The World Wide Web is an incredible tool that has broken down borders and enabled business professionals to expand their reach to achieve global possibilities. For most small to medium sized businesses, however, the ultimate goal isn’t to gain exposure across the world, but rather to increase their reach locally. So, how does one narrow down their SEO efforts to focus on those prospects that are nearby? How do you ensure that when someone searches for the products or services that you offer in your home town, your business will be at the top of the list? Here are a few simple ways that you can boost your local search rankings and get results.
Take Advantage of Location-Based Platforms – One of the most effective ways of improving your rankings for local searches is to claim your business on various location-based platforms, such as Google Places, Facebook Places and Foursquare.
Use the Right Categories for Your Business – The goal is to make your website as easy to identify as possible to search engine crawlers, so avoid using terms that are too specific. For instance, if your business involves home renovations, choose simpler terms that your potential clients might be searching with, such as “home repair” or “painting”, rather than obscure terms that go into too much detail.
Get Links from Local Sites – Part of establishing a solid link building campaign that drives local traffic to your website is obtaining quality links from other local sources. You may also consider submitting your business to local directories, community listings and other resource sites that are location-based.
Make Sure Your Contact Info is Crawlable – In order for web crawlers to accurately determine your location, your contact information, including your address and phone number, must be in text form on your website, and not just embedded in an image. It’s also important for local SEO ranking that the city in which you want to be found is included in the physical address you have listed.
Use the Right Keywords – Using the right keywords is the golden rule of effective SEO, even more so when it comes to local search ranking. Be sure you are utilizing the right terms or phrases that target the local prospects in your area that may be searching for you. You can use the free keyword tool from Google to help determine which terms would return the best results for your business.
Ask for Reviews – Some businesses shy away from reviews for fear that something negative might crop up, defeating the purpose, but the truth is online reviews can have a positive impact on your local search ranking. Ask friends, associates and happy customers to consider leaving you a positive review on a site like Yelp, or recommending your business on LinkedIn.
With 97% of consumers using the Internet to search for local products and services, only those businesses that show up at the top of those search results will benefit. These simple techniques will help you improve your local rankings and get your business noticed when and where it counts.