May
28
2010

Pay Attention To Local Search Factors

Working with our local business clients, we continue to run into several local search misconceptions.

Create or Claim Your Google Business Listing

If you don’t already have a business listing with Google maps, you need to create one. In some cases, when you go to create your business listing, you may find Google already has a listing for you. Google pulls business listings from various directories and databases such as online YellowPages and others.

You’ll want to claim the listing for your business if it already exists. Often, the information is not accurate, so you definitely want to take ownership and control of your own business listing to make sure all of the information is correct and up to date. In almost all cases, local business listings that Google is simply grabbing from the online databases will be sparse listings with minimal data.

When you claim or create your business listing, you have the opportunity to provide quite a bit of data and information about your business. You want to take advantage of this. It’s critical for local businesses to understand that many of the ranking factors for local search are no different than general, broader SEO ranking factors. Remember, local search is still “search” and SEO applies. Content is critical, so take the opportunity to setup your business listing content to optimize in your favor.

Your Small Business Website

You don’t actually have to have a website to establish a Google local business listing. If you’re a house painter in Oxnard and you don’t have your own website, you can still come in Google for “oxnard house painter” with a Google maps listing.

But if you do have a website, you need to optimize for SEO. Since you will undoubtedly link to your website from your Google local business listing, Google will consider your website’s ranking factors when calculating the ranking score for your local business listing.

Most small businesses focus their website optimization efforts around keywords and search phrases. You also want to optimize your website for location. That’s right, your business address, zip code, city, neighborhood, metro area, phone number, etc.

Optimizing your small business website for location will help influence, to some degree, your search engine ranking with Google for local search. This makes good sense anyway. Don’t make it difficult for people visiting your website to locate your contact information, and locate your business.

Local Search Citations

For local search, a citation is similar in ranking value to a backlink in traditional SEO. Citations are not actually true links back to your website. If you list your business name, phone number and address on a page that is trusted by Google, this citation will be treated in a similar manner to a link. More citations placed on relevant pages with authority can improve your local business listing ranking factors with Google.

So head over to the Google Local Business Center and take care of your small business listing. By the way, Google Local Business Center just became Google Places recently on April 19th, 2010.

Many small businesses will continue to experience frustration achieving good rankings with local search and Google Places. There’s more to it than simply creating a Google local business listing. And the landscape is getting more competitive every day. You might consider working with a local search professional that has the ability and expertise to improve your local business listing and get you ranking within the top 7 Google maps page one results.

If you’re not ranking where you’d like with your local business listing, we’d like to help. Contact NewCorridor and let’s talk about what we can do to improve your local search visibility.

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