"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," writes Nathan Hanks in an article at MarketingProfs. And when they do, they're most likely to choose results that appear first.

"Thus," Hanks continues, "'owning' the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) is an important part of Web-presence optimization for any local business."

Hanks offers ten ways to help ensure your business is a front-page star. Here are four:

Use a paid search strategy. A Google search on just about any product or service will produce sponsored links that appear ahead of organic results. That's why it's important to bid on your business name: Think of it as the fast-track to the very top of the page.

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