Optimization for Local Search

The internet is an amazing thing; it takes the world-wide web and makes it as accessible as the store down the street. But there is great value and power in shopping local and supporting your home community. Likewise, it is vital for a business to have a dynamic presence within its own zip code as well as on the internet. When it comes to local SEO, it’s of vital importance that you optimize your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for clients and customers who may be searching for your local business. Local competition is fierce, and if you’re not on top of your rankings, you can bet your competitors will be.

The first thing you will want to do is establish that you are who you say you are and you are located where you say you are. Include the name of the city your business is in and/or the area your business serves. Opt for a local phone number. List your company’s local phone number instead of a toll-free number. Google prefers to see a local number that is consistent with your geographical location. Avoid errors or accidental eliminations like misspellings, abbreviations, lack of suite number and wrong phone number can cause Google to have problems determining which information about your business is correct. They may display incorrect information — or not show your business in the search results at all. Be sure that any and all local directory listings include the same local information that you provide on your actual website. If the information is not uniform you put your local web presence in jeopardy. Continuity is key!

Keywords are vital. Who are you and what are you doing? Focus on using one targeted keyword and carefully place that keyword as close to the beginning of your listing/tag as possible. Remember, if your business shows up in the search results, you have one shot to get that person to click on your link. Don’t blow it by wasting characters that won’t help convince a searcher you’re worth looking at.

It is very important for local businesses to claim their place on the Google My Business page. It’s free and can garner you excellent exposure if you’re optimized enough to show up in Google’s local listings. Google wants to confirm that your business is legitimate, and that you are actually the business owner. Please note that according to Google’s terms of service, only the business owner can claim a Google My Business page.

If you have a presence on Facebook or other social media, don’t forget to give these your attention as well. Many people turn to social media, relying on their friends and family for referrals and opinions on a given business. A good review on your business’s Facebook page can help to draw in prospective customers. Positive reviews on your Google My Business page are fundamental, as these reviews show up on Google when someone searches for your business.

Once your site has been located, it’s essential that you provide content that is interesting, educational, and includes attractive images and video about your business. Search engines rank websites based on content, therefore it is imperative that you develop strategies to build content that Google loves. The more engaging content you include, the more likely search engines will refer traffic and leads to your business.

You are the best at what you do, right? Give your customers a forum to let the world know it! One of the most important aspects of having a strong identity on Google is the ability for customers and fans to submit reviews about your business. Reviews, in particular those submitted via Google, are a primary factor in Google’s local blended search algorithm.

Lastly, be mindful of your links. Link building continues to be a primary factor considered by Google when ranking businesses for local search. Even a few high quality backlinks can make a huge difference in getting your businesses ranked in local search, bolstering your reputation within your community and establishing you as a leading authority in your industry.