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You’re a local small business with a brand new website ready to take over the world, but you’re ranking on the third page for numerous keywords. How can you get local foot traffic and interest if your competitors are on page one and you’re on page three? Don’t worry, you can build up your Google rankings by taking advantage of tips and tricks designed specifically for local search.
Local vs. National Search
Many websites don’t care where their customers come from, because a customer from Fargo, North Dakota is just as good as one from San Diego, California. When you have a brick and mortar store or provide a service to a specific area, then you want people from that area to see you. If you’re from Fargo, then a customer seeing your website from California isn’t going to help your bottom line.
Local search is designed to only catch the attention of people within your area. The approach is a little different from a national search strategy and focuses on localization.
Optimize Your Website for Local Traffic
Your website is your home on the Internet, so you need to make it local friendly. Start by crafting a keyword list and localizing it for nearby towns. For example, don’t just write, “expert plumber,” write “expert plumber in Fargo, ND. or expert plumber serving Fargo, ND.”
You can even have pages set up for specific towns and services. Make sure to have links to these pages and on those pages to your service pages. Google doesn’t like doorway pages, which are pages specifically designed around search phrases and meant to take someone to another page. Make sure the page has useful and authoritative information for people who visit it, and it’s not just hanging on your website with no links to it.
Don’t forget to include your address, hours, etc. on pages, as well as a Google Maps plug-in. The more anchors you have the better.
Claim Local Listings
Your website isn’t the only place you can rank for local search. Listing pages and review sites often rank high for people looking for local businesses. Most sites, including Google My Business, already have a listing for your business, but in order to make sure everything is correct and the listing is fully completed, it must be claimed by the company.
Review sites, such as Yelp, rank high when people look for reviews of businesses. You can claim these profiles and load them with photos, menus, etc. to maximize your customer’s experience. You can also keep track of reviews, good and bad, and respond accordingly.
All of this will help you dominate the local search rankings, but it takes effort and continuous updating for new keywords, listings, etc.