How To Move Up In Search Results

Once you've claimed your listing, fully optimized it, and setup your social media sites, this is what you need to do to ethically move your site up in search results.

1.  Make sure your business name, address, phone number, and website appear in text on every page of your website.  Google can't read your company info if it's in a picture or banner, so put it in text.  It does not matter where you put it, it can be at the bottom in fine print if you like, but it is important for Google to be able to verify that the business information you put into Google Places is accurate.

2.  Directory Listings.  Directories are sites such as Citysearch, Insiderpages, Yellowbot, Kudzu, BOTW, Hotfrog, Yelp and many others.  There are two things you need to do to rank highly.  One, is that all of your business information NEEDS to be consistent everywhere it is listed.  Google is trying to confirm you are who you say you are and if you have your company name spelled differently or a different phone number listed (or no phone number at all), Googlebot gets confused, scratches its head and tries to figure out who you are.  Keep it consistent.

The next thing is to acquire more directory listings.  Whenever you get your business listed in a directory, you create what is called a "citation".  A citation is simply a listing of your business somewhere on the web.  The more citations you have, the better your chances of ranking higher.

I love directory listings.  Not only do they help your business rank higher because of the citation created, but often times, you can list your website(s) which creates a valuable backlink to your site.  Additionally, some listings built in niche market directories or authority sites (like Yelp and Angie's list) can actually deliver business right to your website or front door.

The down side of directory listings is they take a long time to create because each site requires its own submission.  These must be done manually.

There are some ways around this.  Send me an email, and I'll share a shortcut to a major aggregator you can list your business with to cut out some of your legwork.

3.  Reviews.  Ah, the valuable review.  Next time you do a Google search for a local business, you might notice that the ones with the most reviews rank higher.  While this is not the only factor determining ranking, it is important.  Google actually culls its reviews from other sites where reviews are posted.  Users can post reviews right to your Google Places page, too.  Google will decide what reviews to show and where they come from.

What's the best way to increase your reviews?  Ask for them!  There are several ways to get more reviews (without having to pay somebody).  Here's a short list of how to increase your reviews:

  • Put instructions on your website with a clickable link 
  • Email your customers and send them the link
  • Collect hard copy reviews in your place of business and input them yourself (with customer name included)
  • Post an announcement on your Facebook page and give them a clickable link to the review site
Don't worry if all of your reviews are not all 5-stars.  That might look a little fishy to a potential customer.  Some 3's and 4's mixed in are fine.  We're all human and make mistakes.  Most sites give the business owner a chance to interact with the reviewer, so you have a chance to create a customer for life.  If you find yourself with an unpleasant review like, "I found a fly in my soup.  I am never going to eat there again," then it might be time for a little bit of reputation management to get address that review head on.  One or two bad reviews like that and it starts to look like you have a real problem.  Luckily, there are some steps that can be taken to clean up the really bad reviews and get things back on track.

4.  Backlinks.  Backlinks are the heart and soul of quality SEO work.  So much can be written about backlinks that I've created another page for it, which you can access with a click below:

You may not need to take the steps listed on this page.  I have seen some businesses who rank very well with hardly any SEO work at all.  If this is you, terrific.  However, most of us need a little help and the steps on this page will give you some guidance so you can do it yourself.  But if you want to hire a marketing consultant to do it for you, look no further.  I would love to help you move up in search rankings, create a stronger website, and dominate your local market.