This is a very fortunate time in that websites have never been easier to create and at the same time most local businesses are hesitant to develop their own site. If you haven’t yet built your own site, purchase a domain name and hosting with a company like Hostgator. Then get started building your site with WordPress or Weebly. Once you’ve done that you’re ready to get some local search results to draw traffic to your site.
With the exception of a few industries, it does not require much to jump to #1 in Google for your local search results and here’s how you do it:
1) Keyword Research: I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face: keyword research will make or break you. Use the Google Keyword Planner to find which business related keyword people are searching for. You can narrow down the results by city and state to help find more targeted keyword phrases. Make sure to include your city or state in your keyword. For example, if you dog training in Springfield, your keyword should be “Springfield Dog Training”. For more keyword research advice check out this post.
2) Onsite SEO: Put keyword in website title, homepage title, meta description and throughout the homepage text. That will help optimize your site for Google’s search engine. Most local businesses do not have any SEO (onsite or offsite), so by just optimizing your onsite SEO, you will rank high in the organic search results.
3) YouTube: Make an entertaining YouTube video giving your customers a tour of your business. The more authentic this video is, the better. Don’t worry about trying to create a “viral” video because you won’t. You are just showing customers who you are, what you do and where you do it. Now title the video with your keyword phrase and add first your website URL and then the keyword used in your video description. Do this right, and you will have a video showing up on the first page of Google.
4) Google Places: List your business on Google Places. This will not only make your business show up on Google Maps but will also get you listed on the Google Local Results. When you fill out the application for Google Places, make sure to fill in all the profile details as and add an appealing profile picture. Also, ask your happy customers to give a review of you Google+ profile to help you rank higher in the Google Local Results.
5) Backlinks: Last, get some strong backlinks (offsite SEO) – these are links from someone else’s site pointing to your site. If you know people in your industry with strong, well-developed websites (check PageRank here, 0-10 scale – higher is better) ask them to add a link pointing to your site on their page. This will help transfer “link juice” to you which will help with your rankings. If you don’t know anyone, contact a local SEO company that can help you with backlinking.
There you have it – a simple effective strategy for getting to the top of Google’s Local Results. Use this along with other basic SEO techniques and you could find your site showing up 2-3 times on the first page of Google’s search results.