Google’s Pigeon update brought a ton of changes for local businesses when it came to search visibility. In their continuous effort to improve search for their users, they made it easier to see results based on their location. This means potential customers will be more likely to find your local business when they run a Google search!
Obviously, you aren’t the only store offering the product or service in your city. So what exactly does it take to reach the top of the rankings, and to ensure that the customer chooses you over your competitor? Here are some common tactics to help improve your local search rankings.
Ranking Locally for Toronto SEO
Ever Google a business and notice a box on the right side of the page, displaying all contact info for the business. It doesn’t require much effort to set up, but provides a huge boost in your search visibility! Using your Google+ account, you can set up a page for your business, letting potential customers know that you’re nearby.
Now that you’ve filled out your Google business page with your contact info, the next step is making sure your info is consistent across the web. Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) should be uniform across the web. Inconsistencies can confuse the Google crawlers, and have a negative impact on your search ranking. Simple things like “Spadina ave.” versus “Spadina Avenue” are all things you need to keep in mind when you are improving your local ranking. Stick to one spelling, and keep it that way every time your business is mentioned.
It’s difficult to have complete control over the formatting of your NAP. What you can do is crawl the web for mentions of your business, and send in a request to the webmaster to update your information so it remains as consistent as possible.
Aside from the Google business page, you can submit your business into local directories (411, YellowPages ). This will help you build relevant links,and build those important citations as well. Not only are both of these factors that Google uses for their local search rankings, but people browse through them as well.
Another ranking signal that Google uses when it comes to local search. Not only are Google Reviews important, but reviews from other sites, like Facebook and Yelp contribute to the ranking. As we know, Google is always working on improving their search engine so that it displays exactly what a person would be looking for. When making a purchasing decision, one of the most influential factors is seeing what others have to say about the product, so it’s only natural that they’re taken into consideration.
To gain reviews, you can encourage your satisfied customers to review you, and advertise your Yelp and Facebook pages. While we all want positive reviews, it’s expected we’ll encounter a few disgruntled customers. Sure, a negative review isn’t pleasant, but they also won’t make your SEO efforts go to waste.
Additionally, you don’t want to create dozens of phony reviews either. Google is a smart robot and will likely pick up on any funny business going on. It’s similar to natural backlinks, it takes time to build up reviews. If you suddenly have a huge influx of reviews written all within a short time span, Google will likely think that something is up, and may drop your rankings.
Other Ranking Factors
Since local SEO is still a form of search optimization, the usual ranking factors still apply. Things like backlinks, anchor text, and on-page optimization still apply. If you want to improve your Toronto ranking, getting links from other Canadian or Toronto based sites will help further push you up to the top. If you want to target “Toronto Pizza”, then anchor texts such as “Best pizza in Toronto” will help by connecting the city and type of restaurant to your business.
When it comes to on-page optimization, having “Toronto” along with your name or targeted keywords within your title tags, headings, and within the body will help improve your results. That doesn’t mean you can go crazy and keyword stuff your page and expect results!
Another important factor that is often overlooked is schema markup. Schema will help search engine robots breakdown your data and create rich snippets, providing a better search experience for the end user. Things like business hours, location, address, and business type can be included in the markup.
There you have it, simple ways to improve your local SEO. If you’re a small business, doing SEO work can be an intimidating task, but with all of these great resources available on the web, you can easily optimize your business within a few hours!