides the address itself the title tag is something you really need to look at. According to the Local Search Ranking Factors naming the City and State, besides your keyword, in your page title is the most important thing to do. A good format would be “<your service> <city> <state>”, for example “Shiny Teeth dentist Portland Oregon”. It’s pretty straight forward, but clear and strong! But don’t take this format for granted. Play with it and, even better, test it!

And of course we can help you with this on page process: the final (and most important thing you have to do) is to get our Local SEO plugin!

For off-page SEO, links from other sites are of course important, but also the so called citations. Citations are just mentions of your business, which don’t even have to contain a link to your website. For example you can get citations from people who review your business (like Hotfrog, Yelp, Tripadvisor etc).

Is that all?

And that is basically all you have to do! Of course, like many things, this is  easier said than done. Just like regular SEO there are a variety of parameters  which will probably differ for each industry. In the next months we will post some more articles about Local SEO to deepen a bit more on particular subjects. If you can’t wait for these posts we’ve already listed a few great resources you can use in the meantime:

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!