With the option for users to search for local businesses, the search engine results will be filtered by location. Searching for a local business becomes easy and as a search engine user you will have fast results. For example, if I want to do a local search for a cotton candy business in Vancouver, all I have to search for is: cotton candy Vancouver.
On the other hand, if your business website is not optimized as a local business website, it will be left behind and won’t show up in the local search results. To my big surprise a lot of websites are not optimized for local SEO.
Do a local search for your business and see what pops up in the search results (type in Google or Bing: [your business name] and the location of your business). Is it showing up with the proper info? Do you see a map with a pointer to your business? Did you claim your business? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, please continue reading as I will show you how you can improve the quality of your listing in a local search. Before we continue, make sure that all the basic info is easy accessible on your website:
If your site already exists on Google places, but you don’t have access to the control panel, you can ask for a verification call or a postcard to verify that you’re the business owner. For more info about this, please look at the Google support page for this matter.
Optimize your website for local SEO
After setting up a Google Places account, you can continue optimizing your website. First change the title of your homepage. For example, if you own a roof repair business in Vancouver: “Master Roof | Roof Repair in Vancouver”. You can further optimize the meta tags, content and images as you would with traditional SEO.
Get your website listed, be consistent
Make sure you submit your website to online directories, Yelp and especially directories that focus on local businesses in your area. consistency is really important, otherwise search engines might get confused. Make sure you enter the same information in all directories. What helps is to create a spreadsheet for yourself with all your business info. You can simply copy and paste the same info in all directories. I highly suggest you doing that.[bctt tweet=”Ever heard about Local SEO? Optimize your business website for better local visibility.”]
User reviews are good for SEO
Don’t be afraid to ask for user reviews. This is really important for your business. Gmail users can easily submit a review for your business in Google. If you have a mailing list, I suggest you send out an email to your Gmail customers and ask them to write a review. And if you get a review that is not so good, make sure you answer it promptly. Not everybody will always be happy with your services (you can’t please everybody), but following up on bad reviews also shows that you care for their opinion and you want to resolve their issues in a timely manner.
Get listed on Bing and Yahoo!
After you created a Google Places account, setup your business and optimized your website, it is time to do the same for other major search engines. You can list your site on Bing Places, but you need a Microsoft account to do so. To create a Yahoo! Small Business account, click here.
Help and advise
I am curious about the improvements in your rankings after implementing the local search optimization in your business website. Do you have questions, need help or advice in claiming, optimizing or promoting your business on Google, Yahoo! or Bing, please contact me or use the comment option on this page.