Increasing rankings within local search isn’t rocket science, however it is something that takes time and effort. These steps can help local businesses build a larger presence online, which can result in an increase in traffic, revenue, and profit.
- Keyword Research – Finding what keywords to focus on is important to both businesses ranking globally and locally. Often business owners believe they have a good idea on what users are searching, however after researching keywords you’ll be surprised what terms are being searched. Once you have selected keywords to go after you’ll need to track these keywords. Monitor the drops and gains of the terms you are focusing on to see what is working.
- Optimize Your Pages – After selecting keywords, it’s time to implement them into your site. This means making sure your title, meta descriptions, headers, etc., are all properly filled out with your focused keywords. Use your location within these tags as well, this will show search engines your company is in a specific region or location. For instance, if you are a Polish restaurant in Denver Colorado, you’ll want a title tag that looks similar to the following
Polish Restaurant in Denver, Colorado | ‘Restaurant Name’
Note: Avoid keyword stuffing, this will throw up red flags to Google.
This is how you DON’T want your tags to appear
Polish restaurant, polish food, polish diner, denver polish food, polish food in Denver, Colorado polish food, polish food in Colorado – ‘Restaurant Name’
- Get Listed on Google Business – If you want to be found on Google, you’ll need to get listed on Google Business.Google Places for Business allows for businesses to be listed within Google local searches and Google Maps. If your business has a brick and mortar store it’s necessary for your business to implement Google Business. There’s a verification process that needs to be done to get listed, and helps Google verify the company is legitimate.
- Get Some Reviews – After customers have visited your business, ask them to leave reviews on their experience. 90% of consumers read reviews on products before making a purchase, this is similar to customers searching for services and trades. Don’t be pushy when asking for reviews from your customers, encourage them to share their experience. If you have a email or mailing list, simply add in a small link to where users can leave a review. Once a customer leaves your store, ask them to leave a review when they get home. Keep in mind people may forget to do this task, so having them do it on their mobile device in person can be much more efficient. Have them leave real, honest reviews as well. These will appear as genuine reviews to potential customers, rather than fake reviews which people are skeptical of.
- Add Content to Your Site – Adding content to your site, especially through a blog, is beneficial on many levels. First, it’s a great way to get information to your potential customers. For instance, if you are a plumber and often see people asking questions about how to snake a drain, you can provide a step by step guide on how to do this at home. People often search for answers before calling a professional. Now this new content can be an excellent way to bring in back links to your site as well. A great step by step guide may be useful to a user, thus they decide to share it on their site with their followers. Search engines also love to see new content being added to a site on a regular basis, it shows the site is always being updated and adding value to the web. Within this content you can also use your keywords along with locations and neighborhoods, further influencing search engines to rank your site better.
- Check Your Site’s Speed – This is often something that is overlooked with smaller sites and businesses. However, a slow site can negatively affect your SEO, specifically local rankings. When a user tries to view your page and it takes longer than 2 seconds to load, the user will click back, increasing your bounce rate. Search engines hate to see pages with high bounce rates, it shows that the page is not related to the terms people are searching. Use Google’s site speed test to check your site’s score.
- Make Your Site Mobile Friendly – Roughly 60% of searches done on Google come from mobile devices, and Google expects this number to increase. With that being said it’s vital businesses change with the trends, meaning they need to mobile friendly. Depending on your site’s platform, it’s quite simple to convert a site to mobile, and it’s very important to do.
- Add Your Company to Business Directories/Listings – Submitting your site to business listings and directories is an easy way to build new back links along with build your brand. Within these listings you can add your phone number, address, website URL, and a description about the company. Within your description utilize keywords which will help rankings within local search. To get started submit your company to these 25 business listings.
- Build a Social Presence – Give your customers a way to follow news, products, and trends with your company. Build a social presence with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIN, etc. Users can leave reviews, interact with the business, ask questions, see new products, etc. Offer coupons and discounts through social media to entice users to follow and engage with your brand.
- Build New Backlinks – You should always be building new backlinks to your site. This is the number one way to increase your local listing location, and is also the most time consuming. There’s many different ways to build back links and many services that will do it for businesses. Always remember ‘quality over quantity’, one great links form a high quality, relevant site is much more beneficial than a hundred links from poor sites.