Getting information on the internet is common these days. With smartphones and tablets becoming very affordable, more and more people can now perform web searches on the go as well.

According to marketingdive.com, research from Google has shown that 70% of all smartphone users who bought something from a brick-and-mortar store used their mobile device for information beforehand and that one-fourth used a map before making a transaction.

Say, you want to know where the coffee shop nearest you, you go to Google, type your question, and Google has several choices for you. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, you wonder, how can I get Google to list my business high up in the search results, just like that coffee shop?

Of course in a perfect world, you’d like to – grow the business steadily, have loyal customers, get great reviews, get more people find you through your chosen SEO keywords (to learn more more SEO and content click here) – the cycle repeats and happens organically over time.

But what if there are ways to speed things up? Here are 3 ways to hack local SEO rankings:

1. Optimize local searches

Why not start to focus your marketing efforts right in your own backyard? Let your business gain a footprint locally and attract customers. In order to do that, make sure your business is included in all local search listings like Google My Business (GMB), Bing Places, Yelp, and Yahoo! Local.

Let’s concentrate on Google My Business (GMB) since Google is the most popular search engine. Why is it important to have a presence in GMB? Because GMB allows your business, via Google Maps, to be located and therefore help direct your audience to your business.

Remember that coffee shop example? You want Google Maps to indicate where your business on the map, that you exist with details about your company. GMB can do that for your business and so, take advantage of this opportunity that GMB offers you. Best of all, GMB is free.

Some essential steps to consider when setting up your GMB account include:

  • A Google account  – Create a Google account for your business, if you haven’t done so already. With a Google account, there is a seamless integration between Google apps like Google Maps, Google+ (this is where you build your business profile page), and Google Search.

  • Completely fill out business profile section on Google+ – This part will most likely take the longest to complete. The goal is to have the best possible business profile in Google My Business. Thus, be mindful to include your location (city, state, country), address, and contact info.

Include your website including links to your blog or YouTube channel, as well as your social media accounts. Upload lots of photos and YouTube videos. This is also the section where you can add your SEO keywords, especially in your brief business description. It must be mentioned, too, that your website, blog, YouTube channel page should also contain your SEO keywords.

Even though Google dominates the search engine space, it’s always prudent to include your business with other search engines such Bing Places, Yahoo! Local and Yelp.

Why? There’s less competition on Yahoo and Bing so it’s easier for you to get to the top.

Anyway, all of them provide free basic listing profiles so go ahead and add your business to widen your reach online. Make note to be consistent when providing your contact and address details (example Street vs. St.) in all these search engine pages to ensure your business can be located easily.

2. Transform social media accounts like Facebook for easy local searches

As marketingdive.com points out, Facebook, in particular, continues to invest on resources for local searches. Facebook is not at Google’s level yet, but it will be just a matter of time when the gap between them closes.

So for now, with this in mind, let’s make sure that your company’s Facebook page is setup as a local business. Complete your profile by providing address, contact details, and business hours. Just as you did with Google+ profile, add photos (think Instagram), upload videos, and write a brief description filled with your SEO keywords. Just like with Google, keep your contact information and address details consistent throughout.

Facebook also has many great features to generate interest and create interesting content. Some of these include Events where Facebook shows what’s happening near where you’re located at certain period of time, Facebook Live where you can record live and posting the video as part of the Facebook Feed, to name a few.

Mid April of 2017, Facebook announced their latest Messenger version which will focus on businesses, specifically having a presence in Messenger. New features include discovery tab, chat extensions, smart replies, and AI-driven delivery service.

3. Ask your customers to provide reviews

Don’t be shy to ask your customers to give your business glowing reviews and recommendations. All of these positive vibes can boost your rankings in search results, especially when searches are filtered from highest to lowest ratings. Moreover, personal feedback carries greater credibility among other potential customers.

In summary, utilizing local searches, especially on Google and Facebook, is very important. Combine them with your SEO keywords, engaging content, great customer reviews, and consistent business details and information throughout all your web pages and you’ll be on your way to increasing your presence in no time at all.

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