Tips for Improving Your Business’s Local Search Rankings


Search engines offer many features that make search engine optimization (SEO) that make it easy for local businesses to become easily discoverable in their neighborhood. While it may feel unrealistic for your small business to dominate the search rankings, these tips can help existing and potential customers find your business with ease.

Before you can take advantage of local SEO, you need to establish that yes, you own a local business. Just because you’re a small business, or only have one location, doesn’t mean you’re truly a local business. If your company runs exclusively online and serves customers beyond your local community, you are not local. If you have a storefront, or only provide services within a local area, you have a local business. Additionally, a local business needs a local phone number and an address.

“Searching in Google (or any other search engine) for a hairdresser or a dentist will result in a list of hairdressers or dentists in your local community. So, local search appears to happen spontaneously! However, in order to give a (high) ranking, Google does need to know the exact location of your business. Above that, Google needs to know what type of business you provide.” ~ Yoast

1) Claim your pages

Your business may already have a profile on Google or Yelp created by your customers or the platform. Claim your pages immediately so you have the opportunity to control information about your business; there will be a link on the page allowing you to do so. Check Google and Bing Places for Business, Yahoo! Local Listing and Yelp first, but also see if your business is listed in Facebook and Foursquare. Create or claim pages on all of these sites and any other online directories and fill out complete profiles.

2) Name, address and phone number everywhere

Now that your business is listed across several sites, make sure your basic information is the same everywhere. At minimum your name, address and phone number should be included on every platform, and when possible, your website. Your website should also include a footer with name, address and phone number so that it appears on every page. The more places your information it is, the easier it is for search engines to know a listing is your business and worthwhile to the searcher.

3) Create localized keywords

Keywords are a standard SEO tool, so local SEO requires local keywords. Add your city to any keywords you might use; for example, using “Dallas flower shop” instead of “flower shop.” Don’t forget to use these keywords in your descriptions on the directory sites mentioned above and in your social media. Text from these sites is included in search results, and now even from individual tweets.

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