If you’re a small business owner who services a particular area, whether it be a city, neighborhood, or collection of towns, you want to make sure when people search for whatever generic service or product you provide in your city, your business gets found before your competitors. One of the best ways to get your business ranked in Google, Yahoo and Bing is to claim your local business listing. Google Places is probably the most known, but Bing Local and Yahoo Local are also in the game and important to getting your local business found.
The gurus who study this stuff have some great tips for making sure that you’ve built out your places and local pages the way you should. If you haven’t already, make sure you claim these pages for your business by going to the links above for each Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Once you’re there, follow these steps:
1) Make sure you include a local address on your place page. Remember the purpose of these pages is to show the search engines that you are a legitimate local business. So including a P.O. Box address or an address that isn’t local doesn’t help you here at all.
2) Make sure you have just one place page associated with your address. If you’re operating 3 or 4 businesses out of one location, the search engines aren’t going to give you a boost in local search rankings.
3) Have different local phone numbers for each business you operate. The search engines frown upon multiple place pages having the same phone number associated with them.
4) Have a business phone number listed first that has a local area code that corresponds to the city your business is located in. This indicates to the search engines that you are truly a local business.
5) Take care when selecting the categories that your business fits in. Use the default categories Google, Bing and Yahoo give you to choose from. They know what people are searching for and may ding you if try to create custom categories that include your keywords.
6) Add images and video to your pages. This helps complete your profile and completed profiles get boosted up higher in the rankings.
7) Solicit customer reviews – these help not only your local search results, but also search engine ranking. Yelp, CitySearch, and even reviews on your local places page all help boost your ranking. Believe it or not, even bad ratings boost your business to the top. It appears that it’s the quantity of rakings, not the quality, that help your business get found in search engines.
8) Keep location keywords out of your place page title – the search engines frown upon this. You should keep this title to the name of your business.
9) Be careful in your description that you don’t put too many keywords. Write this conversationally so that people know what you do.
There are a lot of land mines when it comes to search engine ranking. If you want help navigating them, check out the two step-by-step workbooks we’ve put together for you. Whether you’re a beginner or a little more advanced, we can help demystify this whole SEO game for you so that you are attracting the right clients to your website everyday.