Local search is one of the most important aspects of promoting a local business online, and it’s one of the key things we focus on when developing an Internet Marketing campaign for our partners.
With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding your local search strategies. We’ve touched on some of these elements before, but they definitely bear repeating:
A landline improves trust: While landlines continue to disappear from the public landscape, Google still treats a traditional landline phone number as an added indicator of legitimacy. So while you might use your mobile phone or Internet-based voice calling for most or all of your business, it’s a good idea to include a landline as well. (You can always forward calls to whatever number you prefer.)
Use your exact mailing address as defined by the USPS: The way you style your business’s address might be slightly different than how the Post Office lists it. Virtually every data provider checks your address against the USPS database, so make sure they match up. The more you use that official address, the better.
Local phone numbers convert better than toll-free numbers: Shoppers searching for local goods are more likely to call local numbers than a toll-free number. It’s fine to display your toll-free number, but be sure you have a local option and promote it just as prominently, if not more so.
Stick with one name and use it universally: As Google likes to say, use your name as it appears on the sign outside your business. Some businesses try to reap SEO benefits by creating a name for their online presence that more closely matches keywords and geographic indicators people search for. That can have some benefit, but it can also backfire. Google prefers that your online presence replicates your physical presence, and its preferences often have a way of becoming powerful incentives.
Get lots of reviews from trusted sites: The last part of that is the most important part: trusted. Google made review quantity a key ranking factor some time ago, but after so many fake-review sites popped up, it switched up the algorithm considerably. Don’t take this to mean that review quantity isn’t important: Just be sure you’re getting lots of reviews from trusted sites such as Google+ and Yelp.