To boost your website’s placement in local search engine results, there are a lot of different techniques.
While there’s plenty of advice available on specific tactics ranging from leveraging keywords and linking to boosting reviews and Facebook likes, most business owners struggle with how to prioritize their local marketing budgets to improve their rankings, while avoiding unintentional negative hits to their search visibility.
The most important component of local SEO is a set of information known as the NAP. NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. Sometimes it can also be NAP+W with the addition of Website.
The way your business NAP is listed on online directories, on your website’s contact page and within the Google Places page must be consistent and up to date. Google website crawlers will get confused should you have a different NAP listed on various directories.
To make sure your NAP is consistent, do a search for your business. Click to see what every listing of it looks like. If the information is incorrect in a website, contact them and have it changed. Having different business names, addresses and phone numbers across the web will damage the business’ credibility in local search, so be sure to ensure consistency on business websites, local sites, etc.
NAP On Website
You will also need to list your business name address and phone number on your website. Not including the business’ NAP information on its own website can negatively impact its local ranking. Make sure to include NAP information as text on your website. A good place to have it in is in the footer or header of your website so it shows on every page. It’s also good to have it listed on the contact page, as well.
Getting ranked high within Google Places comes down to Google verifying that your business is real. It does this by determining how often your business name, address and phone number (NAP) is cited or listed on the internet. It’s the exact same as how backlinks act for search engine optimization. The more you have, usually the better your search rankings will be.
The easiest way to get cited or listed is to submit your business to local and national business directories.
Embedded Google Map
Apart from having your NAP placed in your contact page you’ll also need to have an embedded Google map. It’s good practice to have your businesses Google Places listing embedded on your contact page. This way Google can be certain you are located at the address you have listed by confirming that with your Places listing.
Embedding is easy. Simply search your business name while in Google Maps. Once you have found it click on three lines beside your business name in the search bar on the top left. Then you can click on “Share or Embed Map”.
Have your page reviewed. Often, reviewed pages are prioritized more over those who don’t have a single review. The diversity of online reviews and rankings can influence your website’s performance and search engine ranking.
Google’s approach to search, for example, provides the searcher with the most relevant search result and business most of which includes referral from popular local sites like Yelp who places a significant amount of influence on ratings and reviews. Aside from encouraging ratings and reviews, you also have to create a good reputation by encouraging positive reviews and responding correctly to negative ones. Not only that, you also need to boost your social media presence by actively engaging followers, be it on Facebook or on Twitter.
Once you have changed how your website is reviewed and still notice your rankings are low, then you might need to have your business cited more. There are two ways to do this:
Find out where those competitors who rank higher than you are cited. Do a search for their business and if they come up in a directory, find out if your business is listed there. If it’s not, add it.
Google uses business citations as a means to provide their searchers with the most relevant businesses within the Google Places rankings.
Even though we’ve listed several important points here, boosting your local SEO takes time and can even span several months but always remember to stay focused, and stick to your strategy all the while keeping a vigilant eye out on upcoming changes, especially on how SEO evolves, as this can ultimately impact how your website ranking improves.
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