As individuals continue to place greater trust in Google search results, the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation grows, especially when it comes to promoting local business. 

Local SEO is important because smaller businesses typically don’t get the kind of recognition that national companies do; local SEO prioritizes search results in a specific location. 

Prioritizing and optimizing local SEO can lead to more traffic to your business’ website and can also generate potential customer leads. Here are 5 ways to improve your company’s local search results.

Know your audience

First and foremost, if you understand your audience, you can cater your content to those followers and target markets.  If you want to control your online reputation, take a closer look at what you are posting and who you are posting it to.  Remember, maintaining a positive online reputation is not all about self-promotion. Instead, think beyond advertising and create and share content on a broad range of topics.  Check out what your competitors are doing online, research forums pertinent to your business, and find out what your audience is talking about. As you continue to engage with them you’ll start to build better relationships and your search results will improve, as well.

Gain regular reviews from your customers

Asking customers to write positive reviews about your business can help to optimize Google search results; and at the same time, it also encourages other locals to check you out. Stick to the following tips. 

  1. Send an email post purchase asking customers to write a review on their experience.
  2. Respond to existing reviews professionally, thanking reviewers for their time. Don’t forget to
        address complaints, too.
  3. Ask for a review face-to-face after the close of a sale.

Take your website mobile

To become a player in local SEO, your website MUST be mobile-friendly.  This means designing your website to display content on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.  This makes it easier for mobile users to read and navigate because it easily adjusts to the screen size and resolution of the mobile device they are using. 

With over 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world, chances are likely that someone is searching for your business on their device. 

Participate frequently

If you want to actively manage your online reputation on a local level, shying away from online platforms is not an option.  Today, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn serve as more than just social platforms and actually operate as search engines themselves.  To optimize your social media presence, you’ll want to do more than create a business profile. It is essential to create content (think company blog) and push it out both frequently and strategically.  Social media helps businesses maintain a positive online reputation, and in actuality, people may shy away from a business who doesn’t have an established social media page. 

Use local keywords

There’s no denying that content is king but using local keywords is a close runner up.  For instance, if someone wants to find a dentist in their area, typing in “dentist” probably won’t generate the results they want.  If you live in the suburbs of Ontario, it makes more sense to type in “dentist in Hamilton.” This means, your keywords should be relevant to local customers. 

There is a Google tool called Keyword Planner that allows you to search for keywords based on your location.  This will give you an idea of the most popular search terms in your area.  Once you comprise a list of keywords, you can use them specifically in your website’s content, meta content and URL.  Be sure to also include region-specific landmarks in your content. If your dental practice is near the Exchange Tower in downtown Toronto, include that information on your website. 

When used correctly, implementing local SEO tactics can do wonders for your business. SEO is a very powerful way to attract local customers to your website and generate more profit in the long run. 

Matt Earle

Founder & President

Matt Earle, Founder of Reputation.ca, is a leading Canadian expert on online reputation management with over 15 years of hands on experience working in the space. Mr. Earle’s educational background includes an H.BSc from the University of Toronto and certification as a Google Professional. His expertise has been acknowledged through national television appearances on CBC, PBS and CTV, being a guest host on CBC radio, and numerous quotes in print and online media.