With the rise of mobile search and social media, local Web-presence optimization is becoming paramount to small businesses. Local businesses need to understand how Google can drive awareness and traffic to their locations, and they need to recognize the critical role that search-engine results play in their competition against their peers.

Consumers are more likely to click on search engine results that appear on the first page, according to research. When consumers hear of a local business that is not well known, it's only natural that they conduct some research before making a purchase. Thus, "owning" the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) is an important part of Web-presence optimization for any local business.

You can optimize your Web presence to own page one of the Google SERPs in a variety of ways. Use a "build and buy" strategy that begins with paid advertising, and claim and create sites and social profiles that are active, optimized for search, and linked to one another.

Here are 10 effective ways your business can own the first page of search results.

1. Search Engine Advertising

Google search ads can appear at the very top of the SERPs, creating instant visibility for your brand, regardless of what results appear on the rest of the page. That's why it's important to bid on your business name. For any business keyword, search engine advertising is the quickest and most cost-effective way to secure top billing on a SERP when consumers search for your type of business or your business name online.

2. Website

A business website is important for ranking well on search engines, especially if your domain contains your exact business name. By creating a search-optimized site with a front page that strategically lists your business name, address, phone number, and other important details, you can help your site rank well for searches that use your business name.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan Hanks is a co-founder and co-chief operating officer of ReachLocal, a leader in local online marketing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.