Local search queries on search engines for your business with a website or blog, which includes a specific geographic area, are becoming extremely important in marketing your site. Not only are specific location based website listings gaining immense popularity on the search results, locally based sites are appearing more frequency for non specified search phrases as well. This is primarily because of Google Instant and the ‘real-time’ demands of today’s Web surfer. So what can you as a webmaster do to immediately leverage this growth?
Steps To Take To Grab Your Share Of The Local Listings For Your Business Website:
• Make sure that you claim your business listing on the web, as well as submitting your sites to the following online ‘local’ sites such as:
Best of the Web Local: http://local.botw.org/helpcenter/jumpstartproduct.aspx
Bing Local: https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx
Google Places: www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter
Yahoo Local: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/
• Promote your website, as well as your brand on social media destinations such as Facebook and Twitter, and
• Connect with location awareness sites such as Gowalla and Foursquare, and use their applications.
Each of these methods present excellent ways for your site to get local search engine traffic to your site and business. Also make sure that you are aware of the reasons that will influence how the profile pages from these various Web services are usually returned to the users. Continuously optimizing your local search profiles will also improve your search engine rankings, as well as the chances that your website will be appearing on the first few positions on local search engine query results.
Optimizing Your Profile
While this isn’t technically a page on your site, claiming and then validating local listings on Bing, Google and Yahoo, will drive focused high quality traffic back to you, as well as helping your site to rank higher within the immediate local search results.
Although local listings that are unclaimed, can at times outrank claimed local listings, it’s still vital that you still claim your profiles, as it will give you complete control of what’s displayed to users as well as preventing anyone else from claiming your listings, as well as reputation.
Some Of The Major Ranking Factors You Should Consider When Building Local Search Engine Pages:
Location – Your Physical Address:
You will need to include your physical business address in the city that you live in, in order to rank. This is especially important if you live in a larger city. There may be some exceptions, especially if you live in a smaller town. However, if the search query can’t find enough matches, the search engines may then show results from a neighboring town.
But for your business however, a physical location is one of the biggest ranking factors when it comes to local search. Make sure that you include as much pertinent information as possible, including longitude and latitude data if available.
Make sure that you place your business in the proper category. If there is a secondary category choice available, select a few of them as well, just to test which ones will influence or improve your position as well as traffic.
Your Business Name:
Make sure that you use your business name in the “Title” Tag of your profile listing. When you have keywords or a keyword in your business name, that may improve ranking, but it’s not recommended that you saturate (spam) the listings with your target keywords.
For Example: If you own a Soup and Sandwich deli named Chuckle’s, and your local listing only displays “Chuckle’s,” consider changing the profile listing to “Chuckle’s Sandwich Deli”. There will be a lot who will use the keywords “sandwich deli cafe” when searching for your business.
Citations are when your business happens to be mentioned (but doesn’t necessarily have to be linked to) somewhere on the Web. The more citations, like links, that you have the better. Citations will build trust within the search engines as well as giving you a ‘kick’ when it comes to your sits ranking, especially with Google Maps.
You will be able to see your citations on your Google Places page under “What are people saying about you.” Check out the competition as well as making sure that you make some type of attempt to get citations from related sources.
Reviews and Ratings:
Good reviews and ratings will obviously have a positive effect on your local profile listings rank, but it should also help the click-through rate as well. Make sure that you encourage your existing clients to submit their reviews as well as ratings and reward them when they do so.
Make sure that you take the time to fill out your local profile pages correctly and completely. Include your business hours, your payment options/methods, and write a well-written detailed description of what your business offers.
Add pictures if possible, as well as videos when available. Also make sure that the information on your local profile pages are consistent across all the different directories.
Remember to claim as well as submit all of your sites to the primary local providers (as listed above,) as well as testing and tweaking different profile information and combination’s to find out which of the influences will return list position as well as website traffic. While it may be tedious and time consuming to complete and validate your sites, the effort will be more than worth it in the form of increased local traffic.