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11 SEO Tips for Optimizing for Local Search

December 27, 2011
15
SEO Marketing


If you’re a small business that hasn’t given much thought to how you can benefit from local search, you’re missing out. Optimizing for local search is a fanatic way to reach consumers and get traffic to your site. Phone books are good for little more than testing your strength these days as people turn to search engines in order to be introduced to local businesses that can meet their needs.

Local Search SEO How To

Optimizing for local search requires the same rigorous SEO work required for any page, but there are some additional things you can do to boost your appearance for local searches.

Here are SEO 11 tips to make sure you are getting the most out of local:

  1. Claim your spot on Google Places – Set up a Google Places account if you haven’t already, and be sure to spend some time filling out all your information. Include photos, coupons, product offerings, or even videos! In description fields, be sure to insert some of your keywords, but don’t go overboard. Also set up similar accounts with Bing Local and Yahoo Local. Claiming your spot on Google Places also enables your business to appear for Google+ Local mobile searches.
  1. Optimize for geo-targeted keywords – Include city names in your title, h2, meta tags, and content.
  1. Include “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages to target local terms—Don’t  forget to include business hours, directions, and contact info. If you’re a restaurant, include a menu as well. Use this content as additional opportunities to reinforce your location.
  1. Get yourself rated – Good reviews and shiny yellow stars can be huge advantages. Encourage reviews with promotional offers, or ask for feedback via social media and your mailing lists.
  1. Spiffy up your social media—Social media is often used as a tool to foster community and build relationships, so naturally it goes hand in hand with optimizing for local. Social media has been shown to be increasingly important for SERP rankings, making it an obvious choice for any business looking to have an online presence.
  1. Different locations? Create different landing pages—If you have multiple locations, consider creating a landing page for each location and optimizing each page for appropriate location keywords.
  1. Links from other related local businesses—If you’re a store selling dog toys, consider reaching out to the local dog shelter, animal hospital, or even local bakery that makes dog-friendly treats. Of course you won’t get help from direct competitors, but you might be able to exchange links and information with some related businesses.
  1. Get listed in directories—There are a number of business directories you can get citations in, giving you solid links that can improve your ranking and make it easy for searchers to find your local business.

Get citations in:

Also get listed in local directories like your Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce.

  1. Include the HTML [address] tag—It helps to bracket your business address with the [address] [/address] tag. Each citation you get from a reputable site is a vote in favor of your legitimate membership at that geo-location.
  1. Create a mobile version of your site—People often use their mobile devices when they are searching for a local solution to their problem—wandering in a new city, perhaps they are looking for the closest coffee shop, or are stranded and need local car repairs. With the increasing prominence of smart phones, people don’t plan ahead as often and end up looking for solutions “on the go”. Having a site that allows easy mobile access enables searchers to discover you in their desperate hour of need.
  1. Old-School advertising still matters—Buying an ad in local papers or church bulletins makes your business familiar to community members, even if they don’t remember you until they are searching for local house cleaning services, see your business appear and think, “Oh, right, I know who they are!” That little extra recognition could mark the difference between you and your competitors.

Tapping in to the local search results can be huge, especially for small businesses. I hope this advice has helped you with your local online marketing campaign. Do you have any additional tips for optimizing for local search?

Comments

Dec 29, 2011

Megan, has anyone told u that you look like Laura Prepon?

Megan Marrs
Dec 29, 2011

Haha, I've never heard that one before Roshan. I guess I'll have to consider going blonde.

Jan 07, 2012

hello I ve made some tryings. It seems that having comments, on google local or qype, with keywords in the comment is very usefull. Beware on false advices, I ve been using it a lot, and on some sites I ve get kind of "black listed". do google follow ip of comments?....

Megan,

This is a great list - and yes we too find that our clients fail to make most use of the local opportunities.  Just a point about the individual landing pages - make sure that each one is varied - otherwise you may fall foul of google's duplicate content penalty and find the site drop down the rankings.

Thanks for sharing

Matthew

Megan (not verified)
Feb 26, 2012

Hi Peirre, yes, Google can track multiple reviews from the same IP address - fake reviews are definetly a no-no!

Thanks Matthew! And yes, thank you for that reminder - Google is not a fan of duplicate content, so it's absolutely important to make sure your multiple landing pages aren't identical.

 

conference gifts (not verified)
Mar 02, 2012

 

In one case I actually liked the new content enough that I changed the date of the post and made it my new post for the day…nice having content that goes back a couple or three years, most of my visitors had not seen this content ever.

Busy couple of weeks so far fixing my blogs and optimizing. I have also been posting up a storm over the last couple of days but still have not been adding many affiliate links like I should be.

Using this process you can go in and fix each post in very short order. I think that most marketers as well as writing a few blog posts a week, you should also spend some time each week optimizing blog posts

Megan Marrs
Jan 28, 2013

That's good advice about making sure to spend time optimizing blog posts.

Megan Marrs
Jan 28, 2013

That's good advice about making sure to spend time optimizing blog posts.

Thanks Megan for your excellent local search SEO tips!

Cheers

Ed Heerkens

Megan Marrs
Jan 28, 2013

You're welcome Ed! Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it.

If your goal is to improve your ranking, you must make your site search engine spider-friendly. They are always looking through content based on keywords, but spiders also need to understand your site’s overall structure. To help the spiders understand the hierarchy of your website’s pages, craft a site map highlighting the most important factors of your site.

Megan Marrs
Jan 28, 2013

Very true - having a solid site hierarchy information structure is very important, not just for spiders, but to ensure that visitors can easily navigate your site without getting lost.

Local SEO doesn't work for all type of businesses it is true, it is useful for small businesses such as flower shop, pet shop, dentists etc. 

 

thanks for useful help. 

Great post.

Can you optimise for keywords like this though Man and Van and also Man and Van London?

Dos it work on the page as the first keyword is in both, how do the search engines account for that?

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