Improve Your Local Business Ranking with SEO

It doesn’t really make a difference if you’re a single storefront or an international chain, local SEO is extremely important to bring more customers through your doors (even if you’re not a storefront, of course). By optimizing parts of your website, you can increase the visibility of your business when someone local enters in the “magic keywords”.

Search engines look for certain information about a business like citations, local profiles, links and local reviews, among other things. You need to have laser focus when thinking about your SEO strategy to boost your local search visibility and get on the first page of Google. Good places to start are local profile pages (Google My Business) and on-page optimization.

Local Profiles

1- Google My Business– formerly Google Places. This is a free tool that Google offers to local businesses. You will need to set up an account and verify your listing- they send out a postcard to your address with a PIN on it.

2- Make sure you only have one listing online. Sometimes people get a little frazzled when they receive a bad review so they create a new profile.

3- Make sure all information is valid and complete. This may take a little time but it’s extremely valuable. If you have a piece of your page that isn’t complete, just think of Goole skipping over you to the next business that has a complete profile (obviously there is a lot more to that). No 800 numbers, create an introduction, list correct hours of operation, list the correct categories for your business.

On-Page Optimization of Website

1- Be sure to sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools allows you to see that your website is properly indexed on Google and there are no penalties or crawl errors. They also have a keyword search tool to see what keywords people are using.

2- Determine site structure before doing anything else. What is the goal of your Local SEO and what are you targeting? If you have one location, the homepage should be the main hub. From the homepage, you should see a structure of subpages for all the different services you offer. Similar to the Locali website. If you have multiple locations, things should be structured a little different, especially if you’re trying to target other locations without a physical presence there. I will have to cover that another time.

3- Correct NAP (Name, address, phone number) on the website. Make sure your address is listed properly and the phone number is local and not a 1-800 number or call tracker. Everything on your site should match what you put on your Google My Business. The best place for this info is in the footer of your website.

4- Header Tags are important. Make sure your header tags are complete as this is a pretty useful step. The H1 header should be used for the most important information on your site and don’t overdo it! Google sees all!

5- Content is King! Well, kinda. All these things work together to help your ranking. Make your on-page content relevant, unique and familiar to the reader. The key here is- know what your reader is looking for when they reach your page. Keep the content to around 300-500 words. Make mentions about local areas if you can, this helps! Also, with images, be sure to optimize those as well. This means editing the alt tag when you upload an image. Try to include the city, province and keyword/business in your alt tags so Google can see them.

6- Other stuff. On-page reviews and client testimonials, mobile responsiveness, site speed, all these come into play as well.

Most people don’t know the effect of coming up on the first page of Google, seems like the only people who know the benefit are the ones that are actually on the first page. Your business will boom on the first page and the reason for that is the volume of searches there are for certain keywords. You have to be “first page ready”. The biggest

The biggest thing to remember after you have completed everything I have listed here is that it takes time. You won’t get to the first page right away. Set expectations with yourself that it could take up to 6 months to see any movement.

There is so much more to this but this is definitely a good start. Let me know if there is anything specific you would like me to write about and I’d be more than happy to!

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