Have you searched “restaurants near me” recently?

Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. 

Ranking well in search engines enables your buyer persona to find you in their own research.

Ranking well when (user’s) location is enabled (making it relevant to the user query), means you need to optimize your web presence in a way that increases your chances of appearing in the search results.

A LOT of people are online searching for what you offer.

As in everything else related to SEO, on-site SEO, backlinks, responsiveness… all apply. But you need by starting paying special attention to your Google My Business (GMB) listing, Links and Reviews… :

  1. 1Make sure your Google My Business is completely filled in and up-to-date. A physical address in your targeted city (though not mandatory) is the #1 factor in Maps.
  2. 2Cultivate reviews on your Google My Business account. Reviews (and your answers to them) can be beneficial when it comes to boosting your visibility, especially since Google reviews and stars will be plainly visible on the 3-Pack.
  3. 3Make sure your listings throughout the web are accurate and consistent.
  4. 4Cultivate local reputable links, such as sponsoring local nonprofits and events or joining a Chamber of Commerce.
  5. 5Build backlinks to raise your organic rank.
  6. 6Establish yourself as a local business with loyal followers. Build a strong presence on social media.

What about my WordPress on-site SEO?

Besides following Google’s local search ranking factors (MOZ reports them every 2 years), optimize your website in a way that will increase your chances of appearing for a query that is applicable to you.

  1. Start using an SEO plugin. If you don’t have one, I suggest installing Yoast SEO Plugin. Get a physical address in your targeted city (though not mandatory, this still is the #1 factor in Maps).
  1. Try Google Autocomplete: Go to google.com and use the underscore character _ anywhere in the phrase to have Google fill-in-the-blank (for example _Miami wedding… Click that expression and start learning keywords engaged people are searching in Miami). Make sure to use them in your site content (meta keywords no longer have a positive impact).
  2. Blog posts usually attract the most links to your site (a huge ranking factor). People naturally link to USEFUL content. Use researching keywords to define informational keywords or topics for a post.
  3. For really important locations, create a page for each keyword that also targets a specific place, for example, a page for wedding food catering Miami and a page for wedding food catering Fort Lauderdale. The average cost of a wedding in… can be your starting point for a post. Remember to change/include your local (business name probably the same) address, and phone somewhere on that pages. And to change your permalinks to include the location. And to include images that relate to the new local (and change their Alt Text and filename prior to uploading them to the website).
  4. If you have content on your site that can be marked up, remember to add Rich Snippets support to stand out in search results. You can do this with events, reviews, recipes, articles, products, organizations, restaurants, videos, events (the list is expanding). There’s a bunch of free and paid plugins to help you do any type of rich snippets. This is an area where a paid plugin is definitely worth the money.
  5. Make sure your website is responsive. This item should probably have been the 1st in my list (over half of websites are browsed using mobile devices). Best way to check for mobile errors is to set up Google Search Console and use the mobile usability section. This checks for ALL errors on your WordPress site. A responsive WordPress theme is a good starting point but it’s definitely a good idea to check.
  6. More technical stuff. Hosting is the #1 factor in WordPress optimization. Michael @Research as an Hobby  has been performing a Hosting Performance Contest that I’ve been following for the last 2 to 3 years and that I recommend. From my personal experience, also check my recommendations.