Local Search Engine Optimization Basics – Part 2
Welcome back to our two part (maybe more!) series that talks about simple and essential methods that you can use to start gaining a respectable rank in what’s called the “local” search engine results from Google. You know what I mean – when you type in a geographical location keyword – then followed by some sort of service, e.g. “Los Angeles Pizza Delivery”. Google returns a list of ten local businesses depending on what you typed in, with a map to the left of it.
The reason it’s important for your business to appear in these listings for all the services or local products that you sell, is because your average internet user, who is searching for something in particular, will typically click within the first range of results that the see. In the case of local searches, chances are, they’re going to click one of those ten local results that come up – and that’s what we went over in the first part of the series, along with different tactics you can use to get your business ranked within those ten phrases on keywords and keyphrases that are important to you.
In the first part of this local seo series, we talked about three aspects of local SEO:
1. Make sure to include the phrases you want people to find you by, on your actual website. For example, if you want consumers to find you by typing in “Boston Italian Restaurant” – then it would be in your best interest to work that phrase in your site somewhere.
2. Update all of your business listings in the big online yellow pages sites. It may take a days work to do it, but its well worth it to have accurate listings.
3. Encourage, but don’t demand reviews of your business. Google provides customers a way to review a business that they’ve used that shows up in local results. Not sure what kind of a factor it plays in rankings – but it doesn’t hurt, mainly for giving a potential customer piece of mind AND it helps them decide on which service to use. For example, if your listing has 4 good reviews, and your competitor has none, who do you think they’ll pick? You!
Photo Courtesy Of A30 Tsitika
So, today, let’s talk about other important factors of getting ranked in the local search results. I’ll do these in list form so that it’s easier to scan and pick up key points.
1. Make your address well known. Make sure to include your business address and telephone number on your page (usually in the footer) of every possible page of your site. Mainly, you want this text to be crawlable, and a general rule of thumb is – if you can highlight it, Google can see it.
2. Google Local Business Center – Have you actually taken the time to add your site to the Google Local Business Center? This is perhaps one of the most important steps you can take to get listed, and even if you are listed, make sure to sign up and edit your business info so that it’s completely accurate.
3. Longevity is key. The longer your business is ranked in the local results, the higher you’ll rank over time. Fly by night and new businesses don’t have a real chance at outranking the vets. So if your business is new, you’ll have to suffer through a period of time where Google decides to trust if you’re in it for the long haul or not. Editing all of your local listings should help – as it shows you made an effort to get everything right, telling big G that you’ll be around for the long haul. Another trick that comes from the regular SEO world – register the domain name of your business for the maximum term. It’s been said that Google checks WHOIS data, and if they see you’re registered for a long time, they may lend more trust to your site.
4. Incoming links are like big shiny diamonds. Probably the most important part of this entire ordeal, especially for the long run, is the amount of people linking to your website. Just like in regular SEO, links are what puts you in the top seat. The more, the merrier (well, usually) – especially, if you manage to get strong incoming links where the other site uses a localized anchor text. For example – I own a Florist in Chicago, and on my website, I link to my favorite local pizza place using the anchor text “Chicago Pizza Delivery”. That’s going to help that pizza places’ website in the rankings tremendously. A local incoming link, using a geo targeted anchor, is like gold. The more of these you can get, the higher you’ll rank, I promise you. If you know other business owners in your area, do whatever you have to do (legally, of course) to get them to link to you. Remember, one way links are 100 times more powerful than reciprocal, so if you don’t have to “trade” links, don’t. You just want them to link to you, using specific anchor text.
With the above four tips, and the ones from Monday (which are also listed above), you should be able to get your website listed in the local results rather easily. This is going to make a noticeable difference in the amount of business you do over time, and for most small business owners, hiring someone to perform this on your site is well worth it. But that’s the thing – all of the things I listed above? Anyone can do it! If you have even novice internet skills, with a little research, you could probably knock out everything I’ve told you in a matter of a couple weeks. I can’t say this enough, but, it’s well worth your time, and may make a significant positive impact on the books.