One of the first and most important things you must have as a local business is a website – this is becoming ever more obvious these days. If you have a store or provide some kind of service locally, it’s incredibly important to be established on the internet.
For example, say a woman who works in Berkeley, California needs to make a copy of a key on her lunch break. She would do this by pulling up Google (or another popular search engine) and searching for “locksmith in Berkeley.” Google Maps would then show the business results that match her search in her neighborhood, where they are located, and links to their websites.
By searching in “Berkeley” the woman gets only results that are relevant to her. If she just searched for “locksmith” she would get millions of useless results from around the world that are of no help to her.
Local businesses do not need to compete with similar business worldwide, because their consumers are only in the same area as they are. Websites for locksmiths, chiropractors, flower shops, and local hardware stores only need to target their local market to have good rankings. Here are some tips to get top search engine rankings for your local market.
How to Use Keywords: If you depend on local business, using location-specific keywords throughout your site will help you get to the top of the search results in your target market area. The locksmith in Berkeley will want to include “Berkeley,” “San Francisco Bay Area,” etc. in order to get a larger audience, and also the exact neighborhood, street, and basically any term that local people may use when they make searches using location. I recommend making a directions page on your website that will use all of these location-specific keywords.
The use of location-specific keywords can even help businesses like law offices, chiropractors, dentists, you name it. Again, in such cases you will want to optimize your website with keywords such as “lawyers in Berkeley, CA,” and so on.
Show Contact Information: Make sure every page on your website includes your full street address and phone number with a local area code. This contact information not only gives search engines everything they need to pin point your location, but makes it easy for locals to find you as well. A technique I often use to make this happen is to simply put the address of my business in the footer or my website – which results in the address being seen on every page. This is because website footers often apply to every page of a website. Search engines definitely pick this kind of information up and it can contribute to your site being seen by Google as more legitimate.
Local Directories and Inbound Links: Search engines love it when you have links pointing to your website from other reliable sites. This is done by utilizing a number of techniques, including commenting on other blogs, using article marketing to market content related to your business, guest posting, and establishing relationships with other site owners who may agree to link to your site if you can provide something in return (perhaps a link from another one of your websites, for example). Local directories online – like Google’s local business center – are also a great way to satisfy this, and are also an easy way to publicize your site to local consumers.