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Local Search Optimization

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Local Search OptimizationConsumers have always been in the need for local products and services. What’s changed is their behavior and the tools they use to perform local searches. Traditionally, local directories like the yellow pages along with newspapers and local magazines supplied this information but the digital age has changed all that. Computers and search engines have replaced the yellow pages and increasingly smart phones and other mobile devices are your computer. When was the last time you picked up a copy of the yellow pages to order Pizza, look for a local service or product?

Local search queries differ from conventional searches in that you are adding a “where” component such as an address, a city or a zip code to the “what” component (keyword, product, service etc) that you are looking for. Now, the game has changed and search engines want to feature your local business, your products and your services.

What’s currently happening online is that many sites are battling the search engines for your local attention? While Google is still dominant the landscape has changed: in addition to Yahoo! and Bing, many new local options like Four Square, Yelp, Merchant Circle and Urban Spoon are giving consumers what they want – reviews and feedback on local merchants and their services or products.

All of this focus on local search means that now is the perfect time to roll out a local SEO strategy and grow your business.

Google’s focus on local businesses has resulted in a dramatic change in search results compared to the past. Geo-targeted searches return Google maps listings that level the playing field for small businesses that have one huge edge over national competitors: a local address.

Local business listings, when optimized, can quickly achieve first page exposure and will out perform expensive, traditional advertising.

While local listings on various search engines have been emphasized, it is important to highlight that your business website needs to be optimized for your geo-targeted keywords. Standard SEO practices apply here and try to include your city or regional keywords in:

While local listings on various search engines have been emphasized, it is important to highlight that your business website needs to be optimized for your geo-targeted keywords. Standard SEO practices apply here and try to include your city or regional keywords in:

  • Your URL?
  • Page Titles?
  • Meta Description?
  • H1 and H2 tags?
  • Throughout your site content

Blogging is a great way to increase your local ranking. It is easy for local businesses to include geo-specific keywords in posts about current events, local government policies or business interests. You can even add these keywords to your tags and create categories. Again, just make sure that you are writing FOR YOUR READERS and not causing harm by adding blog posts or categories that are geo-targeted but confusing.

Link Building Locally

Local link building opportunities abound – as long as you know how to find local sites. Here are some of the most obvious ways to build links locally:

  • Use Social Media – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn communities will help your network and find likeminded people that would be willing to link to your site
  • Associations and Organization – are you a member of the Chamber of Commerce? Better Business Bureau? Local organizations like these will link back to your site and help search engines trust you as a local authority site. Don’t stop there – can you think of other local groups you are affiliated with? credentialed by?

By now you should have clarity on the importance of local SEO to your business. If you are targeting customers regionally it is in your best interest to implement a local search strategy to ensure that they find you when and where they are shopping. Most resources are free. Others are very budget friendly and this makes for a high ROI activity.

Contact Brand Energy Digital for helping you with Local search optimization for you to get business from your local community, specific areas or from the desired city.

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