Google has come a long way from a site that pieced the web together to an assistant that finds what you’re looking for exactly. If you want a good place to eat hit it on Google, don’t know which health clubs are the best in your local area or who makes the best bread or if there are plumbers in Ohio ask Google and it’ll come up with a local suggestion.
Google has been slowly working on providing more and more relevant search results to its users and while the Penguin algorithm update screened out many spammy sites, we also witnessed something new in the search results i.e. more and more number of local search results in the SERPs.
So, if you have been running a local business then it’s time to be found online.
How to succeed with SEO for your local business?
1. Local citations and NAP consistency:
Your local business may get listed across several directories and sites across the web. You should make sure that the NAP- Name, Address and Phone number are 100% consistent throughout.
A search engine needs to understand where your business is located to show that in its results. Remember that users trust the information provided by a Search Engine and if you have inconsistencies in your NAP then it’ll be noticed by the search spiders.
They won’t rank you, if they don’t understand where to find you.
A search on Google with the name of your business and the city where it’s located will let you know of these inconsistencies.
You can also use a tool like Yext to find this information and it has an awesome feature called the Powerlistings Network Scan that will check the top 50 review sites, apps and search engines to ensure that the information is current and up to date.
And if there are problems, you should fix them. It’s always a pain and we would suggest hiring an SEO agency to do the job for you.
2. Create a local business listing on Google
The steps that you need to follow to do that are:
1.Go to www.google.com/local/adds/
2.Fill out all the details, take special care when filling in the name, address and phone number.
3.Google will send you a pin via mail, which you may receive in one week.
4.Enter that here
5.Once you have created the local listing account, start setting up local citations.
This list of local citations and local directories will come in handy.
If everything goes right we could be seeing your site on the top
3. Make your site mobile friendly
Here’re some stats that you should know about smartphones and search engines.
- 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information
- 88% of these users take action within a day, indicating these are immediate information needs
- 77% have contacted a business, with 61% calling and 59% visiting the local business
You can find the full report here. As you can see, having a mobile friendly website will make your business a sitting goldmine.
How to make your site mobile friendly?
More than a billion people access the internet on mobile and there’re a few things you can do to profit from this.
Create a mobile version of your site with a .m sub domain.
For WordPress users it’s easy. You can use any responsive theme to make the website adjust according to the users screen.
DudaMobile is a free service that would help you see how your site looks on various mobile devices.
Find out what your site load time is by using Pingdom. If it’s too high then you could take steps like moving to a dedicated server, hiring someone to minimize the coding in your site, minimize the redirects and you can find a full guide here
4. Find out what Google wants you to rank for?
Google is going to make all searches secure which means you won’t be able to see the keywords that are bringing traffic to your site. Many people depended on this data to further optimize their sites.
But there’s a way around this.
I think you might’ve heard of the New Google Keyword Planner. Many people find it quite difficult to use but after reading this, you won’t take your eyes off this tool. It’s a secret hack that I discovered.
With Google’s new tool you can find out what Google thinks that you should rank for. Think, if you could know what more possibilities could be explored with your local business site once you knew what keywords Google is ready to rank you for.
To know this go to the Google Keyword Planner.
Select the option “Search for Keyword and Ad Group Ideas”.
Click on “Avg. Monthly Searches” to toggle between the highest and lowest searches.
You can see that if you view the source code of the page, you will not find a term tankless water heater, but Google thinks that this keyword is something that this site should rank for.
Yes, go now and see what traffic your site could be missing all this time.
5. Use YouTube to rank for your business
In the year 2006, Google bought YouTube for $1.6 billion and since then we’re seeing more YouTube videos occupying the top spots than any other thing and without much effort. SERPs don’t spot Metacafe or DailyMotion videos but YouTube alone.
There’s an unfair advantage here. You can use YouTube to make your local business stand out.
You’ll be happy to hear that now you can set the location for each video. To access this option go to
Go to Video Manager, then click on the Advanced Setting and select the Video Location. Remember my point about consistency in NAP, set the location as your business address.
6. Find out your competitor’s best backlinks and copy them
There are many services that would find out back links to a site but there’re only a few services that not only offer to find out the most number of back links but also analyse them.
If you use something like Ahrefs, you would get the list of backlinks but you won’t get their Page Rank, Moz Rank and other metrics and won’t know which links are actually serving as the fuel for their positions.
Monitor Backlinks provides a great service in analysing the best backlinks of your competitor and you can see a video on that here.
I have given you the Ninja’s guide to optimizing your site for local results. Now go and make some money.