With so many websites all competing for visitors from search engines, it can be difficult when you’re trying to stand out from the crowd. This is particularly important for companies that are trying to target customers in their local area.
When a user searches for a keyword or phrase in Google or other search engines, they often analyze these searches to look for local relevancy. They try to determine if the search terms might be intended as a search for something that’s in a user’s local area.
As a result, you’ll often see listings of local businesses at the top of search results above the normal organic listings of non-local websites. Locality gets prioritized. That’s why it’s crucial that businesses understand how to reach local customers.
Yoast Local SEO is a plugin that many companies have taken advantage of for this reason. It can help your business in targeting customers who are searching for local terms. It can also improve the overall user experience for local users when they visit your site.
What is Yoast SEO?
Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plugin that helps to optimize your website’s rankings in search engines. It does this by making suggestions on what needs to be improved within your site.
Grammar, spelling, tone, keyphrases, overall readability, and other aspects of your content are analyzed for possible improvements.
Yoast SEO helps a website communicate with crawling bots and search engines by providing information to them such as site descriptions, archiving preferences, and which pages to be included in site maps.
More About Yoast Local SEO
Yoast’s Local SEO plugin is a more targeted offer from the makers of Yoast SEO. It takes website optimization a step further for those who want to ensure that they are reaching their local audiences in search engines.
As a local SEO WordPress tool, it can add greater functionality within your site so that location information is more relevant to users. It can also optimize your site on the backend by using metadata to communicate information to search engines more efficiently.
This plugin has quickly become very popular within the SEO industry, which is why every Yoast local SEO review you’ll find is likely to say great things about it. This is because it’s easy to use and packs many advantages for businesses.
By using this plugin you’ll be able to:
- Communicate vital business information to search engines.
- Improve on-site location details so customers can find your business.
- Compliment features available in Yoast SEO to add more geo-targeted details.
- Add additional local-focused features to WooCommerce.
Yoast Local SEO Features:
Search engines such as Google look at everything on your site including how easy a site is to navigate. When looking at which search results to return to users, their search engine takes things such as ease of use into consideration.
A store locator can greatly improve this type of functionality. This is significant for anyone who wants to improve their on-page optimization with users in mind.
The store locator feature in Local SEO allows you to add a locator box anywhere on your website. Adding it is as simple as clicking a button and then choosing how you want it to be displayed.
The locator option can automatically add a customizable Google map on any page with the search box.
It also allows for other customizable functions and details within the locator box including:
- Returned results limit – the number of results that should be returned to users when they perform a search.
- Appearance of results – the information about each business within the search results that you want your users to see. You can add or omit information such as the telephone book numbers, zip codes, physical addresses, or website information about each business.
In addition to this, there’s also a sidebar widget option which adds a small sidebar widget to any pages you choose. It allows users to search for a local branch of your business using zip code or town/city names. You could add this widget to any pages where visitors may find it useful.
This translates into greater functionality so users can quickly find a location without having to go to a separate page on your site for this. This widget is fully customizable as well so you can designate what criteria users can perform searches with.
Instant Contact Page
By inputting your business details into the plugin’s interface, Local SEO automatically displays these details on your contact page in an SEO-friendly format.
If you have separate contact pages for each of your locations, you can easily input all of the information on a single page within the interface and let the plugin do the rest. You can add a map or the previously mentioned store locator here in optimal places on the page as well.
Customizable Map Options
When adding maps to your pages using this local SEO plugin, you can decide on how they look and function. Do you want the map to be a terrain-based map or a satellite-based one? Do you want users to be able to drag the map and zoom in or should it be static and remain in place? You have full control over these types of customizations.
- Change Dimensions – designate how small or large you want maps to be on your pages.
- Preset Zoom – if you want a map to stay zoomed in or out by default, you can set the degree of the zoom that you prefer.
- Enable the Route Planner – you have the option of deciding whether you want a route planner feature to be available to your users. They can then decide how they’ll get to your business. This helps to increase the time spent on the page.
- Show or Limit Multiple Locations – you can set a map to show all of your locations on the map or just the one closest to a user.
Local Relevancy SEO Improved
This plugin can also improve your site’s locational relevancy in search engine results. When a user searches Google or Yahoo for your business name, you want them to find results that are relevant to their location. You don’t want them finding a location that’s further away from them than another location.
All the on-site optimizations and behind-the-scenes coding that this plugin does will help search engines with this. Google will have a better idea of how far each location is to a user because it will have much more information than simply a business branch’s town or city name.
After utilizing this local SEO plugin WordPress free tool, users can find the location nearest to them first in search results. This may also help your site’s overall SEO because of the influence on ease of use functionality.
Google has an impressive ability at determining how your users engage with your site. When a visitor finds your company’s site in search engines but reaches the landing page for a branch that’s not the closest one to them, they then must search your site for a closer location. This means they are spending a minimal amount of time on pages that are irrelevant to them. All of this has the potential to affect your site’s ease of use.
If you’re unfamiliar with Schema.org, it’s a collaborative project started by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Yandex employees. It’s basically a form of markup language that the major search engines can read behind the scenes of your website.
Within the HTML coding of your website schema tags can communicate addresses, phone numbers, business names, and other information to search engines.
Think of this as an interpreter between two people who might speak different languages. Schema helps search engines understand your business details by communicating in a language that’s easier for the search engines to understand.
When search engines understand what your site is telling them, they can display the information correctly to users.
The Yoast SEO Plugin automatically creates schema tags in the background of your website. It takes your business details and fits them into schema tags for you. For those who want to truly optimize their site in search engines, adding schema language to your site is a must.
The benefits of this feature are:
- Saves Time and Effort – those who don’t want to learn to code schema markup can save time and effort by letting Yoast do all of the work for them.
- Ensure Accuracy – schema tags are implemented correctly to the standards that Google, Yahoo, and other search engines demand.
- Communicate Current Hours – opening and closing hours are communicated to search engines with schema tags when you update hours on your site. This ensures search engines display the correct times to users.
Customizing Hours of Operation
In addition to offering automatic schema markup, this local SEO plugin WordPress free tool also has a few ways that you can customize the hours of operation that display on your pages and in search engines.
For each location you have, you can:
- Show/Hide Hours of Operation – a single show/hide button within the interface allows you to quickly show or hide your opening and closing hours to users.
- Communicate Messages About Hours – using three easy to fill out boxes, you can type in custom messages that will show up next to the hours for situations where hours may change or where certain locations may have special hours. When a business is either closed, open 24 hours, or open 24/7, a different message can be displayed for each scenario. This is particularly useful for businesses who regularly change their hours and must inform their customers.
You may already know about XML sitemaps. Well the days of having to generate them yourself are over with Yoast’s SEO plugin.
For those who have never used sitemaps, they are exactly what they sound like: Maps of your website. It’s a way of telling search engines not only what pages they should index, but also which pages they should not index.
Sitemap files include coding in them, known as XML, which is a markup language in the same way schema is. These files allow web crawlers to find changes more quickly when you update anything on your site. It also ensures that search engines know about all the pages of your site so users can find them when they search for related topics.
Yoast SEO does all of this automatically. You can turn the sitemaps feature on or off at your desire. Plus, when it’s turned on, it allows you to designate which pages should be indexed and which shouldn’t with the press of a button.
The benefit of this is that it works in tandem with the Local SEO plugin by allowing automatic integration of KML files.
Automatic KML Integration
KML is a markup language in the same way schema tags and XML are. However, KML files are all about geographic locations.
Keyhole Markup Language, or KML, is a way for you to better communicate your company’s location to Google Earth, Google Maps, and other programs that read KML. This type of coding should normally be included in your XML sitemap.
It allows you to specify the exact coordinates (latitude and longitude) of any business. This ensures that users who are checking maps or satellite data for your business can easily find it based on the location of placemarks.
This is very important because many users check maps to find nearby locations of businesses before traveling to them.
Yoast Local SEO for WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that allows website owners to quickly and easily add storefront functionality to their sites. Its features include product display capabilities, payment acceptance, shipping options, and more.
Originally, Yoast had two separate local-focused plugins: SEO Local and SEO Local for WooCommerce. These two plugins are now combined together. SEO local for WooCommerce features are now available for all SEO Local users (who are using the WooCommerce plugin).
One of the main benefits of this is the ability for users to designate local pickup for purchases. When doing so, they can find a location nearest to them using the store locator functionality to arrange for local pickup.
Also, you have greater email personalization with Yoast Local SEO for WooCommerce. Customers can receive updates via email on their shipped purchases and email templates based on location details can be used.
Using Local SEO is Simple
Unlike other local SEO WordPress tools, Yoast is quite easy to set up and use. Because it’s a plugin, all you need to do is install it and activate it, then simply fill out your business details in an interface form. After that, Yoast goes to work and does its magic. You can then toggle any features that you want to enable or disable when you need them.
Who Will Benefit Most From This Plugin
As a final note, this wouldn’t be a complete Yoast Local SEO review without saying that it’s not for everyone. Those who don’t have a physical business are unlikely to find much value in this plugin.
It’s mainly for the following types of website owners:
- Those who want more local visibility in search engines.
- Anyone who wants SEO benefits without having to do any coding.
- Companies with multiple locations who want users to find the right one.
- Business owners with single locations who want to improve website usability.