If you spend any time at all on Local Search Marketing, you know that Google and the rest of the local search sites present business listings based on three primary factors:
- Signal Strength
It is true that you don’t need a website to be listed on the local search sites, but having an optimized Contact Page can do nothing but help your ranking.
In this article, I’m going to show you some simple things you can do on your website (if you have a website) to move your listing up on the local search results page. In addition, these techniques will also place your website high in the organic results.
I’m also going to assume that you have one business location. If you have multiple locations you would create multiple contact pages for each location.
Full Business Address
This is one of the simplest and most important things you can do on your website. Providing a full and accurate business address will not only make it easy for customers to find you, but it is a sure way to get a strong citation.
It’s obviously imp0rtant to list your business address on your contact page, but let me also encourage you to put it in either the footer or sidebar of your website. This will make it easily visible to both search engines and your customers on every page of your site.
Here’s an example of a full business address that is citation worthy
821 Kumulani Drive
Kihei, Hawaii, 96753
If you were to place this address in the footer of your website or blog, here is an alternative format.
Sommers Communication 821 Kumulani Drive Kihei, HI 96753 808-891-0449
Local Telephone Number
Providing a local telephone number on your site is also very important. It’s another way for the search engines and your customers to see that you are in fact a local business. Listing a 1-800 number does not serve you when it comes to optimizing your business listing for the search sites. If the only number you list on your contact page is a 1-800#, it will do you more harm than good.
I suggest that you provide your local customers with a local number and provide your 1-800 number as an alternative. This way you get the best of both worlds. The search engines will see your business as a legitimate local business with a local address and a local telephone number, and your out of town customers will have the alternative to contact you via your toll-free number.
Placing driving directions to your business on your contact page is double win in the Local Search Marketing arena. Here’s how it works.
When you provide written driving directions to your business location from a variety of directions, you will inherently be using local words and phrases used by local customers to find your business. In doing so, you will make it very easy for local customers to find your business. Secondly, the search engines are more likely to show your business high in the results for people who use local landmarks to find your business.
For example, if you do a search for auto sales near the big chicken, you would find Jim’s auto sales near the top of the search results. Why? Because Jim used the term “big chicken” when offering directions to his business.
We are located at 49 North Cobb Parkway in Marietta, Georgia across from the big chicken.
You can’t make this stuff up.
The next thing you want to do is place a Google Map … or a link to a Google Map on your contact page, again for multiple reasons.
To start, there are people like me who find it much easier to read a map than follow directions.
The second reason is that when you add a link to a Google Map from your contact page, it provides you with a valuable business citation from Google. Here’s the Google Map to Jim’s Auto Sales
Who would have thought that meta tags would have come back into vogue on the Internet? I certainly didn’t. But as it turns out, meta tags are the perfect tool to help the search engines identify the purpose and location of local businesses.
For many of you reading this post, it might be too late to do anything about creating a URL with your business name and descriptive keywords. URL’s carry a lot of weight, not only for search engines but for people looking for a service.
Here are a couple examples of URL’s. Can you determine which URL will do the best job of helping the search engines understand what the website is about? Which of the URL’s do you think someone looking for a bed and breakfast on Maui is most likely to click on?
Yes, the second URL is much longer, but it really doesn’t matter. Most people are not going to type in your web address anyway. They’re going to see it as a clickable link in the search engines.
Here’s the other advantage of having a longer URL. If someone does a search for the term, “bed and breakfast in Maui,” the search engines are going to show those words in bold print if they show up in the domain name. Here’s how they would look.
Again, which of the two URL’s are you most likely to notice and click on?
Each page on your website has its own address. This is another way to help the search engines and people looking for local products and services easily find your business.
The search engines do seem to pay attention to who owns the website. You can easily find this information by going to WhoIs and typing in the website URL. You may want to take a moment right now and look-up your website.
Four Possible Owners
- Your Company
- Your website developer
- Who Is does not show the owner
- If you are listed as the owner by name, change ownership to your company name. This provided a level of continuity between business owner and business listing for the search engines. It will help in your ranking.
- If WhoIs shows your website developer as the owner of your site, I encourage you to change it to your company name immediately. If this is the case, you legally do not own the website, even if you paid to have it built and maintained. This could turn into a huge problem. Do it now.
- If WhoIs does not show who owns the website, ask yourself why? If you can’t come up with a good answer, change the ownership to your company name.