The advent of Google Instant and the insatiable need for real time information has led to an increase in the appearance of locally focused websites appearing at the top of website ranking results. Focusing internet marketing strategies on maximizing website ranking results is an essential first step in winning the local optimization battle. So where do you begin?
Initial steps toward local search optimization should include:
- Claiming your company’s listing on online sites. Essential sites to claim your listing on include: Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local. Here are few to help:
- Embrace social media to promote your brand, interact and engage with your customers and promote your website. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the obvious social media choices.
- Explore the use of location based marketing sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla.
All of these techniques work together to enhance the local search optimization of your site. However of these three techniques, claiming your local listings on search engine sites can most quickly and significantly impact your ranking results. When claiming and validating your local listing, you are taking control of the data that is seen online. By taking control of your listing, you also prevent others from claiming your listing.
When claiming your listing, pay special attention to:
- Business Name. Be specific when identifying your business name. Include the full name of your business. However, if your company is just named “Qiigo”, consider adding a descriptor that includes keywords. For example, enter “Qiigo Search Engine Marketing”. Don’t be tempted to stuff your business name listing with keywords, but do add them when your business name is too vague to deliver adequate search results.
- Location/Address. The search engines place significant impact on your business address when ranking results. Be as detailed as possible, including latitude and longitude information. Don’t know your address’ latitude and longitude coordinates?
- Category. Choose the category that best describes your business. If one category doesn’t exactly fit, test several over a period of time to determine which category garners the best results.
- Reviews & Ratings. It never hurts to ask! So ask! Ask your current customers to go online and review your business. Provide them with the link for easy access. Good reviews and ratings not only help your ranking, but also drive new business.
- Citations. These are mentions on other sites about your business. In Google Places, they can be found on the “What People Are Saying About” page. This is another case of the more the merrier, so work on securing citations from many sources.
With these areas completed, you will be well on your way to improving your local search rankings. The more complete you can get your profile the better. It is also recommended that you claim your website and submit it to primary local providers listed above. The time and effort you put into these tasks is bound to pay off in improved ranking results.