Sunday, 22 July 2012

Local SEO: Top 10 Tips for Ranking in Your Area

One of the best ways to bring in new business to an offline establishment is to use the internet. Just about everyone has internet access now. Often people have internet access through several devices, so they’re connected no matter where they are.

Getting ranked in your local area is more important today than ever. Here are the ten top tips to help you get ranked in your area.

Tip #1: Google Places

The first place you should look to get setup is Google Places. If you haven’t already “claimed” your business as yours, do so now.

Add your hours of operations, menu, pictures and any other information you can to your Google Places page.

Your Google Places page is what will actually rank in Google Local searches and on Google Maps searches on the iPhone.

Tip #2: Update Your Bing Page

A lot of people ignore Bing simply because it’s not Google. The reality is that since Bing merged with Yahoo, it now has nearly 30% of the search market share. That’s not a market you want to neglect.

Furthermore, Facebook’s mapping system uses Bing’s maps. So you definitely want your information up to date on Bing and you want to pay attention to getting ranked on Bing.

Tip #3: Be Active on Yelp

Do you have a Yelp page for your offline business? Of so, you should actively monitor and try to improve your Yelp rankings.

Add as much detail as you can to your Yelp page. If anyone ever posts something negative, respond to them right away. Answer any questions people ask.

Tip #4: Pay Attention to National Customers

Just because you have a local business doesn’t mean you should neglect national customers. In fact, if you land a national customer, that could be a fantastic chance to also land a high quality, high PageRank backlink to your site.

Tip #5: Check Your Citations

Google uses a system called “citations” to make sure your business really exists. Having good citations will also help you rank.

A citation is basically other websites that corroborate your address, phone number and business name. Look for other business listing sites in your industry and make sure all your information is up to date there.

Tip #6: Split Other Services into Different Domains

If you run a laundromat and a café, think about splitting the website into two different domains. If you run a boxing gym and a yoga studio, again think about splitting them into different domains.

This will allow you to optimize both sites for different keywords and achieve higher rankings in both, rather than mediocre rankings for a one-size-fits-all website.

Tip #7: Network Locally

Network with other people in your area. For example, go to your local Chamber of Commerce meetings, your Business Networking International meetings and your Toastmasters meetings.

These are fantastic sources of business deals and backlinks.

Tip #8: Keep Your WHOIS Up to Date

Make sure your WHOIS information is up to date. Your phone number, address and name should all match. Don’t use WHOISguard if you can help it. Google wants to know you are who you say you are.

Tip #9: Participate in Online Communities

Online communities are a fantastic way to generate more backlinks.

Try to get involved in online local communities. For example, mailing lists that have to do with your area, blogging circles around your city and so on. These can be a fantastic source of customers as well as backlinks.

Don’t just use these communities as advertising opportunities. Try to actually join these communities and become a valuable contributor.

Tip #10: Master the Art of Asking for Reviews

Sites like Yelp and Google Places are driven by consumer reviews. If you want to rank highly on these sites and bring in droves of customers, you need to get dozens of reviews.

The best way to do that? Ask. Master the art of developing rapport with people and letting them know how big a difference a review would make for you. Try to ask 5 people a day to leave you a review. Do this and you’ll quickly outrank the majority of your competition.

These ten tips are all you need to vastly improve your local search rankings. Do these ten things and you’ll quickly dominate your competition – Especially if they’re not on the same digital wavelength.

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