It is estimated that over 20% of all searches on Google are local, and due the new integrated organic and google places search results appearing at the top of the page – it is clear that ranking well in Google Local is becoming more and more important.
I've put together a number of tips that can help your website rank highly for local search – stuff that we do as part of our ongoing website management for our Classic and Premier clients!
Register Your Business’ Google Places Listing
Do you have a Google Local listing? If you do, that’s a good start – but you still need to make sure that you’re the owner of it. To claim your listing, Google your company in Google maps. Once you've located your listing click on the blue hyper-link titled ‘Business Owner” on the right hand side.
Using an existing Gmail email address or one you have created for your business, claim your listing. If there is no listing for your business, cruise over to Google Local and get started. The more complete your account, the better. Add a business description, you listing to relevant categories, photos, videos, treatment information, opening hours and payment information.
Ensure Your Website Content References Your Location
Make sure that your content describes that product or services you sell and the city in which you’re offering them! It seems extremely simple but it is often overlooked. An easy way to do this is in headings, “Dental Implants Poole” And in content, “A private dental practice based near the centre of Poole and serving the surrounding areas including Broadstone, Blandford and Wimborne. ” You want to make sure to reference your treatments alongside your city so that when Google crawls your website it sees both. The trick to this is making sure that you don’t stuff your content with keywords or locations; your content has to make sense, or you could be penalised.
Put Your Address & Phone Number in the Footer of your Website
Putting a verifiable address and phone number on your website increases your algorithmic integrity with the Google robots. Referencing your local address on each page really shows Google where your business is located and that you are in fact a real business.
Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) Consistency
Ensure that your company’s name, address and phone number are displayed consistently across every single website, directory or link. If your name is Baker Street Dental Practice ,you will need to make sure that you always use the full name Baker Street Dental Practice every time you display your company’s name online. Any variations like Baker Street Dental Clinic will only dilute your search results. The same is true for your address; commit to one way of displaying your mailing address and one way only. When it comes to your phone number, the natural inclination is to publish your 800 number in the most prominent place; however, if you post your local number first it identifies your business as relevant much more quickly.
The golden unicorn of local search. Reviews act in a similar way that link building does. Legitimate reviews show Google that live people are using your services and buying your products. Even better, reviews are recommendations from people and not just affiliate links from websites. Encourage your customers to review your business on Google Places and other review sites such as Qype and Hotfrog – and don’t forget about industry-specific review sites like Dentist Finder. Using Dentist Finder you can even send our patient review requests to patient email addresses.