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Local Businesses – Optimize for more than just your brand

On the weekend we were headed to Milestones in Yaletown for brunch with the family. Being the Internet people that we are, we naturally went to Google and searched for ‘Milestones Yaletown hours’. And guess who came up in the top 5 organic search results? Well it wasn’t the milestonesrestaurants.com web site. This is surprising.

Local businesses need to look at their optimization efforts from all different angles. It’s not enough to just optimize for your brand name anymore even if you are well known local brand. In the case of Milestones, web sites such as dinehere.ca, foodvancouver.com, martiniboys.com, urbanspoon.com, all came up in results way before the Milestones web site when we searched for ‘Milestones Yaletown hours’. Milestonesrestaurant.com was #9!!!! Milestones should be number 1 for this query especially considering that we included their brand name in our query.

So how did the other sites rank so well for this query. It’s simple, they localized it. They each had a page dedicated to the Milestones Yaletown web site, these dedicated pages had ‘milestones’ and ‘yaletown’ in the url file name (i.e. dinehere.ca/vancouver/milestones-grill-and-bar-yaletown and http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181178/restaurant/Yaletown/Milestones-Grill-and-Bar-Vancouver). And in the case of foodvancouver.com, Milestones Yaletown was set up in Google Maps (Show map of 1109 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1A1). So all these other web sites have keyword rich pages dedicated to the Yaletown establishment and a Google Maps listing to boot….so why doesn’t the Milestones web site. This is what came up #9 in organic search results:

Milestones Restaurants – Vancouver
Hours of Operation: Weekday Opening – 11 am Weekend Opening – 9:30 am … Milestone’s Yaletown is located in the heart of Vancouver’s trendy lofts and …
www.milestonesrestaurants.com/index.php?id=353/

And thus the #9 ranking for their own brand… behind all these other local sites. Their local competitor, the Keg Yaletown did a better job with their SEO. When we query ‘the keg yaletown hours’ in Google, their local listings appears followed by the dedicated Keg Yaletown page on their own web site: www.kegsteakhouse.com/en/locations/BC/…/yaletown-keg/

If you run a local business, don’t make the same mistake as Milestones. Take every measure to ensure that you appear for your own brand no matter what the search query.