For the first decade of this century, it was extremely hard for local businesses to rank for one of the top 5 spots on search engines such as Google or Yahoo. But with the advent of smartphones, search engines shifted their focus from listing larger companies to focusing on what the user was actually looking for…a business nearby.
In the past, if someone did a search for restaurants, multinational chains with budgets in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars would appear first on the list and local restaurants were relegated to spots on the next pages. The good news is that it’s a much different environment today. Local has moved to the forefront of search, but local businesses still struggle to get higher rankings because they lack the tools and knowledge to get higher rankings.
What is Local SEO?
Local search engine optimization, also known as local SEO or simply local search, is comprised of several components. Among these are:
- Website Optimization
- Social Media Pages
- Directory Listings
- Review Sites
- Link Building
Optimizing your Website for Local Search
The process of properly optimizing your website for local search can be a bit tedious and time-consuming for the average business owner. Items such as consistency in your company’s contact information such as the name of the company, physical address, and phone number are vital so that they match information that search engines have compiled to increase the “search relevancy” of your company. In addition, creating fresh and pertinent information and content, relevant keywords and phrases, local content, and ensuring that your website is utilizing the latest technologies that all for mobile viewing are all factors that are used in a search engine’s determination of your rankings.
The Power of Citations in Local SEO
Another aspect of Local SEO is citations. Citations are simply the business listing information on any site where your business can be listed. Sites like Google Maps, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, or Home Advisor are among the 300 sites in which your business can be listed. These listing create backlinks to your website that search engines use to determine your ranking.
Checking the citation of 300+ sites can definitely be time-consuming and not all sites are easy to update.
At Fourth Circle Enterprises we have the tools and the know how to make sure your citations are everywhere they need to be with your correct information.
Reviews and Local Search
Online reviews are critical to businesses and search engines take these reviews into account when ranking for local search. Some sites discourage businesses from openly asking for reviews (such as Yelp) while others not only encourage, but provide materials for businesses to give to customers to help them review you online.