How Can I Get My Local Business to Rank Higher in Search?

Friday is “Question of the Week” day here at Duct Tape Marketing. Each Friday I’ll tackle a specific question I received via readers or in places where I’m speaking. Submit your question here and if we use it we’ll highlight you and send you a signed copy of Duct Tape Marketing.

For today’s answer I wish I could say there was some magic pixie dust, but the fact is getting your local business to show up high in the search results takes some work.

For the local business the goal must be to move into what is referred to as the Google Local Pack – those 6-8 listing that show up for a local search. This is particularly important on mobile devices that are often pinpointing local only.

The Google Local Pack

There are many factors and of course a great deal has to do with the competitive nature of your particular industry.

However, there are several tried and true steps that you should take in order to give your business the best chance possible

Clean up your NAP

NAP is the directory acronym for Name, Address and Phone. This data clearly tells that a business is local and guess what – if you’ve been around for a while there’s a good chance some data source has this wrong.

Here’s how to assure you have an accurate NAP listing in as many places as possible.

Go the USPS site and get the correct address format for your business

Check with these major data providers to ensure your listing is complete and accurate.

Get listed

Now that your listing is accurate with the data folks, make sure that you listing in some of the more popular online business directories. Claim enhance these profiles.

One of the best tools for doing this is – this free tool will find your listing or lack of in some of the major directories and lead you to the place where you can edit and add.

Brightlocal is another very powerful paid tool for improving your local presence.

Get reviewed

Reviews carry a lot of weight, both with search engines and would be customers. You must get serious about this aspect of local search. Note the image above – the site that ranks #1 in Google has the best review profile.

The three most important place to focus your review work are

  • Google+Local – Google want your business on Google+ so they’ve moved the local pages there. Start building your local page and focus on getting more reviews.
  • Yelp – On top of being the biggest review site Yelp provides Bing Local results.
  • Foursquare – this location based check in site is working hard on becoming a local directory and should not be ignored.

Bing local listings

Localize your pages

One of the most overlooking opportunities is the local nature of the content on your site. Make sure you:

  • Add your NAP in format to every page
  • Add local terms such as suburbs, neighborhoods, places and events in your titles and subtitles.
  • Create localized happenings and news pages
  • Create site sections or landing pages dedicated to local phrases.

For WordPress users one of the best things you can invest in is the Local SEO for WordPress plugin from Yoast. This plug in will handle a great deal of the techie stuff for you and let you do some nice things with maps and directions.

Customer Reviews the Hidden Local SEO Gem

Free ebook – Marketer’s Guide to Customer Reviews

Content, content, content – that’s the message that marketers have been sending over the last few years and with good reason – customers expect to find it and search engines look to serve the best of it up.

Social media participation has certainly made its way onto the SEO road map as an integral element of the optimization puzzle as well.

The area in my view that doesn’t get enough talk however is reviews – particularly when it comes to local businesses.

Reviews are one of the more important ranking factors for local businesses because they are a) content (customer generated no less, even better!), b) often social and c) a trust and authority signal for both search engines and readers alike.

Customer reviewsLike most things SEO related, people have tried to game the review system, but also like most things related to SEO, there’s a perfectly natural way to build links, reviews and authority.

I teamed up with the folks at to bring you The Marketer’s Guide to Customer Reviews – a free eBook that teaches you how to turn How to turn Google+, Yelp and other review sites into a new marketing channel.

Download the free ebook here is also a great tool for automating the review generation process and making it as easy as possible to add this source of content and SEO to the mix. You can see a Duct Tape Marketing review page in action here.

How to Give Stuff Away to Generate Referrals

I write about the power of building a network of strategic marketing partners a lot. I truly believe it's an underutilized small business strategies. Getting a group of like-minded business to market each others products and services adds exposure, creates…

Read More