Leveraging local SEO can be a great way to get your business found by local searchers. And if you're a brick and mortar business, having a great local SEO presence can also afford you some additional foot traffic from people who are searching for you on the go. In order to take advantage of local search at the most basic level, your business website needs to be optimized for your geo-targeted keywords. Standard SEO practices apply here. First, try to include your city or regional keywords in:
Google and other search engines hate it, and so do your site visitors. It’s easy enough to convey to both your readership and search engines what your various web pages are about without entering “black hat” SEO territory. Avoid keyword stuffing as best you can.
Best Practice #2: Leverage Business Blogging
Blogging is a great way to increase your local search rankings. It's 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 you are writing FOR YOUR READERS and not causing harm by adding blog posts or categories that are geo-targeted but confusing.
Best Practice #3: Focus on Local Link Building
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:
1. Use Social Media:Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn communities will help you network and find like minded people who would be willing to link to your site.
2. Join Associations and Organizations: 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?
3. Query Local Blogs and Websites: You might live in an area populated by great local sites and blogs that you can tap into. Links from these sites establishes that local trust that search engines look for, so comment with links, offer to guest post for them, or request a link for a valuable “local resource.” To find sites like this, simply search for:
Your City + "Blog" or "News" Your Zip Code + "Blog" or "News"
4. Submit to Directories: Finding local directories should also be easy. Use search queries such as:
Your City + "Directory" Your Zip Code + "Directory" Your Neighborhood + "Directory"
You can even do a statewide query for directories like this. You get the picture.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive link building list but rather a local compliment to the conventional SEO you are engaging in. Remember: content is KING! Writing valuable content will build credibility locally and not only attract Google, Yahoo, and Bing but will also establish your status as an expert with potential customers.
Best Practice #4: Be Congruent
It’s vital that you maintain consistency in how you describe your company, list your address, and provide other company-specific information. Your website should include your company contact information in your footer so the local listings you have worked hard to build can recognize your business. The biggest reward here will be when your site and Google Places listing populates in Google’s new “O-pack” local listings, or local listings paired with their corresponding organic search results.