Quick hit: as more and more customers take to the web to find the products and services they need, the number of companies investing in local SEO is increasing rapidly. This article will teach you everything you need to know to get started on the road to the first page of Google in your local area

Toronto: Canada’s burgeoning economic engine. Its people are diverse, dynamic, and tech-savvy. If you can’t find it here, then you probably can’t find it anywhere in the country.

Now, more than ever, the population is turning to the web to find the things they want and need in the local area. We don’t just mean tickets to the Canucks game or where the closest Tim Hortons is either.

They’re looking for plumbers, roofers, lawyers, bakers, and everyone else doing business in the city.

50% of local mobile searchers make a store visit on the very same day, and 18% of local mobile searches lead to a sale in that same time frame. These days, being visible online when a consumer looks for a business in the locale is not an option. SEO for local businesses pays big, but it’s getting more difficult as competition stiffens.

Here’s how to rank your business in Toronto:

Step #1: Claim Your Google My Business Page

When starting a local SEO campaign, start with a Google My Business Page. It’s the centrepiece of everything and anything Google. A sturdy home needs a sturdy foundation. When you claim your GMB page, be sure to:

  • Fill it in with your location information
  • Provide maps and directions
  • Fill in your store hours
  • Encourage reviews
  • Upload some beautifully touched up photos
  • And interact with customers if you can

Having a GMB gives you access to ton of great Google features. Now, when people search for “best restaurants in downtown Toronto”, your name and place can show up on the map and a neat box with all of your company’s info will appear to the side of the results.

Step #2: Get reviews for social proof

88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Social proof online is the new “hey, did you hear about that great new restaurant in Yorkville?”. Not only do customers love them, Google does too.

Encouraging reviews and interacting with those customers nice enough to review is your ticket to local credibility. Managing all of the reviews is a full time job in itself!

The best part about them is that a star rating will show up next to your name on the results page (supposing that you’ve claimed your Google My Business Page!).

Step #3: Get listed in local directories

Remember that big clunky thing that was delivered to your house with everyone’s phone numbers? The old paper phone book might be a thing of the past, but business directories are alive and well. Google’s algorithm inspects these directories for local areas. According to a large ranking study, almost 14% of your ranking is determined by your presence on directories such as:

  • Yellowpages
  • Yelp
  • Foursquare
  • Angie’s List
  • Trip Advisor

As always, each listing should be optimized with keywords, location information, and images.

Step #4: Create locally focused content

Content is king in the SEO world. Not only do customers trust a business that produces content more, Google is absolutely in love with great content. Producing unique, engaging, and locally focused content will help your business stay fresh, generate more sales, and rank for more keywords. For example, a local bike company could produce great web articles about bike paths along Lake Ontario or a local pizza place could write about the history of Italian immigrants in the area. 72% of marketers say that content creation is the most effective SEO tactic.

Ranking your pages locally is vital to success in the modern economy, but it’s not nearly as easy as it used to be. You’ve got to think on your feet, be constantly adapting, and mix social media, content, web design, public relations, and other on-page factors if you hope to rank on the first page. This guide to ranking your business is just the beginning.

Click here if you want to learn more about local SEO services in Toronto? Contact us today.