So many of my local business clients ask me this very question that I decided to help everyone by providing full disclosure in response to this question, how to rank your local business for cities near you, as ranking any local business high for geographic relevance is definitely important.
First of all, you need to do an internet search (there is more than ONE search engine) for your type of business, and you can add the term “near me” in your search (though that isn’t absolutely necessary anymore), to see if your business is listed on page one of your search results, as that IS where you want your business site to appear ranked high.
If it is not, then you need to focus on improving your basic and local SERP (search engine results pages) before worrying about having your business found in searches done in cities near you.
Example of your search: if you own a bookkeeping business in Toronto then you would search for “bookkeeper near me” (without the quotation marks, of course, and provided that you are searching while you are located in Toronto) to see if your business website is ranking high in the SERP.
Once that is done, if you want to appear in search results for a more focused search like, let’s say Scarborough (which is a suburb of Toronto) or even Etobicoke… then make sure those suburbs nearest your business are also listed on your website. Though yes, I do appreciate that Scarborough and Etobicoke are on opposite sides of Toronto, in case as one of my readers you were about to point that out to me <wink>.
You can even go so far as to provide directions to your business, being sure to mention local landmarks and streets, roads and/or townlines names.
Be sure to use your local telephone number (like 416 for Toronto) rather than an 800 number because this too will help rank your local business high in search results. And this way, those searching for your type of business will know that your business IS in Toronto and not somewhere else.
Get your customers to leave reviews on well-known review sites like Google MyBusiness, your Facebook fan, Yelp, etc. The more testimonies hosted on other’s sites than your own business site, the better. Because these types of sites allow their users the ability to edit their reviews whenever they want to, more credibility is given to these types of testimonies then say, those shared on your business website.
More reviews than your competition will definitely work in your favour, as most potential customers want to know what other’s experiences have been. And yes, even bad reviews can help you… so be sure to always respond kindly to those leaving bad reviews. It is “normal” that no business can ever satisfy all of the people all of the time. However, how you handle those complaints will help to determine whether a potential customer will want to use your services or buy your product.
Having more reviews means your business will be clicked on more often… which is a known signal to Google’s scripts to improve your site’s ranking.
Google is NOW very focused on THEIR USER’S experience which means that they provide search results by understanding their search intent, by offering searchers answers where they won’t have to drive for miles to get to a local business they are seeking to find, and providing accurate information for whatever their user is asking for.
Now after you are done checking your site’s rank, you want your business to start ranking in an area that it is NOT presently ranking your business in search results, but that you DO service that area, there is yet another option.
You can work at getting your site to rank organically for the areas you are servicing. In order to do this, simply create an individual service page for EACH area your business services.
Then, be sure to provide links to those pages in your menu or navigation bar, under “Areas Serviced” (or something similar), making sure to interlink these services pages with other pages on your website, in order to provide the necessary authority, and potentially increase the ranking of these pages for the area searches too.
Another great way to gain organic listings for areas your business services is to provide a blog, in which you create posts with relevant information.
Example: In your posts you could write about the great job you just did providing a brand-new kitchen for, let’s say, the Jones in Ajax, when your business is located in Courtice. You would NOT need to provide the actual address of your customer (for privacy reasons, of course) but you SHOULD be sure to mention the city or town that the house is located in. Be sure to only mention the location no more than 3 times within a 1000-word post so not to over optimize the post.
Another thing you can do to increase your business being listed in other areas, providing your budget allows, are things like creating Google Adwords for the areas or cities that you want your site to be listed.
Other Ranking Factors
If you have already got a blog on your local business website, then you can help your organic listings in search results by:
- ) Updating your older content whenever necessary.
- ) Provide “how to” articles relevant to your niche.
- ) Informative (warnings on something) articles relevant to your niche.
- ) Gain referring domains, where your information is being shared on other’s sites, serving to gain your site authority in your niche.
- ) Match your potential customer’s search intent with your content.
- ) Add unique, fresh content on a constant bases, be it once a month or once a week.
- ) Make sure to do your internal linking to increase the authority for your content (don’t forget those service pages you have now added!).
- ) Be active in your social media accounts.
- ) Find those keywords your present posts are ranking for but not in the top 3 in SERP (from your Google Analytics – see screen print above and on the right). Find why your competition’s posts are ranking higher, and then add quality content that may be missing from your posts WITHOUT copying your competition.
How to Rank for a Keyword in Google
Once you have completed all of this, then you can build quality diversified links (my The HOTH affiliate link) to your website in order to increase your targeted traffic further. Guest posting is a great example of gaining quality backlinks as long as you provide quality content to high ranking sites within your related niche.
Hope you have enjoyed this article and that you have found it to be as informative as I am hoping it is. Should you have any questions regarding how to rank your local business for cities near you too, please feel free to leave me a comment below and I shall respond in a timely manner.