Local search is one of the most valuable, as well as easiest, search marketing tactics you can do that will drive traffic to both your website as well as your physical location. In a recent report on Local SEO factors by David Mihm, David polled the top local search experts to find out what they advised clients to do to improve their local search results. Whether you have an organic bakery or a green roofing company, you’ll want to listen to what these local SEO experts have to say.
10 steps for boosting your local search results
Without further delay, there are the top 10 actions you can take to enhance local search results for your green business:
- Claim your local business listing: If you want to show up in local search engine results, you will need to claim your business listing in Google, Yahoo, and Bing. By listing your green business in Google Places, you help Google confirm the physical location of your business. Not only does this make it possible for you to control the information about your business, more importantly this will help you show up in Google search & Google Maps when people search for a organic vegetarian restaurant in their neighborhood, for instance. If you want to claim your local business listing on multiple search engines and directories at once, head over GetListed.org and get it done in one fell swoop.
- Add your location to the business listing: In general, when someone does a search online for an eco-friendly spa, they’re looking for one in their own city, and therefore it is vitally important that you include a business address in your local business listing. This way, the search engines will have the most current address and contact information for your business so that you can be mapped accurately. Including your local area code as your primary local business number, as opposed to an 800 number, will also help your business show up for your locale, though the local telephone number factor is lower on the importance scale.
- Associate your local business listing with keyword rich categories: Just as you’d use keywords for your web content, optimizing your green business listing for SEO purposes is also important. By adding keyword rich categories to the listing you just claimed, you’ll be increasing the odds that your listing will be near the top of the hierarchy of results for people looking for an organic vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. Even including less related categories can be beneficial such as vegan restaurant, even if you are not 100% vegan.
- Use product or service keywords in your local business listing title and description: Having your primary keywords appear in your business title & description can boost your listing up a few notches in the rankings. So if you’re selling eco-friendly pet toys for fashionista dogs and cats, you may want to include relevant keywords such as “nontoxic”, or “eco friendly pet” in your business title and description when filling in your information. Just don’t go overboard, because if everyone starts keyword stuffing their Google Place Page business names, pretty soon, Google will tweak this algorithm to make it a less important local SEO factor. Ideally your business title should really only include one or two primary keywords at most.
- Use location keywords in your local business listing title and description: It’s a good practice to put your city name, followed by your main keyword in your local business listing. However, this appears to be a less important local SEO factor, since indicating what city your business is located in on your local business listing page should be enough.
- Increase the number of inbound links and off page web citations: This may be the most important factor to local search engine rankings. Even if you optimize your profile and your website, if you don’t have a good number of citations from Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) and other data providers, local directories, as well as other websites in your metroid, your local SEO efforts will have limited impact. Yelp and Citysearch are great places to list your business. Both local directories and vertical directories are important. It’s also important to list your company in green business directories and niche industry portals. And as always, the quality of the inbound links to your website will influence your rankings, the more authority and trust the linking site has, the better.
- Generate good customer reviews, often: Good ratings and reviews seem to be becoming more important to local search rankings, especially if there are a constant stream of good reviews. Not surprisingly, the greater the number of positive, keyword rich reviews you have on your site, on third-party websites, and directly on search engines, the better it will be for your business. A cautionary note: don’t flood your site with reviews as this can set off red flags with search engines. Instead, generate a steady flow of them to demonstrate consistency and stability.
- Include your full address on your website contact page: Having your full business address on your contact page is an important signal for Google to correlate with other citation sources. However, having multiple addresses, such as regional offices, on the same page can confuse the search engines.
- Add city + state/province to most / all your website page title tags: Having your city and state in most or all of your website title tags are important for local search engine rankings. While this isn’t as important a factor as some of the other factors on this list, it is one you have a 100% control over.
- Including location and product/service keywords in your urls: Having a combination of geo-specific and product/service keywords in your urls can make your local search results rise as well. While it is a moderate local SEO factor, it too, is one you have full control over.
5 local SEO mistakes that can hurt your green business
The report also outlined a few things not to do based on expert opinion. Here are the top five most harmful things you can do when trying to boost your local search results for your green business:
- Having multiple local business listings with the same business name.
- Having multiple local business listings with the same address
- Having multiple local business listings with the same phone number
- Associate an 800 number as a primary local business listing number
- Listing a PO Box address on your website without a physical address.
So there you have it! These 10 easy steps will give your green business a boost in local search engine rankings and drive more local traffic to your website.