It’s always been valuable to have your business appear in the search results for people looking for businesses in a specified region or city. But with Google’s introduction some time ago that local search results are now automatically being included at the top of people’s search results based on where they were based geographically at the time, it is now more important than ever that businesses optimise for the local search engine results listings. But the information about how to achieve this in the best way is patchy and confusing in many cases.

Here are four quick tips for achieving success with local search engine optimisation.

Google Places Local SEO1. Google Places

The single most important thing you should do is to claim your profile in Google Places. Visit http://bit.ly/1opXNh1 and sign your business up with a Google Places account. This will include your business name, a brief description of the nature of the business and contact details such as telephone numbers and the postal address. If a postal address is included then you’ll find that your search results listing will more likely appear at the top of people’s search results, with a map on the right hand side included to show people where you are based. The process takes a while because you need to wait to receive a postcard from Google after you’ve signed up, so it’s well worth getting started straight away.

Update 21/10/2014: Google Places is now called Google My Business.

2. Think On-Site!

Make sure you include your full postal address on every page of your website – not just your contact page. This is a mistake a lot of people make, and it can make a huge difference. The best thing to do is to include the postal address either in the header or footer regions of your page template. It’s also a good idea to include the town name and telephone number in your META tags.

If you’re operating in a competitive market with local results doimnated by your competitors you need to do more! I strongly recommend that you consider these 3 advanced tips for local on-page optimisation.

3. Online Citations

Register your business with as many local online directories as you can. Being found in any of these will help your Google positions and significantly increase the chance that your business will be found easily at the top of the search results pages for people looking for your type of business. Ten good free and paid UK local directories include;

Qype UK

Yelp UK

Hotfrog UK

Yell

192.com

Thomson Local

UK Business Directory

Scoot

Touch Local

Best Of The Web

4. Customer Reviews

Now you have your Google Places page set up, a healthy number of citations and your on page SEO up to scratch you should start to reap the rewards with increased visibility in Google’s local results. All you need to do now is get reviews from your customers, and the more the better! Ask you customers (perhaps even offer an incentive) to write reviews either directly on your Google Places page, or on the directories where you’re listed.  Do this regularly to improve your rank positions.

Need help with your local SEO strategy? Take a look at our Local SEO Services to see how we can help propel your site to the top of the search engines local results.