The answer to helping smaller businesses rank higher in their specific region is utilizing local SEO as much as possible. While sites like yellowpagesunited.org are great places to stay up to speed on local search news, ensuring that you’re making steps in the right direction is extremely crucial in optimizing growth in small business. By listing in local search engines, small businesses have the opportunity to create an online presence with a small budget, all while increasing their rankings in a specific region. Be sure to keep in mind that local search and local SEO are essentially the same thing, and there is no reason for any local business not to be present in local search engines such as Google+, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.
When building business ratings locally, first step you should always be registering in Google Places. Registering is easy- just make sure you have your address listed on every page and in the title of the contact page. When utilizing Google Places, mention areas, streets, and nearby shops that are local to your business. For example, use references like, “Across the street from the Starbucks on West 3rd Street and Santa Monica” to further assist potential customers in understanding where you are on the map. Try and be as obvious as possible when doing so – Google knows exactly where things are but people often do not.
Utilizing local SEO creates less competition in the same space. Searching for something specific like a hairstylist locally by a specific city or county is much less difficult than searching for one nationally. You should have luck in working with neighboring blogs, websites, and community pages that know your business from word of mouth or seeing it in the neighborhood. They can link mentions to your website, making it visible to the people you’ll want to see it. In addition, obtaining backlinks from local sites by sponsoring an event or donating to charity is also a key move in excelling in local SEO. People like supporting small businesses, so always ask for positive reviews and direct people to these pages as much as possible. The more positive reviews you have, the more new customers will want to visit you. This technique is also better for the wallet. Local websites may not offer you advertising space for free, but they will surely allow you to buy a banner or text link for much less than a bigger, national site.
It is apparent that the smart phone is becoming a key source to search for local businesses. Listing your business on a local map is an excellent decision for small companies that want to be found by people on-the-go that are in the need of a specific good or service at that immediate moment. Ensure you have a mobile version of your website that is readable and reliable on smart phones or this may sway potential customers away. Encourage customers to “check-in” when they visit your business – this will show up on their Facebook page along with your “Place.”