Local Search Engine Optimisation
Search Optimisation for Local Search offers business owners an effective method to increase awareness of your business to local customers. Increasingly local businesses are obtaining reasonable rankings for more generic keywords in the local search results of the major Search Engines. These results of course do not happen by themselves, implementing a Local Search Engine Optimization program is necessary. The investment into your Local Search Optimisation program will have a positive long term result for your business by increasing web site traffic, walk-in traffic and phone calls, in other words, more business.
I prefer Organic Search Optimisation as opposed to Pay Per Click Campaigns. After all, when considering the power of local search for business an initial investment into an Organic Search program can offer better long term results as opposed the ongoing cost of a Pay Per Click campaign (for example Google Adwords).
That’s not to say I would not use PPC in local search campaigns, I am saying Pay Per Click will not be the only web promotion component but part of an overall program. Ideally, a local program should be no different than any other web promotion program and utilise all tools available to promote and improve your business’s visibility and therefore use Organic Optimisation, PPC and the powerful local opportunities of Social Media Marketing.
Why Local Search is Improving
The major Search Engines are taking more interest in local listings. Local consumers are using a range of online websites and tools to find the services and products they require. Search Engines are aware of this and have further refined their Algorithms to account for local Search.
Search Engines now consider generic keywords such as doctors, lawyers and restaurants as being important to local search results and relevancy. They also consider that when localized terms are included in a search request the person looking is attempting to find local service providers. Therefore, local searches for generic high search volume keywords are now becoming useful to smaller businesses in local markets.
The second part of the equation is through IP identification. Search Engines are able to determine the IP address the search request has been placed from and determines within reason the actual location of the searcher’s computer and delivers results which are in a similar geographic location.
Local Search Techniques
In principle, the techniques used to optimize a web site for local search are similar to those used in Organic Search Engine Optimisation. However, there are some important steps which are specific to Local Search
Top 5 Local Search Optimisation Tasks
1. Register your business with Google, Yahoo and Bing local business registry. Registering and verifying your business details with the major Search Engines indicates the authenticity of your Local Business Listing and location to the Search Engines.
2. Develop quality links from Local Directories, Newspapers and Websites: Search Engines evaluate the inbound links to your web site. Creating a network of local sites which include your keyword and location in Anchor text sends the right signals to the Search Engine ensuring they consider your website an important element of the region in which your business operates. But a word of warning - make sure they are links from quality sites, not just Listing Directories, as Google and the other major search engines can and do penalise you for poor quality links. Try to get your customers to rate you on these local sites, as this will boost your rankings.
3. Contact Details are Important: The business contact details should be included with
- Business Name
- Street Address
- City, Province / State, Country
- Postal Codes
- Local Phone and Fax numbers
These details should be included on pages such as Contact, About and Home. Although in some cases Search Engines ignore links in Footers due their heavy use for SEO purposes it is recommended you include a footer with the contact details above on all web pages within the site.
4. Landing Pages: Develop location-specific Landing Pages for multiple locations if your business operates in many different markets. Ensure the landing pages offer contact information relevant to the location and embedding a Google Map into the web page is often effective to getting your business listed in Google 10 Pack which are the pins on the Google Map in local Search Results Pages.
Be sure to integrate your geographic and product/services keywords into the Landing page’s content, H1, H2 tags, and of course the META tags title and description.
5. Information Consistency: A part of the Local Optimisation program you will be registering with many sites like Yell and Your Local Business Directory to name a couple. The information, primarily contacts and location information and the products and services provided, must be consistent throughout your online Network.
The Last Word
Local Search is a powerful tool and offers many advantages for companies targeting local markets. The Search Engine Algorithms are constantly evolving to ensure users are provided with the most relevant search results possible. To do this Search Engines have determined many keywords indicate a local interest. Understanding the importance and benefits of local search is the first step to improving the visibility of your business. Completing a local Search Optimisation Campaign is the second.
Of course there is more to developing an effective local search campaign than these 5 Local Search Engine Optimisation Tips but these tips provide you with the foundation to get you started.
Need Local SEO Help?
In the past Search Engine Optimisation has been an expensive proposition which was out of reach of many small local businesses. Local Search changes this. An effective Local Organic Search Optimisation program is much more affordable than the competitive national or global markets. Beat your competition in the local search arena Initiate Your Local Optimisation Program by contacting us now. You will be surprised at how affordable Local SEO can be.