Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial for any business. It is important for your business to show up in search results since this is where people go to look for business services.
But what about Local SEO? This is also very important for your small business. Instead of searching the phone book for the local handyman, people are searching online for businesses “near me.” For example, if I search for “restaurants near me” a list of restaurants pop up near me along with the map section. This is what is referred to as local search, and it is essential for your small business. Follow these steps to make sure your business ranks in the local search.
1. Create a Google Business Page
A Google My Business page is like having a profile page for your local business with all of your key information. Make sure you use the correct keywords and business categories so your page shows up in the Google Maps and Search section. You will need to have your page verified by getting a postcard sent to your business address. Once all the information is filled out your page will go live and be searchable.
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2. Create a Bing Business Page
While Google is the largest search engine, Bing is also a major search engine. Bing has their own version of business pages called Bing Places for Business. Setting up your Bing business page is similar to setting up a Google business page. Enter all of your information for your business and make sure it is consistent with your other pages. Verify your Bing page so it will go live. After your Bing page is live you can be ensured to catch all the customers who may search for services on Bing instead of Google.
3. Get on Local Business Directories
Although very few people use phone books anymore, that doesn’t mean directories are dead, they have simply moved online. They have been replaced by websites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, Dex, Manta and many more. Find out which directories are most useful and fit best with your services. Then make sure your site is listed on as many of these directories as possible. Having your business listed on these directories will help provide additional exposure for your company and boost your online presence.
4. Get Reviews for Your Business
Many directories and business profile pages allow your customers to leave reviews of your business. Yelp, Facebook, and Google pages are all very important sites to have reviews on, since everybody is familiar with these sites. These ratings not only allow customers to see how your company rates, but they also contribute towards how your company ranks in online search results. Ask customers to leave reviews. Encourage customers to leave reviews by informing them how much their feedback helps improve your service.
5. Keep Your Information Consistent
If your business information isn’t consistent online all of your SEO efforts will be a waste. Your Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) has to match up on all of your business pages, social media pages, directories, and your website. Inconsistencies in your business information can confuse search engines because it makes your business seem like multiple business. If you ever change any of your business information such as the address or phone number, make sure you get it updated in all of your business and directory pages.
Although there are many factors affecting how your business ranks in search results, using these simple steps will boost your rankings in local search. This will lead to much more visibility for your business in your local area.
For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, subscribe to the FreshLime Newsletter here. Connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. And last of all, if any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!