Every business owner wants to see their company on the top of Google search results. But if you own a local business that doesn't have a national reach than you may only care about ranking well in your town. Competing on a national scale is expensive, so trying local SEO (search engine optimization) tactics is a much more cost effective move. Here are a few tips for ranking well in your town.
Standardize Your InformationThe first thing you need to start with is your basic contact information. You need to standardize how you format your basic business information (name, address, phone).
28296 Constellation Rd. Suite C
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
28296 Constellation Road, #C
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Your formatting should the same across the web. When different addresses and phone numbers tied to your business across the web it creates conflicts. Your business may be listed in dozens of places across the web with incorrect or different information. Ignoring this causes problems for search engines. They begin to see these posts as multiple businesses, or as inconsistent business information (that looks suspicious).
In The Code (ask a pro to do this for you)
Once you have decided on a standard format for your company’s information make sure it is listed on your website (every page in the footer is best). The next step is to 'mark it up' with the proper schema. What is a schema? A schema is a code entered next to (or around) information on your website that tags it as your Address, Phone Number, Business Name, etc. These help search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) identify your location. Search engines rely on this markup schema to provide local search results, ultimately making it easier for people to find local businesses.
Here is some more technical information about schemas http://schema.org/LocalBusiness
Correcting & Claiming Your Business’s InformationAfter you have corrected the information on your website you need to make sure that each of the major search engines have your information listed the same way. The big three are the most important (Google, Yahoo, and Bing). Make sure these website list your address in the exact same way (address and phone number) so there is no confusion to the search engines.
The next place you should look is at the information you have on file with major data providers. These large data provides have information on your business that they share with smaller websites. These major data providers include Infogroup, Acxiom, and Localeze. If your business data is incorrect with one of these provers, your data is most likely wrong in many places across the web. Make sure their data is correct to ensure future data the provide small website will also be correct.
Citations add credibility to your company's listing on Google, and helps you rise above your local competitors. Citations are external web pages that reference your exact business name, address, and phone number. So the question most local businesses have is, how do I get these?
To get started, take 30 minutes and get your business listed on Yelp, Merchant Circle, Insider Pages, Kudzu, City Squares, BOTW Local, and Hot Frog. It doesn't take long and in a very short time frame you have seven new citations and links to your website.
Getting more links requires a little competitive research. Pick a high ranking competitor and search for them by their address or phone number. When you do this, it will generally show you loads of web pages that reference their address or phone number. Ta-Da! You have a list of potential places you can go and get citations. It’s not hard to get citations, but it does take some time.