By Adam Wagner | Raindrop Marketing Digital Marketing Strategist
Local Search is an incredibly powerful medium for small businesses and national corporations with local offices or retail space.
It allows your business to rank prominently for important terms and it provides a resource for your customers to leave public feedback. If maintained properly your Local Search properties will be a major resource for gaining new customers. In this post we are going to explore ways to boost the rankings of your Local Search properties to make sure that your business appears on the first page of Google.
What is Local Search?
Local Search is any web property that aggregates local business information such as Google Places, Yelp, Citysearch, etc. The most prominent of these is Google Places (the map listings that appear in your Google searches), check out the example below. All of these providers allow you to claim your business listing(s) in order to keep the information current. Once you have claimed your listing(s) the next step is to optimize them for your targeted keywords in order to increase rankings.
The easiest step in increasing rankings is deciding which keywords you would like to rank for and then optimizing your listing(s) for those keywords. For example, if your business is new luxury apartment complex that is located in San Diego, Ca, then you probably want to target keywords such as “Luxury Apartment San Diego”. You can use the Google Keyword tool to find out what people are searching for.
With keywords in hand take a few minutes to update the below elements on a given Local Search page:
You should weave in both your business title and keyword(s) into each of these.
Google prefers to rank listings that have been filled out by the business owner. Therefore, you should take the time to upload images and/or videos to your page. Show people what your offices look like and what types of products you sell.
Reviews are the second most important element of increasing Local Search rankings. After you have optimized your listing with keywords and content it is time to capture reviews. Reviews provide a two-fold benefit – improved rankings and feedback from consumers. Google gives more weight to listings with a large number of reviews, so by capturing reviews you are showing Google that your listing is important and it will then see increased rankings.
In order to capture your first reviews, send your listing to co-workers, friends and family and ask them to give you a positive review. Once you gain some momentum your listing will organically attract more reviews as it becomes more visible.
A new development in the Local Search arena is Local Citations, which are second and third level Local Search properties. These are the properties that generally do not rank on the first page and that a normal searcher has never heard of. However, Google counts the number of Local Citations that each listing has and will rank listings with a lot of Citations higher than those with few Citations. Therefore, it is valuable to take the time to claim these lesser properties.GetListed.org is a great resource for helping you find and claim Local Citations.
Do not neglect Local Search! Local Search is a valuable resource for your business that with a few steps can be claimed and optimized to provide increased rankings. If you have any questions about Local Search for your business or would like help with the optimization process please contact us. Good luck!