Improving your search rankings can be hard work. And for local businesses it can be even harder to get noticed. But never fear there is a way. Local search for small businesses has exploded over the last few years. Now the local bakery, flower shop, and furniture store can get noticed too. In fact many of them are being noticed. There are two questions for you though. One are you being noticed? And two are you saying the right thing? With a bit of local search engine optimization you can make sure both happens.
Local search is important for small businesses no doubt about it. There is a huge opportunity and you should be taking advantage of it. But to get noticed you need to get listed. And with each listing you need the right information. So what do you do?
Well your first step for building your local search presence should be to compile a list of local directories to submit to. Of course Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local should be at the top of the list. From there you’ll want to get listed with as many secondary sources as possible. Such sources include SuperPages.com, YellowBook.com, Brownbook.net, MerchantCircle.com and so on. There are a lot of directories that you can get listed on so it’ll take some time to build your list. But these directories are going to be important to your online search engine optimization efforts. So find as many as you can.
The next step is all about your submission. Each directory is going to ask you for certain business information. This is where you are going to be doing you local search engine optimization. And the first thing to remember is to be consistent. The big search engines use directories to verify and support information that they already have. If you list your business under one name with Google Places and another with SuperPages.com you’re just going to confuse everybody.
So what kind of information will you need for your local search engine optimization efforts?
1. Business title.
What name are you operating under? Is it “Andy’s Auto Clinic” or “Andy’s Automotive Clinic”? The easy thing to do here is to use your legal name or DBA. Just make sure you stick to it for every listing.
2. Business Description.Before you start your submissions write out a thorough description of what you do. And make sure to include keywords about your business. If you do “custom car restoration” then say so. But don’t “stuff” your listing with keywords. That’ll only hurt you in the long run.
3. Your location.This is a must for local businesses. You need to make sure to include a location. And if your business is in a particular suite number make sure to include it. Your building may have other businesses in it and if they don’t include a suite number then there may be some confusion. And if you haven’t already done it put your address on your website. Preferably in the footer of each page but at the least in the contact us page. Search engines like to read addresses on websites.
4. Contact Information.Put your phone number in your listing. Office numbers and fax numbers should be listed. How else will potential customers reach you? Many listings will allow an email. Including a general customer service email for the business is a good idea.
5. Photos and videos.These aren’t totally necessary for helping search engine list you in local search results but if you have them include them. Even something as simple as a business logo helps build trust with potential customers.
6. Website URL.This should always be included, assuming you have a website. It’s important not only for the link you just created but it also helps people to visit your website and find out more about your business.
7. Hours of operation.This is optional information that directories will be asking for. If you keep formal hours then include them in your listing. They will show up in local search results and is just a good piece of information for potential customers to see.
8. Payment.Again this isn’t necessary but can help with the user experience.
If you’re planning on setting up your local listings yourself then these are some important points to consider. Stay consistent with your listings and you’ll soon be getting noticed.