Local SEO: Three Keys to Getting Your Business Found Online

If you are a small business, I’m here to remind you why you care about your online presence: You want to be found by potential customers. Most small business owners get this.  What they don’t get, is what they have to do in order to make it a reality.  This is where they get lost and spend lots of money on a professional website, or even worse- hiring a search engine optimization “firm” get them found on Google.

Local Search

SEO can leave you feeling burnt out- there’s lots of technical jargon, sketchy service providers, and quasi-ethical tactics. Plus, you can’t help but feel like that you have to trick Google into listing your website first and then trick people into clicking on it.

In reality, this isn’t about tricks or deception. Lets say you run a store that sells yoga clothes in Portland, OR. Trying to come up number one in Google for “yoga clothes” could be a year long, cash intensive pursuit. However, the competition for your business in local search results is much much lower.   Coming up #1 for “Yoga Clothes Portland, OR”, is reasonable and achievable without all the confusing SEO stuff.

While you’d get more hits by ranking #1 for “yoga clothes”, someone who is in Portland and needs to buy yoga clothes, isn’t going to search for just “yoga clothes”.  They are going to search for “yoga clothes” plus their location.

How to Do It

One of the most important things Google looks for are other websites that point to your website.

Lucky for you, there are a lot of website that want to point to your website if you are a small business.  If you take the time to put yourself in the following three places, your business will be coming up in local search results before you know it.

Google Maps

Why

Google started integrating maps results into general search results a few years ago. Even if you don’t have a website, your business can start ranking in local search results.

How

  • Enter your country and business phone number.  If it finds your business, click edit. If not, you can add it.

  • Provide as much information as you can. You can even put in your hours, a photograph (recommended) and parking details. These are all things that help you stand out in search results.

Facebook Page

Why

Facebook pages rank really well, and really quickly. In fact, when I first started Cloud Coach, my Facebook page was ranking higher than my own home page for a couple of days.

How

  • Facebook has streamlined the process for creating a page. For a step-by step walk-through go here and click on ‘Step By Step”

Yelp

Why

This extremely popular review site is especially important for brick and mortar businesses.  In fact, your business has probably already been reviewed on Yelp without you knowing it.

How

  • Head over to Yelp.com and search for your business.  It’s probably already listed. Did you find it?
  • If yes, click the link that allows you to ‘unlock’ the page. If your business isn’t already listed, go to https://biz.Yelp.com/ and sign up for a free biz account to create your page.

In addition to being able to edit your website, hours and other details, Yelp even provides analytics and alerts so you can respond to reviews (positive and negative) and further interact with your customers.  This encourages ustomers to review you, which helps your local search results along.

Disclaimer

Doing these three things cannot and should not replace an overall SEO strategy for your business.  Luckily, you’ve found yourself on a website that offers excellent SEO resources. I for one am excited Laura Roeder’s upcoming webinar on SEO and think you should be too.

Getting potential customers to find your website is one piece of your online strategy. Once you have visitors stopping by, your focus should shift as you start to build a mailing list, write great content, and interact via social media. These are all things that will help you get what you ultimately want: More customers.

How have you gotten yourself found in Google? Share your experience and tips in the comments.

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ethan-waldmanEthan Waldman helps offline business owners create an online presence to get more customers. Right now, many people are using his free 4-day course, Pre-Sold & Hooked, to build a profitable and responsive email list for their businesses.

Comments

  1. I love this concept. Are there people using this local seo for non brick and mortar businesses?

  2. Adam, Even if you don’t have a physical shop somewhere, if you provide some kind of service offline you can definitely list yourself on Google maps and Yelp. As long as you’re willing to share your address!

  3. Hi Laura, Nice and easy and to the point. I shared your blog post on my blog GROW YOUR BUSINESS IN DAYTON. Hope that’s okay with you.

    Also, would love to see a newsletter from you on QR codes and engaging with clients effectively using them. I have recently added QR codes to several of my print advertising client’s ads here in Dayton. Of course, Ohio is not New York or LA so the impact will be small, but with engagement as the goal, I think it can be worth it. More and more people are becoming curious about the QR codes and are upgrading to smart phones every day.

  4. Hi Ethan, Thank You for sharing! You might also get value from http://www.facebook-fb.com to Submit and List Facebook Page URL, Products, Services, City, State, Country of Business and to Find Facebook Page URL of Business. Kindly share it with your friends! Best! Shakti Saran

  5. Noce article, but wish I could implement more than a Facebook page – the other 2 options are not possible with a business based in Cusco, Peru. While I’m here, I’d welcome any comments on my company site: http://www.tambopatatravel.com promoting responsible travel to the Peruvian Amazon.

  6. Ooops, entered my email incorrectly! Here it is again and my comment:
    Noce article, but wish I could implement more than a Facebook page – the oiher 2 options are not possible with a business based in Cusco, Peru. While I’m here, I’d welcome any comments on my company site: http://www.tambopatatravel.com promoting responsible travel to the Peruvian Amazon.

  7. Great post, Ethan! Adding your business, whether it’s brick and mortar or not, to Google Maps, Facebook, and Yelp is a must (in most cases). For example, our company Sprout Social, a web-based social media tool, is listed on Google Maps. I think this helps with both SEO as well as brand exposure.

    In my opinion, Twitter should also be added to the list. I think it’s beginning to have a lot more influence in search rankings and could be a great platform for certain businesses to find new prospects and engage more with current customers.

    Brittany Morse | http://sproutsocial.com

  8. Excellent tips, Nathan.

    I’ve found being active on LinkedIn, Visible.me.com, Twitter and one’s own blog, all working together, can do wonders for strengthening the Web presence of a business.

    Best,
    John
    _____________________________
    John A. Fallone
    President, Biz Dev Consultant & CEO
    Traininguru

  9. I run a non-brick and mortar store (meaning I come to my customer) and I’m continuing to have a challenge. I service a 50-mile radius from my home. Even though I have an online profile, my business is not easily found in searches done in cities 40 miles away from “home address”. Are there any tactics that can help my business get found in the entire 50-mile radius and not just the area closest to my home?

    Thanks in advance.