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How to Rank Higher than your Competitors in a Local Search on Google

Local Search, especially Local Business Listings, for a small wine retailer is arguably more important for selling wine online than anything else you may do.

David Mihm does an annual survey of local search experts (27 prominent bloggers and practitioners) to gauge the factors most helpful for ranking well in the Google and Yahoo Local algorithms. See the full results here: The Local Search Ranking Factors.

Factors that help the local search ranking for your local wine shop

  1. The most important factor is your Local Business Listing. These are the local listings in the search services Google, Yahoo and Bing. Search for your business on Google Maps and you’ll see local listing down the left hand side. Note the place you administer your listing is confusingly called Google Places…and used to be called Google Local Business Center, who knows what it will be called next year 😉 .
  2. Being listed by the Internet Yellow Pages companies as well as locally relevant websites talking about your business (not necessarily linking but naming with your address could work). The latter may include yelp.com, citysearch.com etc, or Chambers of Commerce.
  3. Making sure that your business is listed under the right category in your Local Business Listing e.g. wine store rather than wine bar or winery (or book store!).
  4. Claim your Local Business Listing, this adds trust to the listing – e.g. for Google just go to Google Maps, find and click on your business, then click on “Business Owner?” and follow the instructions.
  5. Ensure you have your product or Keywords in the title i.e. wine might be enough, wine store or wine shop should be better.

Do not have a number of business listings with the same address and/or phone number as Google will take that as an indication of being untrustworthy. This is probably only relevant to a chain store mind you(?).

Compare this to normal SEO advice to boost search engine rankings

Rand Fish, a SEO “gooorooo” outlines his best guess as to what Google is looking for in ranking a company for a certain keyword search term.

  1. Keyword Usage and Content Relevance – see wine SEO and title tags for lots on this. It’s generally all about having the right keywords in the right place e.g. headings.
  2. Raw Link Juice – the famous “Page Rank” factor. In essence the more highly relevant and high authority links pointing to a page, the higher its Page Rank. The higher the page rank the more “link juice” or popularity and importance, and the higher the ranking.
  3. Anchor Text Weight – whether the text that makes up the link (e.g. like this “wine SEO”: wine SEO) is similar to your targeted keyword.
  4. Domain Authority – trustworthy links, around for a long time, search quantity, and loads of stuff that Google doesn’t tell us about.

This illustrates a key difference between SEO for wineries and SEO for local wine retailers

Wineries should focus on normal SEO practices, whereas local wine retailers should focus on local SEO practices.

In your experience what are the most important factors?

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