As a small business targeting potential customers in your local community, it’s important to rank high in local search results. Studies have shown that 85% of consumers search the internet to find local businesses. It’s as good a time as any to start thinking about a local SEO marketing strategy. With services like Google Places and Yelp, your business can show up in search results even if you don’t have a website. That being said, it’s still incredibly valuable to create a website for your business.
In this post, I examine three quick and easy ways to improve local search rankings for your business.
1. Local business profiles
To determine the authenticity of a physical business, Google references data from many sources, especially online yellow page services. Some of these services, as well as local business search sites, rely on user contribution for their data. As a business owner, ensuring this data is accurate and consistent on the web is crucial. If you notice any discrepancies, take action as soon as you can. For new business owners, here’s the best way to get started:
- Google Places for Business has a signup process that is fast and easy, and it will give you instant visibility online. If a customer searches for your business in Google, your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and other information will appear in the knowledge graph on the right-hand side of the search engine results page.
- Yelp is another important place to promote your business. You can create a free account in just a few minutes, and users searching for a particular business will often see a Yelp information page as one of the top results. Similar to Google Places, you’ll want to enter your business name and all other pertinent information when you sign up.
- While Google Places and Yelp are used most often for business searches, you should also consider these options: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Yahoo! Local.
2. Keywords, metadata, domain names
If you already have a website for your business, the most important information to have on your site, in terms of search ranking, is your business name, address, and phone number. Google will look for this information on your site and analyze it for accuracy and consistency with other sites that host your information. It’s also a good idea to post this information on every page of your website.
If you don’t have a website yet for your business, you should get started building one right away. The first step is choosing the right domain name, and using your business name is a safe bet as long as it isn’t too long. Next, it is important to make sure your homepage title tag is optimized properly. A title tag is the main text that describes one page of a website. In the example below, the title tag is “Jimdo Blog – Pages to the People.”
For small businesses, I suggest setting your homepage title tag as follows: industry-specific keyword(s) – city, state abbreviation – business name. If you are in the furniture business, this would be a great example:
- Furniture Store – San Francisco, CA – Asterisk Furnishings
It’s important to remember that most title tags are truncated in search results after 55-60 characters (including spaces), so consider this before getting started.
3. Build a blog
Once you’ve built your business website, your goal is to get your visitors to return. The best way to do that is to create a blog. It will help you get discovered online as you build content, and it will also support potential email marketing and social media initiatives. It’s also a great way to establish your brand by communicating your values, sharing your experience and expertise, and humanizing your marketing.
If you’re ready to get started, consider these tips:
- Identify your target audience and write content that will be of interest to them.
- Establish categories and topic ideas before getting started.
- Commit yourself or your team to posting at least once per week.
- Use an email marketing service to broadcast your posts and updates.
I hope you enjoyed this post. It’s a great starting point for advice on local SEO marketing. I’ll look to expand on this subject in the near future. In the meantime, are there any questions you have about local SEO for businesses? Is there anything in particular you’d like us to expand on? Let us know in the comments section.