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Now that search engines can give users geographically relevant results, search is more powerful than ever in helping local businesses get noticed. Yet many local businesses struggle to get onto the list of top results and stay there. Luckily, there isn’t any mystery to becoming a top-ranked local result. Follow these five easy steps and invigorate your business’s online visibility.
Step #1: Make sure your franchise’s address, phone number(s), and keywords are the same in every location on the web in which your company is listed.
Start by checking these places:
This may mean coordinating with your franchisor in order to maintain consistency. Having information in multiple places that is inconsistent or misspelled will greatly reduce the search ranking of your business.
Step #2: On your Google Places page, make sure that you associate your franchise with all of the appropriate business categories. This is key to making your franchise as visible as possible to potential customers in your industry. But be careful not to associate your franchise, however, with categories that don’t closely pertain to the service your business provides. Search engines will recognize superfluous business associations, and discount the reliability of your franchise’s listing.
Step #3: Associate your website with trusted 3rd party sites. For example, if you’re in the travel industry, associate yourself with sites such as tripadvisor.com. This can typically be done by going to the main page of such sites and following the link titled “Get Listed.” Having your company associated with and listed on third party websites increases your web presence and reliability factor in the eyes of a search engine.
Step #4: Get as many inbound links to your website posted on other sites as possible. The greater the number of inbound links you have out there inflates the searchability of your franchise greatly. Blogs are a great place to get listed and gain exposure. Find blogs related to your industry and email the author with your company’s information, a description of what you do and why you should be mentioned. Just think, instead of a search engine having to find just one reference to your company, it has a handful of places to find you.
Step #5: This last tip may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure your customers are satisfied. Online reviews have an exceptionally great ability to affect your ranking among search results, and in the microcosm of competing local businesses, even one bad customer review can drop your franchise’s name to the bottom of, or even off, the list of search results.
Following these five simple steps will only take a few hours, and can get your business on the road to greater searchability, resulting in increased business traffic quickly.