Getting Found In Local Search

Question: How can I get my local business found on the internet?

If you own a small/medium business, chances are you rely on people from the local area coming through your door. Getting found these days is much harder, and even more competitive, than it was 5 or 10 years ago.

This video by Melbourne SEO Services nicely illustrates why some traditional methods of small business marketing are not as useful as they once were

This other video illustrates the same point, in a funnier way, but you see the general point.

People just arn’t searching like they used to. It’s clear what the internet is an essential marketing tool, and if your not putting effort into your online marketing, you’re likely to fall behind your competitors.

Why bother with local search?

You have your own website, but so does everybody else. This is where getting found becomes a little more competitive. If you take a look at the screenshot of a search engine results page (SERP) for Fish and Chips in Brisbane below, the green arrow is the first actual website to appear in results. Two important things to notice are:

  1. It’s not a local businesses own webpage but a local directory.
  2. It’s the 7th link down in the results.

Local Search In SERPs

The big red box includes all the businesses registered in Google Places, along with easy contact details and your location on a map. Being top of these results is the best way to get the attention of potential customers.

Fortunately it’s easy to get started.

3(ish) easy steps to getting found

  1. Register your business with Google Places
  2. Register and review on Local Directories(This link opens 9 local web directories)
  3. Create Content & Link Build

Step 1 – Register on Google Places

It takes about 10 mins to get all your details down. Enter as much of the information as possible, including details of the surronding areas you serve and the categories into which your business falls.

Google Places

To get the best possible ranking for your Google Places page it is important to make sure you fill in as much information as possible. Make sure you have:

  • Added complete business address and conotact details as well as confirming business location on the map.
  • Details of you business website.
  • Included the names of all the local areas served, both in the description and in location settings.
  • Hours of opperation (It’s useful to customers and the added detail can help increase credibiltiy of your listing).
  • Photos of the business, staff, products, anything related.
  • Add videos if possible, the more relevant content on your places listing the better.

Having rich content and information on your places listing is good for both rankings and click through. Once visitors see your places listing you want them to continue on to visit your website or business. Once you’re done you’ll need to confirm the details by entering a code recieved either by SMS or automated phone call.

Step 2 – Register with other place related sites

Adding your business to other location based sites and services helps add credibility to your Google Places listing and can also help improve rankings. Below are a couple of well known ones that are fairly simple to get started with. If you wish to spend more time on the topic you can start using the analysis tools provided with them.

Step 3 – Register and Review – local directories

Getting your business listed on various reputable directories can help boost your sites ranking and send interested visitors to your business. The following are handy places for people to get more info about your business and allow users to review your products and services. You might consider encouraging your (satisfied) customers to review your business on some of them. Failing that, you can always submit your own reviews.

Click this link to open all 8 local directories

Step 4 – Website Optimization

Ensure you have information about your location on your own website. This includes your address, details of the areas your serve and possibly a Google Map to help your customers (and Google) find your business. Having these on your site indicates to Google your location and increases the credibility of the claims on your places pages. Use headers like: Fish and Chip shop – Brisbane. Decide on which on the surrounding suburbs to include headings and the body text. For example:

Fish & Chips – Westend and South Brisbane

Mo’s Fish and Chips is based in Westend, Brisbane. Delicious fresh fish with handcut hot chips has been our speciality since 1900. Come and taste the wide range of Sole, Perch, Breem and Flake, at the best Fish and Chip shop in Brisbane.

Step 5 – Content and Promotion

The final step is ongoing. Once you have your Local pages, been listed in directories and recieved reveiws you’ll want to try and keep producing engaging content to go with them. You can add photos on your google places page, add some special offers to foursquare or start a competition on your facebook page. If you have your own website, try to produce something of interest to the local area once a week. Maybe take some photos, write a blog on local issues, publicize local charity events, anything that will keep people slightly interested and show that you are relevent to the local search market.

Key points to takeaway

Even if you don’t do everything, there are a few things you should definately do:

  • Claim your Google and Facebook Places Page and fill in all the information.
  • Pick 3 Directories to add your business information to.
  • Add location specific titles, headers to your places pages and website.
  • Take some photos of your business, staff and products, and add them to your places page and your website.

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