You may be familiar with the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but are you familiar with local SEO specifically? Local SEO is related to optimizing your content specifically with the goal of ranking highly in a particular geographic location.
Local SEO is most important for businesses that have a brick and mortar location or online businesses that have a strong association with a place (“T-shirts from Toronto,” for example). In a more general sense, local SEO could help your Canadian-based business be found by people who prefer to buy products from a Canadian company that one based elsewhere.
Local SEO is basically a digital version of the phone book — when someone needs a local service, they likely want to look through the options available nearby, rather than anyone in the whole world. Search engines adopt the same philosophy, in that, all other things being the same, they are more likely to recommend to you businesses that are located closer rather than farther away.
The importance of local SEO has increased with the rise in popularity of mobile phones. As users do more searches for products or services “on the go,” their physical location at the time of the search is taken into consideration by search engines when delivering search results. The result? Companies that are good at local SEO show up more frequently in search listings, whereas companies that may be just as good but have not invested in a local presence are being left out and losing out on potential business.
If you’re like most people, at some point you’ve typed in a search like “_______ near me,” and gotten a handy map with all the relevant results in your area. This is actually one of the most common types of searches being made on mobile devices. Not surprisingly, businesses have it in their best interest to make it as easy as possible for search engines to find the information about their physical location.
The good news is that you don’t have to be an SEO guru to convey your company’s location. Some easy steps will ensure that you’re covered when it comes to local SEO:
1. Include your location (town, province) in the metadata of any relevant webpages.
For example, if your run an architecture firm, you may want to call your homepage [COMPANY NAME – Architecture in Montreal, QC] which is a very straightforward way to convey this information to both people and search engines.
2. Claim your Google My Business page.
In Canada, Google is still by far the most popular search engine. Lucky for you, Google has a handy index for businesses that allows them to fill in key information like working hours and physical location. The entry is then not only used in search results, but also can pop up these details over a map, or on the right side of the search screen whenever someone your business comes up in search listings. Go here to set up your Google My Business page.
3. Set up your business on local review sites.
Depending on what line of business you’re in, it may be most appropriate to set up Yelp, AngiesList, or something else. Even if you’re not the kind of business that is likely to get a lot of reviews on these kinds of sites, these present another great chance to include your physical address and help search engines return your business anytime a person is attempting to search for something local.