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Jan 24 / admin

Top 5 Google Local SEO Must Do’s

You’ve seen it as you’ve done searches on Google – the Google Local box:

google-local-results

More and more, Google is inserting this box into Google searches.  Typically it is inserted when someone searches for something locally, like ‘seattle pizza delivery’ .  Because this box often contains 3 (and sometimes 7!)  local listings, all of the other organic (i.e. unpaid) search engine listings get pushed down much lower on the results page.  This means that even if you did everything right in terms of SEO, and got your Website into the #1 Google organic listing, you would still only be in the 4th unpaid position (or 8th!) on the Google results page.  And believe us when we say, the site visitors you get from being in the 4th position on the page are way fewer than the visitors that would come from the  1st position – and if you get pushed down the 8th position on the page, you essentially will not get any site visitors from that search.

This is why, for local businesses, and also for businesses with many locations, Google Local listings are extremely important for your Website traffic.

And here is the tricky part – there are a whole set of SEO activities that you need to do to try to rank high in the Google Local listings – and they are very different from the activities that are used to rank high in the regular Google (unpaid) listings.

Here’s a Top 5 Google Local SEO To Do List:

1) Claim (or Create) Your Google Local Listing

Go to the Google Local Business Center and either claim the Google Local listing that Google has already generated for your business, or create a Google Local listing.  During this process, choose categories for your listing that describe the business you are in.  Also, in the description of your business (the paragraph you can write) include keywords that people typically use to find your business in the search engine, including your city.  Enter the accurate address and phone number for your business.  Once you’ve updated your listing, Google will ask you to verify it.  This consists of telling the Google system to call you on your business phone number (they give you a PIN and you enter it back into your Google Local account) or Google sometimes will mail you a postcard with a PIN instead.  Completing this verification process is key – it helps Google establish confidence that you are indeed the owner of the business and it is at the location and phone number you’ve submitted.

2) Put Your Business Address and Phone Number on Your Website

We have clients put their business address and phone number in the footer of every page of their site.  We also have them put it on their Contact Us page.  For businesses with multiple locations, the strategy is a bit different, but you want to make it easy for the Google search engine crawlers to get to the addresses of all of your locations.  Make sure you have a search-engine friendly locations section.

3) Submit Your Business with the Major Local Data Providers

There are a number of companies who collect data on local businesses.  It turns out the search engines rely on these data sources quite a bit in ranking the local business search results.  Here is a great list from David Mihm of the key local data providers to have your business listed in.

4) Get Customer Reviews

Encourage your customers to post reviews of your business to popular review sites such a:

  • InsiderPages.com
  • CitySearch.com
  • Yelp.com
  • SuperPages.com

Look at your competitors who are ranked above you in the Google Local results and see what sites they have reviews from.  They may have reviews from other sites like JudysBook.com or DexKnows.com – if they do then you may want to encourage your customers to post reviews of your business there.

Interestingly, the current thinking is that is doesn’t necessarily matter if your rev hadsiews or positive or negative, but instead that you have a steady, regular stream of reviews being posted.  Use your home page, emails you send to customers, your Twitter/Facebook activities, etc. to encourage customers to post reviews of your business.

5) Add Your Location to Your Website’s Page Title Tags

Each page on your Website has what is called a page title tag.  It is defined in the HTML code of your site.  The page title shows up on your Web pages in the very upper left corner of the Web browser window, next to the Firefox or Internet Explorer icon.  You need to get the city or neighborhood that your business is in into your page title tags.  This is just a good SEO tactic in general, and is an important factor for Local SEO as well.

Chair 10 Marketing provides SEO and pay-per-click services for businesses, including local SEO.  Contact us if you are interested in our services.

For this article, thanks go to David Mihm, Mike Blumenthal and Shagun Vatsa for their ongoing great work in local search.

7 Comments

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  1. rank page / Jul 10 2010

    Awesome article.

  2. Dentistincherryhill / Aug 23 2010

    How does Google decide who is first next to the picture? Is that the result of SEO of does SEO only affect the actual page rank?

  3. Utah Spine and Disc / Sep 10 2010

    These are great tips. Giving your customers incentives to review your business can do wonders.

  4. mkelly / Sep 10 2010

    @Utah glad you found the tips helpful.

  5. davenycity / Sep 15 2010

    great blog thank you

  6. mkelly / Sep 22 2010

    @Dentist… There are specific SEO techniques that can be used to try to have your site rank higher in the Google Maps “picture” as you mention. Those techniques are discussed in this blog post above. Not sure if that answers your question but I hope it does.

  7. Mpls / Oct 7 2010

    Great article. couldnt have said it beter myself.
    But here is some news for anyone just starting out..its…tuff.
    but all you need is the above listed,with a honest company or do it yourself.
    but the competition gets stronger everyday with more local businesses growing,

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