How to Make Your Business Show Up in Local Searches
Attention local businesses – Use local search or get lost in the shuffle.
Old-timers may recall those thick yellow page directories that people used to use to look up a plumber or locksmith. Most of us have dumped them in the recycling bin and now rely on search engines, primarily Google, to find a local business or service.
If you run a business that serves a local clientele, it’s imperative that you understand how to make yourself visible to your potential customers who are searching in their geographical location. This article will focus on how you can maximize your visibility via Google, statistically the #1 method people search for anything.
The basics: What does Google do?
Google aims to provide relevant results to people searching for local business providers. They correlate information between smartphone, GPS, and locally-driven searches to ensure that local search results are as accurate as possible. Certain criteria is weighted differently than others in the algorithm so you need to ensure that you’re addressing all of the top ranking factors appropriately.
The Google Local Search Algorithm is a formula that encompasses many factors that rank local businesses based on the weighted criteria. The upside of this is that if you follow these recommendations, it should translate into higher rankings in the local search results.
Top 4 Location-Specific Steps You Can Take:
- Get a Google Places account and make sure your business information is accurate. This is the biggest ranking factor for Google. Check your business name, address, and telephone number, referred to as “NAP” for Name, Address and Phone. It can be a virtual death sentence if this information is not consistent across online directories. If there are multiple citations of accurate information for your business, then Google will rank that in your favor.
- Boost the frequency of listings of your business information. Make your business contact information accessible and consistent on your website and in other internet locations. Google will crawl your page to see if you have this information readily viewable, so placing it in the footer is a common practice. For off-site optimization, it’s helpful to submit your information to local directory sites because this will add inbound links (which Google likes) and also gives Google more opportunities to verify your information (also good).
- Encourage reviews on your website (“onsite”) and in other review sites (“offsite”). When you’re choosing to visit a business, you’re likely to be positively influenced by reviews and feedback. Google is also likely to rank that same business higher in local searches. Have your business set up on social media sites such as Facebook, Yelp, and Google+ because the reviews are easily integrated with your search listing. Using Google+ MyBusiness not only verifies your listing with Google, but the reviews will show up in your search result, adding to your online reputation.
- Proximity to Search Location
When searching locally, most people are looking within a 5-mile radius of their location. If you are in a specific neighborhood within your city, it’s best practice to include that neighborhood within your content and listings.
We’ve been talking about Google, but our recommendations apply to Bing and Yahoo search engines as well. Keep in mind that Google captures 90% of all search traffic across all devices.
What else can I do to boost my local search presence?
Take action on our recommendations in this article. Follow best practices for traditional SEO and run your business well so that users give you a great reviews online.
A “listing service” is often the easiest way to make sure your listings are standardized and appear in as many places as possible. Our Local Site Submit service enables you to proactively be seen on Google and the local business directories. We hand submit your business information to each and every directory. The local site submission process is easy, because you only have to enter your business data once.
- Fast completion
- Inexpensive cost ($250 one-time charge)
- Robust listings
- Consistent NAP data
- A Local Site Submit Completion Report
- Additional monthly reports for $10 a month
If you want more advice… contact us anytime for a free consultation and estimate.