Using Local (Map) Results to Your Advantage

local-listingsWhen your website appears in the local business results, you can benefit from a vast amount of traffic flowing to your website.

As a matter of fact, even the phone will literally be ringing off the hook since your phone number also appears in the local business results when someone types in your business name. This is the idea – you want customers to have easy access to your contact information and the way to accomplish this objective is through local business results.

Not only must you submit your listing to the local business results pages, but you also want to track that listing and adjust where necessary so that it remains current.

The three principal local business results which you need to connect your website to include:

  • Google — Google owns two-thirds of Internet traffic which makes Google the most important of these three
  • Yahoo — equally as important, but not quite as influential as Google
  • MSN/Bing — not quite as important as the first two but is likely to become a strong competitor in the future

Each one of these local business results detects certain keywords and location modifiers when ranking results. A typical listing provides an address, phone number, directions as well as reviews from customers. The business listing that has the most pertinent reviews, targeted keywords all through the listing, in addition to location modifiers is most likely to secure the number one spot in the local business results.

Some categories and targeted keywords in local results can be highly competitive more so, in metropolitan areas e.g. using the categories “car hire” in a city is going to be nearly impossible to penetrate, so do not waste time trying it. Rather, attack the less competitive categories.

Being listed and obtaining a high ranking begins with submitting your website to the three main search engines – Google, Yahoo and Bing. The following are the submission URL’s to these sites:

You should also submit your site to the local business center at Google. Go to Google and search for “Google local business center”. For Yahoo local, go to http://local.yahoo.com/ and for the Bing Local Listing Center go to https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx. Each site takes through you the process of submitting business information and receiving listing verification by phone or email. To be ranked highly, it requires more than just submitting basic information.

Some of the secrets to begin ranked in the top ten results or even at the top spot include:

  • Optimized listings. Ensure that you use keywords with location modifiers in every place possible in the listing. This includes title tags, headlines, descriptions, anchor text and image alt text.
  • Obtain reviews. To improve your click through rate, which Google pays great attention to, get reviews from prior customers. If you have permission from prior customers to use reviews, submit the same to review websites yourself. Superpages, InfoUSA, Yelp and Kudzu are just a few examples of the top review sites.
  • Obtain backlinks. Get back links from local directories. One of the rating factors built into the Google search algorithm is the number of back links to your site from high quality sources.
  • Select your areas. It is possible to rank in an area outside your immediate location. This is possible by renting a mailbox and obtaining a phone number for your area of interest to appear legit.
  • Choose multiple categories. To get a good ranking, select multiple categories related to your business. Ideally, you should select 4-5 categories when creating your local business results listing

When you are concentrating on optimizing your listing, you need to remember to add some longer keywords for your keyword list to the other specialties header section. This ensures you get more coverage for other keywords that failed to meet your description or title tag. Settle on 4 to 5 of these keywords in the specialties headers. Do not overdo it, as it may seem like you are spamming. This is good way to bring in traffic from the less prominent keywords.

It makes a lot of sense to synchronize the listings with other directory listings once your listings are submitted to the top local business results. E.g., submit your information to Kudzu, city search and other similar sites. Make sure you use the same titles, headings and descriptions that you used with Google, Yahoo and Bing. This creates consistency and Google takes note thereby boosting your Google ranking. Higher submissions guarantees better results.

Ensure you submit to these directories: For some inexplicable reason webmasters are yet to fathom, Google appears to be in love with the US Business Directory at http://www.cmac.ws. Another excellent directory is “Best of the Web Local.”

Other ranking factors that affect your listing include:

  • Relevance to the city center
  • Having an address in a large office building or an executive suite with multiple floors
  • Offering a coupon with the listing which also helps conversion rates
  • Google Maps place marks
  • YouTube videos and photos that contain the keyword in the title

Lastly, track your listing to keep it current and up to date. Maintain a log of your web listings and the changes you make so that in future, you can know what brought you success and then you can repeat the same.

For your listing to appear in local search business results, it takes an average of 3 to 4 weeks. So be patient, it will be well worth the wait when you finally appear in the top rankings.

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