Whether you’re a small business owner, or a large corporation, you think big. You want the world to know that your doors are open and you’re ready for business. That being said, there are times when it pays to think small. What do I mean by that?
Particularly, if you own a small family business, such as a local restaurant, you’re likely not resting your retirement plan on world domination. At least not at first. Rather, you want to earn in name in the local community. In order to do that, your customers need to easily find you by performing a quick online search, whereby your business info readily pops up, hopefully in the first one or two results.
How do you make sure you’re in the top Google results? Well, today I’ll hand you a few tips to make sure you’re loved by Google so that you perform well on a local search.
7 Tips to Make Sure You Show up on Local Search
On Your Own Site:
1. Develop Optimized Content
Every blog post you create is another page for Google to crawl for more info about your business.
Let’s say you’re a fish market located in Portsmouth, NH. Your specialty item is shark meat. You don’t want to robotically plaster the words “shark meat” all over your site pages.
Rather, by creating a blog post with long tail keywords such as “shark meat in Portsmouth, NH”, “best shark meat in New Hampshire,” and the like, you’ll create an organic way for your customers (and Google) to find you and your shark meat.
Remember to always optimize these crucial elements on every page:
- Page headers
- Internal links
- Images (alt descriptions)
- Page content
- Meta descriptions
2. Set up Your NAP
Your NAP (name, address, phone number) needs to be consistently included throughout your site. One the best ways to do this is to include it in the footer of your site pages. Of course, you’ll also want to include this info on your About Us page or Contact Us page.
There are a couple of common mistakes to avoid, however.
- Do not include your NAP as an image. Text in images can’t be crawled by search engines.
- Do not use variations of your address (County Rd., County Road). Stay consistent
3. Create Local Content
Not only does Google search for precise keywords about your business, but it looks for clues as to what your business is all about.
Therefore, creating content about local issues, other local businesses that complement your business (your fish supplier or the local guy who hand-crafted your dining tables), and your community in general will help to drill down your location, as well as what you’re all about. Doing this also created goodwill between you and your neighbors.
On Local Profile Pages:
4. Create and Verify Local Profiles on Google+ and Facebook
You may have thought Google+ has all but disappeared. In fact, you likely don’t give it a second thought when it comes to your social life. However, Google+ is a must-have when it comes to local search.
You know all those little star reviews you see when you Google a local business? Those reviews are only possible because the business has set up a local profile on Google+. You want reviews like that, too. So make sure you set up and verify your local profile on Google+.
Facebook reviews and comments about your business also help search engines identify your business and point customers in the right direction.
Once you have a profile, make sure to verify it as a local business. This process usually doesn’t take more than a few days. However, some have reported not receiving notice of verification for weeks, so you’ll want to stay on top of this and make sure you see the process through.
5. Remove Duplicate Listings
Having duplicate entries for your business is confusing to customers. Take the guess work out of their search by removing duplicate listings on Google Map Maker.
6. Get More Backlinks
The more organizations your business is listed among, the better. Some of these might include your local Chamber of Commerce, trade associations, and affiliates.
For instance, one local bank started a partner program for local listings. In exchange for being listed in the program, the business owner receives discounts at other local businesses, as well as free publicity from being a program affiliate.
7. Build a Fan Base with Yelp and Other Review Sites
While you might ask customers to leave you a review on Google or Facebook, Yelp’s policy is that you can let customers know that you are on Yelp, but you can’t ask for reviews.
However, there are plenty of ways to open the door for your customers to leave you a review on Yelp.
- Include the Yelp badge on your site and in other marketing materials
- Create incentives on the Yelp app to check in (check in now to receive a free appetizer)
- Creatively display Yelp reviews as did the Swig & Swine BBQ joint:
So, start small, but think big. Don’t forget about the people who helped you grow your business. Your local fans are the ones who make you great! And who knows, they may help your world domination plan come to fruition after all.