How To Rank In Local Search Results With Your Small Business Website

how to rank in local search results with your small business website

If you have a small business, you may not be too crazy about paying someone $500 or more per month just to help rank your website.

When it comes to building a local business that will be around for years to come, you need to maximize every cent you put into it.

If your marketing budget is low, you need more customers and you want to take your website to an elite level, here’s how to rank in local search results:

 

1. Make your site fast

It’s pretty obvious that search engines are starting to really value site speed as ranking factors. Not only do you retain more website visitors when your site loads quickly, it helps your rankings.

Go to tools.pingdom.com and test your website speed. If it takes over 2 seconds to load, use the recommendations Pingdom gives you for speeding it up.

Here are a few additional articles to help you with blog speed:

 

2. Make your site mobile-friendly

Around half of internet traffic is now coming from mobile devices, which means search engines have to make sure their top search results have mobile-friendly sites.

Get your smartphone and pull up your website. If the page is responsive to where everything fits into the screen and looks good, you should be fine. If it just looks the same as the desktop version of your site, you have a problem.

To make sure your site is responsive, get a theme, or website builder that is built to be mobile-responsive. If you don’t want to change your WordPress theme, you can get a plugin to create a mobile version of your site.

Here are some mobile responsiveness plugins:

 

3. Use keywords in title tag and meta description

Every website has a website name or title tag. It also has a description.

When you include keywords you want to rank for in these two tags, you give yourself a better chance of ranking and letting search engines know what you site is about.

To change the title tag in WordPress, go to your dashboard, click “settings” and then “general settings”. You can change the site title as well as the tagline.

To change the meta description of your WordPress site, get the Yoast SEO plugin. After doing so, go to the “SEO” tab on your dashboard, then “titles & metas”, then “homepage”.

You can edit the meta description here.

Make sure you don’t just list keywords in these tags. Make the title your business name. Make the tagline a phrase that describes what you do while including keywords.

Also, make the meta description a complete sentence that describes what your company is about and include keywords. People will see this when your site is in search results, so make it legible.

Note: Keyword stuffing results in negative SEO rankings, so don’t make anything on your site look unnatural.

 

4. Add site to as many local directories as possible

Not only will being in every local business directory get you a little boost in traffic, it will give you some backlinks that help you rank. There are dozens of local directories to add your site to.

Here are a few of them:

For a complete list of directories for local businesses, check out this post.

 

5. Name, address and phone on every page

Google knows that local businesses do a lot of business in person at its physical location. Therefore they want you to include your business name, address and phone number on every page of the site.

To do this, include this information in your header menu or footer.

 

Related: 25 Email Marketing Tips And Tricks For Beginners

 

6. Google My Business page

Google is still the biggest and most widely used search engine. In fact, it gets more traffic than any site on the planet, according to Alexa. Therefore, you need to do well in Google if you want a huge uptick in business.

To do this, you want to have a quality website, but also a quality Google My Business page. This page allows you to get in local page results that display above search results.

Your business page will allow you to get reviews from customers and show up as a top location on Google Maps for your particular service.

Having the website on your page matching your local business site will also allow Google to officially associate your business with its real location and help your rankings.

In many cases, a Google My Business page will get you more business than an entire website.

 

7. Bing business page

Google isn’t the only search engine, you know. Bing has established itself as one of the top 3 and they have a somewhat similar business page option to Google’s that you should take advantage of.

Setup a Bing local business page and it will give you better search results, as well as another place where you can get customer reviews.

Bing gets a ton of traffic, so don’t even think about overlooking this.

 

8. Facebook business page

Remember how I said Google has the most traffic in the world? Well, Facebook happens to be #2 on the list. You might want to make a local business page with them too.

When you go to Facebook to set up a new page, just click the “Local business or place” option. This will help you create the right type of page.

Here you can post, get likes for your business and help your rankings in search engines. Facebook is also great for advertising because they have more data about your target audience than most other sites.

 

9. Twitter Profile

Many small businesses don’t even make a Twitter profile, but it can be beneficial. Just like with your Facebook page, showing that you have a lot of followers shows Google and other search engines that you are popular.

This can help you rank higher and any profile you can make that allows you to add your business information and earn reviews, followers or likes, will help you with your rankings.

 

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10. Click-through rate

Search engines are always looking to improve the search results for visitors. One way they’ve really been able to do this the last few years is by taking click-through rates into account in their algorithm.

The click-through rate of your site is basically how often people actually click on your site when they see it search results.

If your site seems to get a higher click percentage in results for a keyword phrase, usually your site will move up above the sites that get fewer clicks. This results in better rankings and more traffic.

To improve your click-through rate, you need to make your site look very interesting in search results for whatever keywords you are trying to rank for.

You do this by make the title, tagline and meta description as attractive as possible. Include things like:

  • top keywords
  • a phrase like “family owned and operated”. This can make people feel more comfortable about choosing your services if they think your business is honest and not too corporate.
  • “serving our industry for 50 years” or whatever your number is if your business has been around a long time. Longevity tells people you can be trusted and your business is a good one.
  • “over 10,000 satisfied customers” or however many you’ve had. People like to know that you have helped lots of customers.

Phrases like these build trust and make your business look better than the competition. Also, compare your site’s search results to your competitors. What can you do to make yours sound better than theirs?

11. Reviews on Google, Yelp, Bing, etc.

The more positive, diverse reviews about your business the better. The problem is, most people won’t leave reviews. Most people have no reason to. It doesn’t benefit them to leave a review.

So, how do you get more people to leave reviews, so you can get more business? Here are a few methods you might try:

  • Hand out review instruction flyers to people after your business is complete. This is good if you see a lot of customers in person.
  • Give a coupon or discount offer to people who leave a review. This is great because it gives them an incentive to do it. Who doesn’t like saving a little money?
  • Have a page or button on your website that says something like, “Let us know how we did”. And then link to where they can leave a review.

Whatever you do though, don’t pay for reviews. Google knows when reviews don’t look natural. Don’t try to take any shortcuts when it comes to reviews or your website.

 

12. Domain name with keywords

Your domain name can be one of the best resources for helping you rank for keywords.

By having your main keyword phrase as your domain name and company name, you guarantee your site will always have at least one good keyword phrase on every single page.

You may include the name of the business and the location you want to rank for in the domain name. The more targeted the domain name, the cheaper it should be as well.

For more on picking the best domain, read this post.

 

13. Respond to reviews

Engagement is a good signal to search engines that you are all about creating a good customer experience.

When you respond to reviews, thanking people or letting them know how much you enjoyed working with them, it not only makes people want to come back, it shows search engines that you are good to your customers.

When you see reviews on your Google page, Bing page or others, respond to them and keep the engagement going, so customers as well as search engines appreciate you more.

No one likes to be ignored.

 

14. Add photos to listings

Search engines also want to know that you aren’t trying to mislead or scam anyone. By providing lots of photos on content and listings, it sends the message that you have nothing to hide.

This may be a minor part of ranking your local business, but every little detail counts when it comes to getting more customers.

 

15. Consistently publish blog posts

Posting blog posts is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors because most local businesses probably won’t do them.

Many local businesses just do a small website and let it sit there hoping they get some extra business while still focusing mostly on getting customers to walk through their door the old fashion way (seeing their sign and paying a visit in person).

By posting content that is very targeted to the specific types of keyword phrases you want to rank for, you now give yourself the chance to not only rank your website’s homepage, but also each article.

Plus, when you do this consistently, say, a couple times a week, search engines will see that your site is lively, always updating and willing to create more value for potential customers.

This helps rankings and gives you a chance to show potential customers your expertise, as well as what your business is all about.

 

16. Have a FAQ

There are always going to be those people calling, emailing and bothering you about questions they have. Typically, you will get the same questions over and over again.

To address these frequent questions, create more helpful content and save your staff some time, create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page.

This will give people some more background information to help people know how you do business and what to expect before they start contacting you asking a bunch of questions that you get all the time from others.

This page helps visitors and can rank is search results to even get you more traffic.

 

17. Bounce rate

Your bounce rate is the percentage of website visitors that go to your site and then leave quickly without staying or going through other pages.

When you have a high bounce rate, it tells search engines that you are not what the visitors were looking for.

Therefore, your site isn’t as high quality of a search result as it should be and you will fall in the rankings. You obviously don’t want this at all.

Instead you need to make sure that your titles, meta descriptions, etc. are all completely congruent with the pages they describe.

On top of that, your site needs to load fast and not annoy visitors in any way that might make them want to leave. Congruency, quality content and site performance are the biggest factors in bounce rates.

For more on decreasing your site’s bounce rate, read this.

 

Related: 20 Website Traffic Tips – How To Get 100,00 Visitors A Month

 

Conclusion

Every local business needs an online presence these days. People tend to do their research online before even getting in their cars to go to the physical locations because it can save them time and is more convenient.

You need to optimize your site to rank or else why even have the site at all? Using these 17 tips should definitely help you get the ball rolling and help you start seeing some new customers for your small business.

What do you think is the most important factor for ranking locally with a small business website?

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I’m an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.
About The Author

Justin Bryant

I'm an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.

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