Local Phone Number and SEO
According to a 2011 ComScore report, Google witnessed 11.6 billion searches in a span of one month of which 2.3 billion amounted to local search. In fact, 97% of people searching the Internet look for local purchase options. Google started giving priority to local search results from 2010.
Businesses have a great opportunity for increasing their visibility and trust by just including their local phone number on their websites.
Role of Google Places in Local Searches
Put simplistically, Google Places gives details about businesses operating locally (places being searched by users) along with maps pointing out to the business geographically. Google collects all information pertaining to a business provided during site submissions and puts them in a database.
These details include business name, physical address, phone number, email and website address. Google records all these business details and assigns a “Place” for the business in question. Your business gets displayed for relevant keywords as searched by users for products/services equal or similar to what your business offers.
Citation and its Importance in Local SEO
A citation is a reference to your business by any online source. Therefore, if any website refers to your business name and contact details including local phone numbers, this reference is referred to as a citation.
Citations are important in determining your SEO rankings. They add credibility to your business listing and help search engines prioritize listings.
Tips to Improve Local Search Rankings
Create Citations – This is an obvious strategy given the importance of citations in influencing local search engine listings. Submit business listings including your business address and contact details to directories such as Yahoo! and Yelp to provide referrals. Do this before creating Google Places profile for your business so that you have referrals in place. Ensure that you provide correct contact details. Avoid post box numbers and toll free numbers in your contact details; instead provide your local phone numbers to ensure local SEO.
Encourage Reviews – Listings with business reviews are more likely to rank higher in local search results. Invite customers to write their experiences with your company on review sites. Reviews with desired keywords are great for search engine rankings.
Use the Right Keywords – Use keywords that your audiences are more likely to use to represent your services and products on platforms such as Google Places. Ensure that you do not use keywords more than necessary to avoid being penalized by Google.
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