The Minimalist Guide to Local Websites: Ranking and Converting

Drive and Convert Ying-Yang

Building a big business requires you to take small steps. A common micro-tactic is to engage in targeting local traffic. By catering to a niche within a given location, you separate yourself from the massive amounts of macro-competition in your industry.

Of course, designing a website that successfully caters to a local customer base isn’t easy. You’ve got to keep an eye on aesthetics, site architecture, SEO, effective marketing channels, and the ever-increasing focus on Responsive Web Design.

Each of these goals requires forethought. They all have their own methodology, expectations, and pitfalls. Let’s take a look at the steps you’ll take to rank your site and convert its traffic.

Conversion focused design

Assigning a visual hierarchy to on-page elements is paramount to enticing your visitors into venturing down your sales funnel. As such, there are a few areas on which you need to focus:

  • USP
  • Elements above the fold
  • CTAs
  • And RWD

Let’s briefly address each.


Your Unique Selling Proposition is what sets you apart from the competition. Focusing on a local customer base will help to a degree, but you’re fooling yourself if you think you’re competing in a vacuum.

So what sets you apart? It’s not always wise to compete on price point, and everyone aims for excellent customer service. Options will present themselves through comparisons with your competition.

What do they do best? What do you do better, or differently? Remember these three USP maxims:

  1. Be specific
  2. Be concise
  3. Be obvious

Figure your USP out, then advertise it to your clients. And where do should you do that?

Above the fold

It’s been proven repeatedly that content above the fold receives more attention than elements further down the page. According to an eye tracking study performed by Neilson Norman Group, the 100 pixels just above the fold were viewed 102% more often than the 100 pixels just below. To give you an idea of how this looks, check out this heat map.

Taking this knowledge into account, you’ll want to prioritize your content above the fold. That means including your…

CTAs, however, aren’t limited to above the fold placement.

CTAs (Call To Action)

CTAs should be used repetitively throughout your page. Putting them above the fold ensures they’ll get attention, but make sure you give your more thorough visitors a second chance to convert. Still, there’s more to conversion optimization than just placement.

A few tips to making stellar CTAs:

  • Buttons are more effective than links, but both have their uses
  • Succinct=successful—39 characters/7 words is ideal
  • Consider larger sizes and bolder colors for your CTA buttons
  • Aim for descriptive clarity in your copy

The final facet of conversion based design we’ll be covering is mobile compatibility.

RWD (Responsive Web Design)

Optimizing for mobile devices is an absolute essential. Around 70% of all searches performed on mobile devices will result in website interactions within 60 minutes. Taken with the fact that, globally, more mobile devices were used for browsing than desktops in 2014, and you’ve got yourself a bonafide business imperative, namely: build a mobile friendly site. Most design and search marketing firms provide affordable mobile design services these days.

These web design tips only cover the conversion side of the equation. You must also attract the customers you want to convert. You should already be familiar with SEO basics: keyword optimization, performance, authority, and UX. But what do you know about Schema?

A Diabolical Schema

Schema markup is a language you include in your site’s HTML. Its purpose is to explain what your business does to search engines, so they can categorize easily. Schema can explain:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Where you’re located
  • The number of reviews you have

…and much more.


One of the more important schema identifiers for local websites is the LocalBusiness markup. Here’s how it looks in action:

local business schedma markup

Notice that you’re referencing the Schema type immediately. This lets the search engine know you’re speaking about a specific set of attributes with which its familiar. From there, you can see each element is labeled as you go down the block.

This is so search engines know exactly what everything on your page is, and how it’s related to your business. It should be noted, however, that LocalBusiness can often be vaguely interpreted. You can study the list in this Google Doc to find a more specific itemtype.


A useful shortcut is to associate your schema with a preexisting URL that a search engine will already recognize. This is possible with the sameAs property. It’s easy to align your website with a Google+ Business listing, and that way you can save yourself the trouble of customizing all of your schema.

Parting Gifts

There’s a lot more to learn about schema and local SEO in general, so here are a few resources to help you get a deeper understanding:

What other questions or concerns do you have about building local websites that rank and convert? Let us know in the comments section.