Are you a local business? Are you doing everything possible to make sure that your current and potential customers can find you? Gone are the days when a simple, static website with a phone number and Email address would make you stand out from the crowd. These days, there a pretty solid list of things that you should be doing (or have done for you) to make sure that you’re well-favored by Google, Yahoo and Bing.
When it comes to ranking locally, the first thing you should make sure that you have in place is a verified Google My Business listing. This listing should be NAP compliant – that is, have the business, name and phone number correctly displayed. Once you have those items in place, you’ll want to make sure that the local area refers back to your page. These are also known as citations, and you’ll want to make sure that there are a lot of them, and that they are accurate. If you have inconsistencies in your NAP listings, it’s possible that Google will penalize your website. But get these things right, and you might be rewarded by having your site placed in the top 3 listings.
When you go to set up the Google My Business listing, here’s a checklist you can use to make sure you’re in compliance:
- A unique, long description that is correctly formatted and has live links.
- Professional looking photographs of your business. It’s best that at least one of the photos shows any signage you might have, and the address.
- The phone number for your business should include the area code – even if the area code covers the entire city.
- The business address in the Google My Business listing needs to match that of the one on your website.
- Hours of operation – don’t leave this blank! If you are closed on Saturday and Sunday, that’s no problem. Just make sure the hours you enter here match your operating days and hours.
- If your business is not new, ask for reviews. Google loves to see feedback that your business is well thought of by your customers.
In part two of this series, we’ll discuss how to get local reviews, and why this is becoming increasingly important when working to rank within your city. Along with why the reviews are important, we’ll pass along a few ideas about how to get these reviews.