If you are a local business in a city like Seattle, how do you rank first in search results for your city name? For example if you are a dentist in Seattle, you would ideally want to be highly ranked for the search phrase “Seattle Dentist” because a lot of potential customers would likely enter this into Google when looking for a new dentist. For many local business searches Google shows a map with about 7 local businesses, and then below that another list of 10 more search results. Ideally you want to show up next to the map, because it is the most prominent position on the page and gets a lot of traffic. So how do you get there? Here are some tips:
Here are a few tips.
Register your business in a lot of directories
One thing that has been noticed about the top local results is that it often helps if you are in a lot of local directories. These directories include Google local, Yelp, Yahoo local, Bing local, Angie’s List, CitySearch, etc. Google pulls information from these sources, so it helps to be listed in as many as possible. It is also very important that your information is exactly the same in each directory.
Get a ton of reviews
Businesses that tend to show up at the top of local results tend to have a lot of reviews. As you can see above, Thomas F. McKenny has 97 reviews. While this may not make or break your chances, it definitely appears to help. Quantity of reviews seems to be more important than your average rating. One idea is to hand out a card to happy customers asking them to please write a review of your business at ____ and provide them the link to the review page. Another idea is posting a sign at the front desk that reads “ask us how to get a free electric toothbrush”. If someone asks about it, the receptionist can tell them that they can get a free electric toothbrush by writing an honest review (positive or negative) at ____.
Include City name in Title Tag of Homepage
Almost every page on the web has a title. You can often see this appear in the top of your browser when you go to a page. The title of a page plays an important role in SEO because it tells search engines what the page is about. Therefore you should carefully word the title tags on your site’s most important pages, especially the home page and include important keywords like your city. Your homepage title might be something like “Seattle Dentist – Dr. Smiley DDS”. Sometimes this requires changing the code on your website, depending on what you use to run your site.
Get a domain that has the word Seattle in it
Having Seattle in your domain name can have a huge impact on your search rankings. For instance the ideal URL for your site if you are targeting the phrase “Seattle dentist” is www.seattledentist.com. However, since this is probably taken, it will require some creativity to find something good. If you can get www.seattledentist.net, that is almost as good from an SEO perspective. Another option is adding a dash. For instance www.best-seattle-dentist.com is currently available. Alternatively friendlyseattledentist.com is also available.
Include your Business Address on Every Page
Including your business address on every page will also help. A good location for this is in your header, sidebar, or footer. Make sure that the address is in html text and is not an image.
Start a Blog and Write About Seattle
Hopefully you have people at your business who can write. Regularly adding new content to your site via a blog is one of the most effective tactics for ranking higher in Google. Google likes fresh and regularly updated content. Also blogs are a good way to get links. I suggest encouraging your staff to write a new blog post of about 300 words daily or at a minimum of 3 times a week. Good topics would include upcoming events in Seattle or interesting topics like “How to Attract More Dates with Good Oral Hygiene” or “10 Ways to Prevent Cavities”.
Of course all of these tips apply equally well if you are targeting a different city outside of Seattle or even a specific part of Seattle like West Seattle.
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