7 ways to appear in more local searches.

Here are seven things you can do to help bolster your local search engine rankings.

While SEO, or search engine optimisation, might sound like another techie acronym, it’s a vital element if you want to grow your business online.

It refers to search engine optimisation which, simply put, is a method of making your business appear further up the results page in search engines (let’s be honest, this mostly just means Google). It’s important because people generally only look at the results on the first page, and those at the top typically get more clicks.

Local SEO therefore refers to optimisation techniques that boost rankings for searches relating to a brand’s local area (‘café in Alexandria’ for example), and it’s especially important for small businesses.

1. Claim your Google My Business page.

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page. This is where you add basic information about your business, such as your address, contact number, business category, opening hours and photos.

It’s crucial to keep this updated, as it will increase the chances that your name pops up whenever someone Googles terms relating to your business and area. Many customers also rely on Google for information about your opening hours and contact details (rather than going to your website), so getting it wrong can mean missing out on customers even when they do find you.

2. Make sure your contact details are up to date.

Double check that all your contact information (address, phone number, email, opening hours, and any other relevant information) is current and appears on every page of your website, or any other site where you have a business presence, such as Facebook.

This is because Google doesn’t just use the information from your Google My Business page, but also your website, to determine your local rankings. It’s called your website ‘NAP’ data – name, address and phone number – and Google will use it to verify your correct information when creating search results.

3. Focus on local link building.

Google and other search engines rank businesses based on prominence, which refers to how well known you are. Aim to develop relationships with other businesses in your area who would be willing to link back to your website from theirs, and vice versa, to build up your online network.

Sharing mutually beneficial deals is a great opportunity to build relationships, and backlinks to your website, which are gold for local SEO. For example, a hair salon could offer a free coffee from the local café whenever someone gets their hair cut, and the café could offer a discounted haircut with every breakfast deal.

RELATED: What is backlinking and why does your site need it?

4. Use keywords wisely.

If you’re a business owner who services multiple areas, be sure to include all your service areas on your website to help your website rank for those location terms. You will need to create a separate landing page on your website for each area to help Google to make sense of your locations, and so you have somewhere specific to put keywords for each separate area.

Google’s Keyword Planner is a useful tool to find keywords relating to your business that are most popular within your region. Including keywords in your content can bolster your local search rankings as well, but make sure only to include them where they fit naturally, as Google will penalise for unsightly keyword stuffing (that’s where you just throw together piles of keywords without putting them in context or using them to create useful content).

5. Make the most of directory listings.

Google (and other search engines) will also rank your business based on local search citations, which refer to mentions of your business on other websites. The more well-regarded those websites are, the more value they are to you – which is why not having your business listed is missing out on an easy local SEO boost.

Having a comprehensive directory listing with all your vital business info on Yellow Pages Online will therefore give you even more local SEO juice.

6. Encourage customer reviews.

Online reviews are worth their weight in gold, not just for boosting your business reputation but also your local search ranking.

Websites or businesses with genuine customer reviews are typically ranked higher in local search results than those without, so be sure to encourage your customers to put in a good word online.

RELATED: How to get more online reviews for your business.

7. Utilise social media.

One of the most important factors for ranking highly in local search results is building up your business online.

Focusing your efforts on social media platforms that work well for your audience will help with prominence, link building, local citations and growing your overall online presence. Be sure to add a link to your website from your social media, not just so your customers can use it to find your website, but so Google can find it as well.

Climb the rankings with Yellow Pages.

A listing on Yellow Pages’ online directory is just one way to improve your local SEO.

SEO is a full service dedicated to helping your business to climb the rankings. With transparent monthly reports and long-term strategies to help you get to the top and stay there, our SEO experts can help your brand reach a coveted position on page one.

Want your business to appear in more local searches? Yellow Pages is here to help.

Whether it’s a free listing, a content rich ad, an SEM campaign, a website or SEO, Yellow Pages has the product to help you get found.

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