By optimizing your property for the local market you can take advantage of all the search happening right there in your own back yard. There are so many variables that come into play when optimizing for local search, but like anything else there are some very standard processes and procedures that should be applied no matter the other efforts involved. I will touch on the ones in this article that I find to be be the most important when attempting to optimize for local search.
Analyze The Competition
If I am optimizing a local service provider for search, one of the first things I will do is analyze what the competition is doing. I go straight to page 1 of Google and perform an SEO audit on the top ranking properties. You can use a multitude of tools in conjunction with an other to extrapolate all the data you need to properly optimize your property. A few that come to mind are MOZ Local and AHREFS.
By identifying things like article length, image optimization, inbound/outbound linking strategies and other various on page optimization you can potentially identify some of the strategies that are working for them and apply them to your campaign.
Get Your On-Page Right
• UMAC (URL – META – ANCHOR – CONTENT)
• Add Schema for local SEO
• Optimized title tags w/ local keywords
• Optimized meta descriptions w/ local keywords
• Optimized URLS w/ local keywords
• Optimized on-page content w/ local keywords
Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages being the goto source for finding local services. However, sites like Yellowpages.com are still valid resources for adding your business into a local directory style listing. There are multiple benefits to these local directories and they should not be overlooked. First, it’s a local directory and lots of people refer to these sites to find local service providers. Second, as with other off page properties you can build a nofollow backlink from the business profile back to your website. Both of those reasons are valuable enough to justify taking the time to set these up properly.
Make sure you are consistent when filling out the name, address, and phone numbers in those local directories. I you abbreviate Avenue and use (Ave.) in one citation, make sure you keep it consistent across the board with the rest. This is important or I would not have mentioned it.
Local Chamber & Network Links
Chamber of Commerce links are provide a ton of value for local businesses and should be deployed in the early stages of optimization so you can better gauge how many additional links need to be acquired before becoming competitive in search within your local market. Local network groups, clubs, membership sites, and niche specific hubs can all be leveraged in the same way for quality referral links.
Links from government agencies and educational institutes have proven to be some of the more powerful links available from local establishments. By volunteering, collaborating, or doing business with government agencies and educational institutions you can leverage this relationships to acquire backlinks from them. By receiving backlinks from authoritative local gov and edu sites you can further cement your position in the SERPS as a trustworthy business in the local market.
Google Maps – Google My Business
Creating a custom Google map that is also properly optimized should be a priority. Getting your business address verified by Google and connected to your website is a huge step in the right direction. In addition your Google My Business profile needs to be completed in it’s entirety, NAP needs to be consistent with your other citations, and the map should be either embedded on your site or a link needs to be made to it from your site so that visitors can easily access it.
By following these general pointers and sticking to Google best practices your local optimized website should benefit from the on page and off page strategies discussed here. Take your time, do it right, and you will find that these simple steps can take you all the way there in some local markets, and most of the way there in the more competitive local markets. Optimize and enjoy!
Local Search Engine Optimization
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