A 5-Step Process to Outperform Your Competitors in Local Search

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Whether you’re running a small local business or heading an enterprise-level operation, your prospective customers are looking for your business online. To make that connection happen and outrank your competitors, you need to optimize your local search to bring in new website visitors, grow online sales, and keep customers coming back for more.


1. Have a Solid Online Marketing Strategy to Attract Customers via Local Search

It is absolutely undeniable that Google, Yahoo! and the other search engines have radically changed how we interact, collaborate and shop within our local communities. In fact, statistically, Google alone handles 100 billion searches per month around the world. Of these searches, 7 billion are unique local searches performed on Google per month in the United States.

So if you have a local business or one that targets audiences in a specific geographic location, you cannot under estimate the potential of local search as a form of marketing. Additionally, mobile search is absolutely exploding. According to a 2014 Google study, 4 out of 5 consumers use the search engines to find local information. Of that number, 88% search on their smartphone.

  • 54% search for business hours
  • 53% search for directions to a local store
  • And 50% search for local store addresses

The study also concluded that 18% of local smartphone searches lead to a purchase within a day. Read more

How to Optimize Your Business Listing on Google+ Local

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Every day, millions of people search for businesses on Google. This makes it important for you to have a local business listing that can be easily found on Google.com and Google Maps. With Google+ Local, you can do this in a matter of minutes and it does not cost a thing.


Why use Google+ Local

1. You can speak for yourself

With Google+ Local, you can create a great listing for your business and make sure its details are accurate and thorough.

2. It’s easy to use

A local business listing is an easy way to maintain an online presence with or without a website.

3. It’s free

Creating a listing on Google+ Local is completely free. You can, in addition, make your listing shine by adding extras to it like photos and videos, custom categories and coupons to encourage customers to check in or make a first-time purchase.

How to Make the Most of Your Listing on Google+ Local

More people search for businesses online than anywhere else. A rich listing which features a description, appropriate images and videos, business hours and a link to your website will encourage potential customers to choose your service over others. Accurate and thorough information can also help Google match your listing to more searches directly increasing the number of views your listing gets.

So How Can you Optimize the Listing for Your Business on Google?

Google+ Local brings users and their local businesses together. To that end:

1. Create a business listing that is both complete and accurate.

  • Make sure your business location is entered correctly. Do not place your pin marker at a location where your business does not physically exist.
  • List your official business website on the local listing. Do not provide URLs that redirect users to landing pages other than those of the actual business.
  • Include images and videos. This will help your business stand out.
  • Include other relevant and useful information such as your opening hours.
  • And of course, make sure your business name and phone number are accurate. Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location instead of a call center number whenever possible.

2. Choose the Right Categories for Your Business.

  • For your business to show for the right searches, you need to pick a category from the list of suggestions that depicts what your business is.
  • Choose specific categories instead of broad ones if those are more appropriate. The point is to describe your business well.

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5 Easy Ways to Get Ranked in Google Places

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As a local business owner, one of your priorities is (should be) to establish a concrete online presence. Since Google is the #1 go-to resource for people looking for specific local services, you owe it to your business to be top-ranked for your keywords. SEO is time consuming, and can be expensive, but you see many of your rivals showing up, seemingly effortlessly, in the top 5 results, through Google Places! This article is about not making it too easy for your competitors, and to be among the top results too.


1. Setup a Well-worded, Attractive Profile

This should be a no-brainer. Get a Google Account and setup your business page. If you don’t have a Places page, you’re leaving a lot of customers on the table – both web based and mobile based. Google places a lot of emphasis on Google Places pages for local search results. It doesn’t take much time and is easy to set up.

Make sure you add keywords to your business description – don’t stuff them in! Instead, write an engaging description that incorporates your keywords.

2. Get Listed. Get Cited

Now that you’ve got your page up and running, it’s important to give it authority and credibility. Credibility comes from being mentioned by “giants” in your area – if Yelp or TripAdvisor is talking about your business, then it must be good. Make sure if they list your description, contact information, or any other data, it must match exactly to the data you’ve provided in your Google Places Page.

This will boost your organic search engine rankings tremendously. You need to strongly encourage satisfied customers to rate your page on Google Places, and rave about your business on Yelp, CitySearch and other authority websites.

You need to ensure that all your listed information is accurate and matches your Google Places Page exactly.

3. Link Building Done Right

Most webmasters are comfortable in this familiar territory. Like most content, link building to your page is a surefire technique to get ranked high on Google. We would like to add a caveat – not every type of link will help. Concentrate on building links from “local pages” and social signals – they count enormously toward pushing up your Page in Google Places. Your links should mention your business name, URL and phone numbers to be more relevant to your website. The best places to get links would be bloggers, other local business websites and listing directories. Quantity helps, but make sure you build your links in an organic, spaced out time interval, instead of all at once.

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4 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Local SEO Campaign

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Although there are a lot of articles on the subject, local search marketing can be quite tricky. What I would like to share in this article are 4 things that while fairly simple, tend to be overlooked by many business owners or their search engine marketing team.


1. Local Data Aggregators

TripAdvisor, Google +, Yelp. Are you optimizing your business listings correctly?

No? You should!

Yes? You shouldn’t stop there!

With Google + having a strong influence in the search engines, I don’t think I even have to say why your listing there should be optimized (okay fine, I just did!). People use Yelp and TripAdvisor all the time, so search crawlers are hanging out there too to see what’s up with your business.

However, some businesses just stop here – and they shouldn’t! Google doesn’t take into account citations from just these 3 places! It crawls 1000s of websites to do so!

Make sure to submit your data on websites that have dedicated “local” pages. A good place to start is on these 4 influential data aggregators: NeustarLocaleze, InfoUSA, Acxiom, and Factual.

Why bother? Well, here is a good way to think of it: If your business is in it for the long-run and is “legit”, you will want it to be found in as many places as possible. This includes offline and online spots. A “dodgy” overnight “business” might run a few PPC or CPM ads, but a legitimate business will take the time to build increase its presence in other ways too. And if 100s of local aggregators mention you, chances are, your business is legit and valuable.

2. 10 Stores = 10 Pages, or Something Like That

This is advice straight from Matt Cutts. Literally, he has a post on his blog titled: “SEO Advice: Make a web page for each store location”.

It’s not a long article, but for those of you who just want the main takeaway, here it is:

Don’t hind your store location information behind a form or a POST. Create a unique, easily crawlable URL for each store. Also have an HTML sitemap of the stores’ web pages if you can. He also acknowledges that this might not be ideal for ALL businesses, so he proposes this solution as well:

“If you have a relatively small number of stores, you could have a single page that links to all your stores. If you have a lot of stores, you could have a web page for each (say) state that links to all stores in that state.”

Oh, and if you really want to maximize your chances of getting ranked higher, then by all means, optimize these pages for mobile too. It should not be a surprise that people are very likely to look for your store location on the go.

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How To Get Started With Google Places For Business | A Quick Guide

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Say you own a business. Internet search is a great tool for getting found by potential customers. More people use online search engines like Google than any other media to find local information. This makes it useful to take control of your listings on Google and let customers know what you are all about. Google Places is hands down the best local listing. And you are about to find out why.

Google-PlacesWhy Use Google Places?

1.Through Google Places, You can Reach out to Millions of Google Users for Free

With the popularity of the Internet, more people search for businesses online than any other media so it’s of vital importance that if you own a business, you get a local business listing so your potential customers on Google and Google Maps can find you. With Google Places, you can do this in a matter of minutes and it does not cost anything.

2.Let People Know What You are All About

If you have a website for your business and you are getting your search engine optimization right, you probably already show up on Google. If you get a business listing on Google Places, you will still need to verify your details to make sure they are accurate. Within a few minutes of that happening, you will be able to customize how your business is listed on Google and Google Maps. You can include photos, your business hours and anything else that will help you stand out from your competition down the street.

3.It’s Easy to Manage

Google Places is easy to use and even if you don’t have a website, you can still maintain a decent online presence for your business with this local listing. Any time you wish to make a change to your listing, simply visit Google Places and edit the information you provided before. Using Google Places, you can also access data like how many people have clicked on your listing.

4.Free Premium Options

With Google Places, you can make your business listing on Google and Google Maps really shine with custom photos, videos and coupons to draw in the big crowds.

How to Get Started with Google Places

You can get started right away!

 1. Signing Up

To get started with Google Places, visit this link. Fill in the information about your business and agree to the terms. You will be asked for an email address. Use an email address you want associated with your business listing.


2. Verify your Listing

The next step is to verify your business listing. This is done by mail and it ensures that your business is indeed located where you said it is.


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Where to Submit Your Site to Improve Your Local SEO?

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Did you know?

  • 20% of the searches performed on Google are for a local business
  • That percentage sky-rockets to 40% when we’re talking mobile

Gone are the days when only 10 plain listings are obtained on the results page. Now you see the authors’ pictures, videos, rich snippets, and…LOCAL LISTINGS.


As a local business, this is what you should be concerned with (the local listings). Why? Because these are where most of the eyeballs go, and where they tend to spend some time at.

Obtaining a good ranking in the local listings is a slightly different “game”, when compared to getting a good ranking in the organic results. Instead of ‘links’, your business will need ‘citations’. The more citations and mentions your business has, the higher it is going to rank in the local listings. Oh and yeah, your business needs a Google Places page as well (else it won’t show up there).

Once you create a Google Places page for your business, spend some time to make it look good; Fill up all necessary information, upload pictures and videos etc. That’s the easy and fun part. When you are done, it’s time to spread your business’ info around.

The Big Question: Where? Where Can We Obtain Those Citations?

Directories. They are the answer. People look for businesses in directories too. So go ahead and get your business listed in directories (or use a service that can do it for you for cheap!).

If you are in the united State of America, here is a list of 20 local directories  where you can start your submissions:

Stalk Your Competitors

Find out where your competitors are getting listed. You can do this by simply searching for their business names or phone numbers (using quotation marks will help most of the time).

Be creative. Sometimes add the area code to see what comes up. Use a mix of address and phone number, or street name and zip code, etc. Different queries will bring different results. And don’t forget to check out “Page 2” of the results as well to see stuff that are less specific to the actual business.

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How To Take On Local SEO As A Small Business


Just like ‘mobile’ and ‘social media’ are products of the evolution of the web that keep getting more and more attention, ‘local SEO’ is one of those products as well. This is especially applicable to small businesses.


The major search engines are taking into account the fact that when people perform a search about a product or service, they are probably looking for something in the area. This is why, as a small business, it is important (I would even say crucial) to get involved in local SEO.

This article is a mini-guide to local SEO for small businesses. Hopefully this will remove the ‘alien factor’ of this new ‘thing’ and will help you dive into it.

Local SEO is not a lot different from regular SEO. It can still be divided into 3 main components:

  1. Research
  2. On-site optimization
  3. Off-site optimization


SEO ResearchWhat are you targeting? Who are you targeting? What are people looking for? Are you providing what they are looking for?

You need to identify your target audience and their needs.

There are a lot of keyword tools that are helpful at this stage. There is the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool, the paid service Wordtracker, as well as other tools like Market Samurai or Traffic Travis. It really comes to personal preference for this selection.

You need to gather a list of keywords that local people are typing in the search engines. Let’s suppose that I have a small business in Knoxville that provides a 24-hour plumbing service.

A 2-minute search on Google AdWords Keyword Tool got me these interesting keywords: Knoxville plumbers, plumbing Knoxville tn, emergency plumbing Knoxville, plumbers in Knoxville tn.

Digging deeper would get me even more. These keywords are relevant to my service, so I will want to add them to a list of keywords I want to target.

The next step in this phase is to see who else is ranking for my desired keyword phrases; I am talking about competition analysis. I will want to make a list of my competitors and their backlinks. For this purpose, I can use Google for the actual search, and the various link research tools available for finding their backlinks.

On-site Optimization On page optimisation

While this article is about local search engine optimization, I would feel terribly guilty if I don’t at least say something about the overall design and layout. Your content might be great, but if your design is repulsive, chances are people will leave your website as soon as they see it. SEO will not be the issue here. Actually, a high bounce rate will hurt your rankings.

That’s it about design (for this post); now back to SEO.

There is no big difference between on-page optimization for local SEO and general SEO, except maybe for 1 thing: Your company’s name, phone number and address. Search engines can recognize them. So it might be beneficial adding them on all your pages (maybe in the footer, sidebar or even header!).

And of course, you will have to take care of the other ‘regular’ stuff as well, for example:

  • Page title
  • Meta keyword
  • Meta description
  • Keyword between H1 tags (and maybe H2 and H3 as well)
  • A good keyword density
  • URL optimization
  • ALT tags for images

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