Any business that gets some or all of its customers or clients locally should be optimizing their website for local SEO. Whether you are a local restaurant, retail outlet, doctor, dentist or a car dealership, if you have a physical address in a city and expect people to go to your brick-and-mortar location, you should focus on local SEO. Here are my top 7 tips to help your website rank locally:
1. Ensure Your Website Content References Your Location.
Remember to reference your city in the content on your site alongside the names of your product or service. It seems simple, but this tactic is often overlooked. Remember to add the location within the headings on your site. For example, a good heading would be: “Honda vehicle collision repair in Edmonton, Alberta” while the content, could read: “We offer the finest auto collision repair with competitive pricing in Edmonton, Alberta. Get bumper dent repair & paintless scratch repair on the famous Whyte Ave in Edmonton.” When Google crawls your website it will note the product/service alongside the city name. Remember, you don’t want to overstuff your content with keywords or the location name!
2. Claim or Register Your Google Places Listing.
To check if a Google Places listing exists for your business, search for your business name in Google maps. If nothing shows up, you may need to create a Google Places for Business account If you already have an account, you will want to claim your listing by clicking on the big red button on the right hand side that says “Manage this page” (you must be signed into a Gmail address).
Remember, the more complete your account the better. Add products, brands you sell, photos, videos, services offered, hours of operation, industry information – everything you can. DO NOT cram extra keywords or location names in your business title as Google may delete your listing if you cheat with keywords. Once you are satisfied with its completeness you can submit your Places profile to Google. Google will then send you a postcard in the mail with a unique pin, which you then enter into your account to verify its information.
3. Add Your Address in The Footer of Your Site.
Having a business address that’s been verified with Google places and a phone number on your website increases your authority and tells Google that you’re a real business. Adding your local address in the footer which appears on each page is a good way to show Google where your business is located and verifies that you are a real business. It will also match up with your Google Places listing and often will show up as a blended search listing in the search engine result pages (SERPs) with your places listing. Don’t forget to include your postal code, as this often gets forgotten.
4. Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) Consistency.
You want to maintain a consistent company name, address & phone number (NAP) across all directories, blogs, articles and sections of your website. For example, if your dealership name is “Joe’s Chevrolet car emporium” you don’t want to call it “Joe’s Chevy car emporium” on one page, or “Joe’s car emporium” on another – be consistent! Any variations can dilute your search results. The same thing goes for your address; commit to one way of displaying your mailing address and make sure it’s always the same. With your phone number, it’s best to display your local number instead of a 1-800 number. This shows Google that you are in fact a local business.
Reviews are similar to link building to your website. Genuine reviews show Google that real people are using your services or buying your product and taking the time to talk about it online. Encourage your customers to review your business on Google Places and other review sites such as Yelp and Hotfrog.
6. Update your Page Titles.
Page title, also called a “title tag,” isone of the most important factors in SEO. You want to ensure your title tags are unique on each page, and use highly searched long tail keyphrases combined with the location of your business. Remember, only 70 characters of your title tag are displayed in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS), so you have to be choosey with your words.
7. Add a Blog to Your Site.
A blog is a simple way to add fresh content to your site. Google loves fresh new content and a blog is a great way to achieve that. Use a blog to provide insight and information about your product or service. Blog about upcoming sales in your current city! Get started by checking out these cool topics for car dealer blogs & remember to reference your city name whenever you can.
I hope these 7 tips help you build better local SEO for your website.
Written by Samantha Goettel
Organic Search (SEO) Director
Samantha started off in the traditional Marketing industry by obtaining her Marketing Diploma & a Bachelor of Management Degree in Lethbridge, Alberta. During her University years she attended l'Université Libre de Brussels, Solvay School of Business in Brussels, Belgium in French for a University Exchange Program. 9 months later she was already off to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to work for an international oil & gas company in their marketing department. After her many travelling adventures, Samantha moved to Edmonton to work as a Marketing Coordinator for a Canadian Franchise. She quickly learned that the future of Marketing was on the internet. She switched from a career in traditional Marketing to a career in Online Marketing, Organic Search & SEO in 2010 & has never looked back. She is also currently studying Web Design & Development at Grant Macewan University. She also loves to backpack adventure travel and is a big foodie who loves to cook.