Saturday, February 28, 2015

How to Get Your Business Outranking Others in Local Search

Getting your page listed first on Google is like winning the lottery - you won’t know what to do with all the money - but absolutely not because it's up to chance. 

Being a top search result can make or break a business, so it’s no wonder why people are taking this stuff so seriously. If you’re part of an industry where the competition has yet to catch on, consider yourself very lucky. For everyone else, you’re going to have to put in the work.

Here's a step by step guide on how to get listed 1st in local search results.

Keyword Research | Important as Always

Is it better to cast a large net, go after the prize fish, or dominate a particular niche? e.g. Auto Mechanic vs. Transmission Repair

That’s something you’ll have to figure out yourself, but don’t take the decision lightly.

If you're thinking "I'll just rank for both, duhh", remember that you have limited resources and while you're spreading yours out, it's likely someone else is pooling theirs. In some cases it may very-well be possible to make the first page for a variety of keywords - try searching the desired terms yourself and see if any of the competition is managing to do so - but regardless, it's still a good idea to have a focus.

Follow the provided link to create a Free Google AdWords account and make use of Google's Keyword Planner.

Register with Google + My Business

This is where you will establish and verify your NAP & Category Association.

"I just established and verified a nap with my couch. why do I need to tell Google about it?" (sorry, I had to make that joke)


Phone Number: (should be a local number!)


Your category is the umbrella that your product/service falls under; for example, wedding photography. It’s very important to select appropriate categories!

If you’re not already listed on Google Maps, perform a search and click “Add your business”.

From this point on, all NAPs & category associations must match these exactly!

Follow this link to access Google My Business and get started.

On page NAP & keywords

Include your NAP, as verified with Google, somewhere easily accessible on your website like an hours & locations page, and make sure it follows the exact format of: name, address, phone number. It’s also a good idea to include business hours, additional contact information, and written location & service descriptions alongside. Not in-between.

e.g. Now located in Toronto’s fashion district near King St West & Portland St. Call today to get a quote on ‘category keywords’. Serving the Greater Toronto Area since 2006 – See what people are saying about us! (Reviews listing)

Keywords associated with your category and location should be included in all of the usual on-page SEO locations: page titles, headings, body, URLs, etc.

*It can be advantageous for your top ranking category or location search term to be included in your business title and domain URL, but not absolutely necessary. In most cases if it’s too late for that, then it’s too late – don’t sweat it.

Structured & Unstructured Citations

Structured citations are references to your business that adhere strictly to the name, address, phone number format and are most likely to come from anywhere that requires you to fill out a NAP in order to create a business page.

Unstructured citations are similar but don’t follow the exact NAP regiment and can be found in abundance. They inherently have less influence, but that doesn't mean they should be ignored. A high authority unstructured citation can still pass along more local ranking power than a low authority structured citation.

Examples of Places in Canada to Register for a Structured Citation


This is in no way an exhaustive list. There are many, many more out there!


Reviews go a long way in convincing Google that you are in-fact a credible business operating as you have specified. A collection of positive reviews from around the web can be the difference between ranking first or not appearing in the local listings at all.

Remember, reviews on your own website have no authoritative power. The most ranking power will come from pages that provide structured citations, have above average domain authority, and potentially rank somewhere prominent for your desired keywords.

Positive reference in review text that includes your brand name, category keyword, or business location is also great!

Inbound Links | Anchor Text and Local Authority

Yep, still gotta get them links...

Earning links has been an integral part of SEO for some time now and most likely will be for a while to come. Local search optimization is no exception, but there are some differences worth noting.

When it comes to local SEO, the domain and page you are linked from, the content of that page, and the anchor text of the link itself can all transfer some local authority.

A Backlink Worth its Weight in Gold!

The Toronto Star

Page Authority

Of course, having a website that boasts high page & domain authority will make a huge difference, but if that doesn’t sound like you, there’s no need to abandon your local SEO efforts – the two can of course grow with each other.

Keep up on both fronts and soon enough you are bound to climb your way up in the local rankings!

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