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Local Search Engine Optimization Best Practices for your Business

Have you noticed the list of local search results at the top of Google when looking for a local business? These local search results, the “7-pack,” are revolutionizing the local search engine industry.   When you perform a search, Google’s My Location uses information transmitted from nearby WiFi access points to provide the top-ranked local listings based on your approximate location.

You can have your business rank higher than your competitor in local search results by following a few simple steps.

How? First let’s understand where local search results come from:

 

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Certain databases feed information to other sites.  Having an incorrect or inconsistent business listing in one database could mean you also have incorrect listings elsewhere. It is important to ensure your business name and phone number (the NAP) are listed in the exact same format in all listings (eg-don’t use the abbreviated “St.” in one listing and “Street” in another).

Simple steps to help your business rank higher:

  • Submit or claim your listings on the local search engines, such as Google Places, Bing Local Listing Center, Yahoo Local Merchant, Yelp and list in the most relevant category.
  • Get listed on local directories.
  • Use a keyword in your business title.
  • Use long tail keywords (keyword phrases) in your description; mention your products/services, brands you carry, locations you serve.

Think about citations:

  • Citations are one of the main ways a search engine determines rank. Citations are like “mentions” of your business NAP on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website. More quality citations = higher ranking!
  • Citations also validate that a business is part of a community. The more often a listing in another location matches that of your website, the search engine knows you are a real business.

On your own website:

  • Create a separate contact/location page for different locations. Listing only one NAP on each page can increase citations.
  • Optimize your contact/location page HTML title tag to: business name, city, province, phone number.
  • Include the full business NAP on every page of your website.

By following these steps, continuously monitoring new listings sites and encouraging positive reviews by your customers, you can see your ranking in local search results continuously improve!

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