Is your local business’s website powered by WordPress? According to W3Techs, nearly half of all websites run the open-source content management system (CMS) software. WordPress is more popular than Wix, Squarespace, Joomla and Drupal combined.

While you can install WordPress in just a few minutes, it’s not optimized for search engines out of the box. Your local business’s website probably won’t rank very high if it features a default WordPress installation. For higher local search rankings, you’ll need to perform local search engine optimization (SEO).

Add NAP to Footer

Adding your local business’s name, address and phone number (NAP) to your website’s footer can help it rank for local searches. Search engines use NAP to determine the location of businesses and, thus, the local searches for which those businesses should rank.

When search engines see your local business’s NAP used consistently throughout your website, they’ll know where it’s located. They will rank your website for searches associated with your local business’s location. Adding your local business’s NAP to your website’s footer means it will be displayed on all pages. Regardless of which page a search engine is crawling, it will see your local business’s NAP.

In WordPress, the footer is part of a theme. You can add your local business’s NAP to your website’s footer by customizing the theme. Some themes have menu or widget areas in the footer. Other themes support manual customization by editing the footer.php file.

Download a Local SEO Plugin

Some plugins provide local SEO features. Yoast Local SEO is a popular plugin among local business owners. Not to be confused with the standard Yoast SEO plugin, Yoast Local SEO is a premium plugin that’s loaded with local SEO features. You can use it to add business-related structured data, generate sitemaps, create an interactive store finder tool, design a contact page and more.

The aptly named All in One SEO Pack plugin also provides local SEO features. It’s not a dedicated local SEO plugin. Rather, the All in One SEO Pack plugin is a universal plugin that can be used for global or local SEO. It still provides many local SEO features, such as structured data setup, sitemap generation and on-page auditing.

Create Local Content

Your website needs local content to earn high local search rankings. What is local content exactly? Any type of online content that targets a specific place is considered local content. It can cover any topic that’s relevant to your local business, but local content must target a specific place.

WordPress supports content in the form of posts and pages. You can create posts or pages that target places like the city in which your local business is headquartered and the surrounding cities that it serves. Each piece of local content should target a specific place. Mentioning the targeted place in the body of the content and the meta tags will help the content piece rank for that place.

Include a Google Maps Marker

WordPress supports embedded content, such as Google Maps markers. Including a Google Maps marker on your website will improve its local SEO.

A Google Maps marker is an interactive box that shows your local business’s address via Google Maps. Visitors can zoom in or zoom out of the Google Maps marker. Alternatively, visitors can retrieve directions to your local business’s address from the Google Maps marker.

You can include a Google Maps marker on your website by embedding it. There’s an embed block in the Gutenberg editor. After searching for your local business’s address on Google Maps, choose “Share or embed map” and copy the iframe-based embed code. Next, open up the post or page in which you want to embed the Google Maps marker and add a new embed block with the Gutenberg editor. You can then paste the iframe-based embed code into the embed block.

Publish Customer Reviews

Publishing customer reviews on your website will encourage better local search rankings. According to BrightLocal, two-thirds of consumers will leave a review if asked by a business. Honest reviews will help other consumers decide which products or services are right for them. And they may even increase your website’s local search engine rankings.

Reviews are a local search ranking factor for Google. Google will look at the number of reviews your local business has and whether they are positive or negative. If your local business has a lot of positive reviews, Google may rank your website higher in the local search results.

Link Your Google Business Profile to Your Website

You should link your Google Business Profile to your website. Google Business Profiles, of course, are business listings. For your local business to show up on Google Maps, it needs a Google Business Profile.

When setting up a Google Business Profile, you can enter your website’s URL. It will be displayed as a clickable link in your Google Business Profile. Consumers who visit your Google Business Profile can click it to visit your website. The link will also help Google associate your Google Business Profile with your website.

Build Local Business Citations

Local business citations can help your website rank higher. A local business citation is a snippet of information about a local business. They may include a business’s NAP and a brief description of its products or services.

You can build citations so that search engines know more about your local business. Search engines will use the information in these citations to rank your website and your Google Business Profile. Citations are available on business directories, customer review platforms and social media networks. While some of them have different formatting requirements, you should try to use the same information for all of your citations. Consistency is key to creating local SEO-friendly citations.

It may not offer many local SEO features right out of the box, but WordPress is still a great CMS to use for your local business’s website. You can optimize it for higher local search rankings in several ways. Adding NAP to the footer, downloading a local SEO plugin, creating local content, publishing customer reviews, linking from your Google Business Profile and building citations will improve the local SEO of your WordPress website.