Do Local Customers Know About Your Business? Improve Your Local SEO.

Let Customers Easily Find You Online and Your Location

Local businesses map
Are you on the map?
Do you have a business that depends on local customers – like a retail outlet or as a provider of services in the local area?  If so, this post will be of interest to you. It concerns local SEO (i.e. search engine optimization for local business) and how you can increase the likelihood that local customers will find you using only keywords and a location.  This is becoming increasingly important with heavier usage of smartphones and mobile devices used for navigation and for finding local goods and services.

3 Steps You Can Take to Help Your Local Customers Find You

Local Search Results
Search results for plumbers in my area

Search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo, are becoming more and more sophisticated in the way they treat local searches. They can pretty accurately determine a searcher’s location and display search results based on that location. For instance, if I search for “plumbers”, I receive a set of results for plumbers in my area.  Likewise, if I include a city name in my search, I get results targeted to that location.  By using some local SEO tactics, you can increase your chances of showing up and being noticed by potential customers.

1) Claim Your Listings on Popular Map and Business Directories

First, just Google your business name including the city.  You’re likely to find at least some listings for your business: Google+, Google Maps or Yelp might show up for example.  If you find some, insure they are displaying accurate information about your business such as correct and consistent name, address, phone number, business category and website address.  If the information is not correct and consistent across all listings, you should take the necessary steps to make them correct and insure the information matches from one directory to another.

manage-your-business
This prompt shows up on a
business listing in Google+

There is usually information regarding how to claim and update your listing on each directory’s page.  It may be a small link such as “Are you the business owner?” or similar to the larger prompt pictured at left.

Here are a few important local business directories to be listed on: Google+ Business, Facebook, Yelp, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn. Check these sites to see if your business is listed. If not, it would be a good idea to add it.

An added benefit of having your business listed in the popular directories is that it can help your business appear more prominently and more frequently in search results. For a comprehensive list of local business directories, check out this blog post at Yext.com

There are services such as Yext.com and GetListed.org that can help find where you are listed, or not listed, and help you manage your business listings. Yext offers management of your business listings, and they charge a subscription fee for the service.

2) Verify Your Business Name, Address and Phone Number (a.k.a. NAP)

It’s important that this information is listed the same way on your website, online business directories, online maps and social media accounts.  Make sure it’s consistently listed – if you use abbreviations in your name or address, then use the same ones every time on every listing.  Use the same address and phone number everywhere.  This practice will help your ranking on search engines and help avoid customer confusion.

3) Put Your Location in the Title Tag on Your Website

Another common local SEO tactic is to add your location in your website page titles.  For example, on my homepage you will see I have my location of “Livonia, MI” specified at the end of the page title (either in the browser title bar or the tab itself depending on the browser you use).  Ideally it should be placed on every page where it reasonably fits.  This tactic helps search engines index your business for a geographic location allowing a better likelihood of showing more prominently in local search results.  Generally speaking, this is a relatively easy change to implement, but it really depends on what type of website you have.

Feel free to offer other local SEO suggestions or comment on what I’ve presented.

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