As a small business with limited resources, it can take time to determine how to begin the visibility process. After all, you must begin with your local area and let people know you exist. Engaging in local listing SEO is a good way to begin this process.
Over 75% of customers leverage the power of Google when looking for business information. So, use this to your advantage and get known in your local region. Our digital marketing professionals have created a comprehensive guide for your small business in Toronto to benefit from.
Local SEO Listing Explained
Local listing SEO involves optimizing your online presence to enhance your visibility and local traffic. You can begin by listing your website on Google, finding relevant keywords for your local area, and creating relevant content. In the long run, listing your business will help it to appear in Google searches.
Your potential customers will have an easy way of finding you and understanding what you offer. Then, they can decide whether they want to benefit from your services.
Core Elements Of A Local Listing SEO
Some core elements go into a local listing SEO. Here are some of the most important ones you must know about:
- Business title or name
- Phone number
- Website URL
- Social media profiles
- Payment forms accepted
- And much more
Anything will be important to a potential customer will be a part of core SEO elements. Ensure you have all of this information in one place to make listing your business easy.
What Should You Include In Your Local Business Listing?
At first, you may be unable to include everything in your local listing SEO strategy. If you are a new business, you might not have social media profiles or other things yet that take time to build. However, there are some things you should always include in a local business listing.
These include the following:
Business Title Or Name
It is crucial that you use the business name in the real world in the field of business title or name when you start. That is because Google can even read street-level signage, so you format the name to match it with the signage. It should also match your website logo, print marketing efforts, and more.
We recommend that you don’t add additional keywords, complicated terms, or modifications to your business name when listing it on Google. Our experts for local listing SEO have divided this into several sections to help you understand your business needs better:
For Multi-Practitioner Businesses (Real Estate Or Law Firms)
Google has rules for different types of businesses that they must follow. For example, multi-practitioner businesses must put the practitioner’s name in the business name field without noting the practice name. The practitioner should also have their phone number for this purpose.
For Businesses With Multiple Locations (Franchises Or Chains)
If your business has multiple locations, you don’t need to add modifications such as city names to your business name on Google. You have to include only your business name. Remember that Facebook is an exception to this rule, as you have to add your city name with your business to be visible on the platform and relevant to searches.
These are businesses that are located in the same place. The general practice Google advises is not to combine the name of the two businesses. Instead, both businesses need a separate strategy with their name in the field. For example, if Wendy’s and McDonald’s are located in the same place, they will have a separate listing.
Businesses In Container Locations
Let’s say there is a McDonald’s location inside Target. In this case, you have to list the name of your business and not mention the container store. Simply put, you must list your business as McDonald’s and not McDonald’s inside Target.
Businesses With Multiple Departments
Such businesses include college campuses, hospitals, auto centers, and more. Google will allow you to create a separate listing for any forward-facing department. This means that the department must have its own entrance and business category.
For the best SEO practice, it is good for each department to have its own phone number. You can also mention the main business name with the department.
Google has expressly stated a preference for local area code phone numbers, but they also support toll-free numbers for businesses. However, if your business has a toll-free number, ensure your website and other digital listings have the same number. You can also list an alternate phone number for your business.
These include a mobile number, a toll-free number, and more. Sometimes, you can also list a vanity number on the listing.
Your business address is one of the most important elements of your local search that will allow people to reach you physically. It is best that you always list your real-world addresses without any modification. If you have a virtual office, it will not be a real-world address, and you shouldn’t build a local listing SEO strategy for it.
You must put your street address in the first line and any mailbox or suite number in the second line of the address section in the form. We recommend that you follow this format for almost all citations to keep your formatting consistent across platforms.
On the other hand, if your business is a service-area business (SAB), you will have to signal that you serve customers at their locations on Google. Then, Google will hide your street address on the live listing. You need to have a local address to be eligible for a local listing on Google, even if it is your home address.
As a small business, you fall under a certain category as it defines your business. You can select between one and ten categories to let Google know what your business is about. Google encourages businesses to select categories that define them at the most refined level.
For example, listing your business as a Federal Credit Union is a more refined category than listing it as a bank. Google has detailed and stringent guidelines in terms of categories that your business must follow. It makes it easy for search engines to categorize your business and provide people with accurate search results.
According to Google’s local listing SEO guidelines, your website URL should go directly to a page owned by the business. It should not refer to a third-party business, social media profile, or anything else. Cite all your links correctly and consistently to see the proper results.
Remember that experimenting with this will give you the answer about what you need to do for results. For example, some businesses might increase their rankings when all their listings point to a homepage. That is because your home page might have a higher authority than your internal website pages.
You need more than your name, phone number, and address for Google. Instead, you also need to highlight the impact of your business and persuade your customers to choose you among other options. You can think of this as creating a short pitch for your small business in Toronto.
You can write a unique description, or you can create one description that encapsulates the essence of your business and publish it on all your pages. Another thing you can do is leverage all the good things about your business to highlight it in the description. This can include the following:
- Proximity to major landmarks
- Famous brands carried
- And more
Some descriptions can also use rich text, such as hyperlinks, but be sure not to spam. Our experts recommend you read your description out loud to ensure it doesn’t sound too sale-sy. In the long run, it will enable your business to have high click-through rates.
People like visual elements and images significantly impact your local business listings and click-through rates. It is best to upload as many high-quality images as possible on the platform. Google also has guidelines on the content allowed in the images and the sizes.
Be sure to review these guidelines for your local SEO strategy to ensure that Google doesn’t take down your images for non-compliance. You should also keep an eye on your profiles regularly to ensure that inappropriate images have not been uploaded to your listing by other people. All of this will make your local listing SEO strategy even more foolproof.
Tips For Local Listing SEO
Now that you understand what to include in your local SEO listing, it is also just as important to follow the best practices for it. We have reviewed some top tips your business can follow:
Optimize Content Such As Meta Description, Headers, Title Tags, URL
Your blog is an important part of your local SEO. Every new blog post is a new indexed page for your website. Ensure you optimize the content for search engines by using keywords, meta descriptions, titles, and more. If you don’t know what content to start with, you can begin with customer case studies and success stories.
The more specifications you add to your content, the better it will be for you to optimize local searches. Once you do, locals in your area will find your business more easily.
Work On Your Linking Structure
You can have various external links that point to your site to make it ideal. However, we recommend adjusting the internal linking structure to boost your rankings. Here are the various ways in which internal links can help:
- It supports the navigation of your website
- Assists with website hierarchy and information architecture
- Distributes the ranking power and page authority among various pages
Following the best practices to work on your linking structure and improve it with time is good. There are many resources available online that will help you achieve this aim.
Make Your Website Friendly For Mobile Users
Yes, local listing SEO and mobile searches go hand in hand because more than 60% of searches on Google are performed on mobile. They will use it to look for important information regarding your business, reviews, directions, and much more. Since 2017, near-me searches have increased by more than 200%.
So, it is up to you to make your website friendly in this regard and make it easy for people to find you in your local region. In the long run, you will gain more traffic as mobile users will also be diverted to your website.
Opt For Local SEO Tools Or Local Listing SEO Company
If you have just started a small business in Toronto, we recommend investing in SEO tools to help aid this process. On the other hand, you can also hire a local listing SEO company to do the work for you. You can sit back and relax as they handle your business’s SEO aspects.
To thrive as a business, you must begin with local listing SEO strategies. It directly impacts your local search engine rankings, which leads to transactions, foot traffic, and web traffic. Make sure your listings are accurate, discoverable, and complete.
Start your journey on the right foot by opting for The Dreams Agency for the best SEO services in Toronto. Our SEO specialists will ensure you are visible in your local region and even ahead. For more information regarding our services, please feel free to contact us today.