Think local! Whether your business provides a service only in your hometown or sells to customers all around the world, the local market is one area you should not ignore. When potential customers search in Google for a particular product or service, local SEO results come up first. If you’re a service business (think plumber or electrician) you must show up in these local results to stay competitive. But even if your business is not limited to your local area, showing up in local listings still gives you an advantage. Take advantage of this by optimizing your site for local SEO searches.
The good news? It’s pretty easy! First, you’ll need to have a Google My Business account set up with your address in order to be found within Google Places. If you haven’t set up your Google My Business account do it now and ensure you are shown on Google Maps. Make sure your information is correct – business name, phone number, address, etc.
Next, make sure that your business contact information is visible on your website. The easiest way to do this is to add it to the footer so that it is shown on every page. You’ll also want to make sure that it is on your contact page. If your business is limited to a geographic area, you should make that clear on your home page and other pages. For example, if you are located in St. Catharines and serve the Niagara area, you should include that on your home page.
Now that you have your Google My Business account set up and your location information added to your website, there are a few more things you can do to improve your local search rankings:
- Be listed in Local Directories. You’re trying to reach local customers so it only makes sense. Plus, it
will help your ranking. There may be various local directories in your community where you can put your business’s contact information. Being listed in business directories helps Google see that you are a legitimate business. Look for business association websites, local business groups, trade association sites, local publications and shop local directories. Keep a list of every directory you list your business on (you’ll see why later!).
- Get your customers to review your business. When your business shows up in the map of local results, you want that star ranking to show! Customers do look at reviews before deciding where they want to conduct business or buy a product. The more positive reviews you can receive from happy customers the more customers you will have. And, of course, getting more reviews helps with your search ranking. You can do this manually or use an online reputation and review service.
- Consistency is key — your contact information needs to be the same everywhere. Make sure you spell everything the same and use the same address format. Don’t use Elm St. in one place and Elm Street in another. If you move locations or change the phone number you need to update everything – your Google My Business account, your website, and any local directories. Remember that list of local directories? Now is the time to use it! If you forget to change something not only will customers be confused but search engines will also get confused which could negatively affect your rankings.
- Mobile friendliness is super important. More and more searches are being done on mobile devices and tablets. If your website isn’t mobile friendly you are missing out on a wide variety of potential customers. Search engines also consider mobile friendliness as a ranking factor. If you haven’t checked out your website on a phone, do it now. Pretend you’re a customer and go through the site. If it’s difficult to use your site on a phone, customers will just give up and move on to the next search result. Make note of any difficulties you have or improvements you could make and get your website updated ASAP.
If you have any questions about getting your business optimized for local SEO searches, please feel free to reach out. We can help.