Start with Local Search Engine Optimization

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Whether you’re beginning a new SEO campaign or restructuring an existing strategy, you know that you have a long road ahead of you.

Starting with local search engine optimization can be a great way to give your site an initial performance boost while you build long-term results.

This article is going to focus on two aspects of local search engine optimization:

  1. What local search engine optimization can do for you
  2. How to optimize for local search

What local search engine optimization can do for you

Quicker Results

When you're optimizing a website for specific phrases, organic search engine results are going to take a little while. That can mean anywhere from a few weeks to six months or more. It really depends on so many factors that no one is going to be able to give you an exact answer.

However, when you optimize your site for the local market, you can begin to see results a lot faster because your site will always have a better chance of being found for “keyword phrase + location” rather than just “keyword phrase.” When you begin seeing that your organic search engine optimization is working, you can concentrate on other aspects of your strategy and continue building your overall campaign.

Targeted Traffic

Many markets rely on local search for all or nearly all of their business. If you are looking for a real estate agent, a car dealership, a lawyer, a doctor, a dry cleaning shop, a plumber, or various other specialists or services, chances are you are looking for a location nearby. If your site isn’t found for that local search, you miss out on a lot of potential business.

Additionally, when users looking for products or services search with a location attached to their keyword phrase, they are typically much closer to the end of the buying cycle and are more willing to contact you for your services. When your site shows up for their keyword, you generate more targeted traffic to your website which in turn will generate more revenue for your business.

Local Search Engine Listings

Taking advantage of local search engine optimization can give your site an edge over other websites. If you have listed your website with Google Maps or Yahoo Local, you can begin to generate map listings in the search results.

Local Map listings typically show up at the top of the results page and once again it is going to be more targeted users clicking on the map listings. How saturated your market is with similar businesses in the area will determine how many map links show up when a user searches for a particular keyword + location. Either way, it’s another opportunity for page one positions, increased traffic, and improved overall results.

How to optimize for local search

Location, Location, Location

Anyone who has been in the search engine optimization industry for a period of time knows that optimizing for a keyword phrase with a local modifier is a lot easier than just targeting the keyword phrase.

For example:

Obviously “Website Design Charlotte” is a much easier term to target because the competition is so much less. But it’s also important to remember how the local map listings come into play. When users search with a location attached, they are much more likely to get local map listing as part of their results.

Usually, when a user searches for their keyword phrase there are 10 page one results. But when a user searches with a location attached to their keyword, they will likely see map locations as well, providing up to 20 results. If you have setup your local search engine optimization you can take advantage of these precious page one listings.

Local Directories and Local Search Engines

There are several search engines and directories that focus only on local businesses. Getting your website listed in these special niche directories will increase your chances for showing up in the local results.

Here are a few local directories and search engines to get you started:

  1. Google Maps
  2. Yahoo! Local
  3. SuperPages
  4. Yellow Pages

Pages For Each Location

One of the most overlooked areas of local search engine optimization is when businesses choose to list all of their locations on one page. It is much more difficult to rank for a specific location if you mention 5 different locations on your contact page.

Instead, break out your locations so that each office has its own page. Then you can really benefit from local search and the chances of your contact pages showing up for each individual location will increase.

Code and Content Optimization

The easiest way to start taking advantage of local search is to make sure that your location is in your content. Many clients get frustrated over why they’re not showing up in the local results but when you read their content there’s no mention of their location.

Make sure that you mention your location, surrounding areas, and monuments that local people will recognize in your content. Place your location in your title tags as well as using proper semantic markup for your code.

You can get creative with ways to mention locations in your website but getting it in the content is the first step. Try giving the user more than what you think they are looking for. Here are some quick examples:

Don't Miss Out on Local SEO Opportunities

Local search engine optimization is a great way to charge up your search rankings. It’s a faster method for making sure you’re on the right track, and if optimized properly you can really take advantage of some targeted traffic that will only help your business in the future.

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