Get Local: Improving Your Search Visibility

We’re sure you’ve seen it; you do a search in Google, Yahoo or Bing for a product in a specific region and business listings come up next to a map, which usually appear towards the top of the search results.  These are local directory listings and this is why local search has become an important part of SEO for any website, especially for small to medium sized businesses.  By having a local directory listing you provide the search engines with important information, such as your location information and product descriptions, which will help improve your opportunity to rank for location based searches, for the products you offer.  And now that mobile Internet use has become a strong aspect of search, local directory listings are becoming more important here as well.  When someone does a search on their mobile device, geo-location information now plays a key role in determining which listings will appear in the search results.  By having your location information available through your directory listing you create a better opportunity for your site to show for local based searches, whether it is a desktop or mobile search.

What can you do to build your local presence online?

First, claim your listings. Start out with the big three, Google, Yahoo! and Bing.  If you have multiple locations, be sure to fill out and verify each location individually.  Google, for example, is able to use the data in your listing to determine what you offer, but there is no ‘certificate of trust’ unless you claim your business listing(s).  Since there is so much incorrect information in local listings, verifying your information data goes a long way for ranking.  Be sure you have the current address, phone number and web address in your listings.

Once you claim and edit your listing, make sure you update the Category section for your listing.  Select all the categories that best describe the type of services and products you offer.  By including categories you give the search engines more relevant keywords about your business which will help improve your sites rankings for these specific searches.

You will also be able to add information about your business in the Description area.  Since the search engines mainly use your address for location searches, by adding other areas you serve in the Description it may help your site rank for other areas.  The Description is also an area you can include other relevant information about your business that you could not include in the Category section.

Each search engine is slightly different when it comes to providing local search results, but they each use the pieces of information you provide in your local directory listing to rank your business for local based searches.  Make sure you include as much relevant information about your business as possible. By taking these steps to build your local presence your business will often see an increase in targeted traffic and it will help in the overall search engine ranking of your site.

Follow the links below to get started and claim your listings:

Google:http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/static.py?hl=en&page=guide.cs&guide=28247&topic=28248

Yahoo!: http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/directory/basics/steps/basics-22.html

Bing: https://ssl.bing.com/listings/BusinessSearch.aspx

Commercial Web Services

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