Local Search

Improving both your “organic search” and local rankings takes continuous and tactful work. As traditional media declines, online search rankings will play an ever more important part of your local business success. SEO (Search Engine Optimization), often called “On page” optimization are adjustments made to improve a sites performance and therefore improve search engine visibility – and they are vital. And so is your “off page” optimization.

If you have a traditional “bricks & mortar” business location, you should consider submitting and optimizing your business information on Google+. This is a separate Google search algorithm than the keyword search, as it is designed for local search. Google+ (formerly Google Places) and Google Maps use your business information in relation to the geographical center of a city. For instance, someone typing in a search term for your business, plus a geographical modifier, such as a city or town, might be able to find your business faster. “Local business results” often place higher than organic search though it might not affect the regular organic search.

Each critical page of your website should be optimized for search engine rankings so that when Google crawls over it with their “spider” it indexes the content, and there is no doubt of its credibility. But even if you don’t have a website, you should still have a Google+ page. All you really need is a “white pages” listing. Local SEO for businesses with a physical location and a website should always be double checked against the industry standard list of key factors Google+ rankings. See David Mihm’s Local Search Ranking Factors. This is an aggregate of ranking factors by the top experts published each year.

Here’s How To Do It: One of the critical elements used by search engines such as Google is the address of your business. Therefore, the address information must be uniform. Here is how you can make sure it is:

First, determine what address style is most commonly used for your online business listing. Type in your address accurately into the Google Search bar and see what comes up. If you notice slightly variations, make an attempt to make them uniform.  This also applies to phone numbers – use hyphens not decimal points between the numbers.

Second, put your address in the footer of each page or at least the critical pages of your website. Google will index the information which, again reinforces your signal.

Third, Google Places looks for various indicators of business credibility reinforced by local signals. Consider how you might best create signals that will give Google reason to believe your site is worthwhile. Here are some types of signals:

  1. “Non-linked” citations about your business: eg. “When I visited Victoria I went whale watching”
  2. “Linked citations”, similar to the above but hyperlinked.
  3. Review sites. Google favors reviews on credible review sites, and even aggregates these signals as a sentiment for their own 5 star rating.
  4. Local Directories. Any business with a credible link in any directory or subdirectory can improve Google Places ranking.

For general type businesses which sell products or offers services, other than restaurants, accomodation or tourism, list them in the following directories. Make sure you start with the Primary Directories, as most of the other secondary directories get their information from the primary ones.

Listing your business in all of the directories can take a bit of time. You can streamline the work by thinking about a description of your business and compiling a list of your core products or services. Once you are happy with the first profile you create, copy your description to a file that you can access easily to keep your description, categories and keywords used consistent. Also, if you are pressed for time, pace your entries to a few a week until finished.

  • Primary Directories
  • Yellowpages.ca
  • Google Maps
  • ShopinCanada.ca
  • CanPages.ca
  • Secondary Directories
  • HotFrog.ca
  • BrownBook.net
  • Ourbis.com
  • iBegin.com
  • ZipLocal.com
  • WebLocal.ca
  • FoundLocally.com
  • 411.ca
  • WCities.com
  • CityDirect.info
  • Where.ca
  • Yahoo.ca ($299./year) *Since Yahoo is really the biggest and arguably still the best directory, it might make sense for you to pay for the listing. Go to dir.yahoo.com

If you have completed editing your profile information on all the directories, you have now done what most fail to do, because they have not yet understood how important it is to let Google and the other search engines find them easily.

If you are unsure or pressed for time and would rather let someone with a bit more technical expertise do it for you, click here and find out how we can help.

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