Optimizing for Local Search

When you are optimizing your web site you cannot forget how important it is to optimize for local searches. We understand the importance of optimizing for national clients, but you should consider how beneficial it could be to bring local traffic to your site. Optimizing for local searches is really not difficult and can be done fairly quickly.

Start With Your Web Site
There are several things you can do that will dramatically increase your chances of showing up for local searches.

1. Add your address to your contact page. Bold it- Google considers words that are bolded, bulleted, italicized & in a larger font more important than the other words on the page. Then place your contact information into your title-tag, keywords and description. Regarding the title-tag, the city and state are the most important, then your phone number and zip. If you can fit the address that is a bonus, but if it doesn’t fit you will still benefit from it being in the content of the page, keywords and description.
2. Choose a few pages throughout your site to mention your city and surrounding cities in the title-tag and combine it with keywords. For example, if you type “San Diego SEO” into Google, Single Grain comes up on the first page. You want to switch up the keyword phrases throughout the title tags, such as “San Diego SEO” and “SEO San Diego”.
3. I always try to add a sentence to the bottom of almost every page (sometimes it just doesn’t apply) that says something like, “The Blue Widget Company is proud to serve the communities of San Diego, Orange County, Spring Valley, Coronado and Los Angeles.
4. Add the name of your city and/or keywords to alt-tags and anchor text.
5. Some web sites can have a local resource page, depending on the subject of the site. Resource pages can include local schools, restaurants, sports activities or anything that relates to your business. These pages allow you to use the name of your city repeatedly without being penalized for spam. Additionally, Google likes resource pages.
6. If you sell products and your web site creates an individual page for each product you should have the name of the product and your city and state if it fits.

Important Tip- always add some misspellings to your keywords list. Some people may be typing fast and misspell a word like “San Deigo”. Misspellings allow your site to show up when people misspell a word and this happens constantly.

Tweaking Your Blog
Try to include the name of your city in your blog description and title-tag. You can add a signature to every post that includes the name of your city. Add your city and surrounding cities to your about and contact page (remember the “We are proud to serve…” sentence).

Google Business Center
Add your business information to the Google Business Center. Adding your business has many benefits:

  • Your business may come up with a Google Map when someone searches for a local business. Google displays 3 business listings when they are coming up with search results. If your business is in these three you will be at the top of page one. If your business does not show up you will still be in their list for “more results” and this will bring you business.
  • You can use keywords in your description.
  • You can choose three categories to show up for, such as SEO, Web Design and Marketing Services.
  • Your listing will include your web site, hours of operation, payment options, photos of your business, contact information and you can even make coupons (everyone loves a discount).
  • You can now add Google Map information to your site, which will give your potential clients directions to your business.
  • Verizon Superpages
    You can add your business to Superpages for free. As with Google, you can add your web site, hours of operation, contact information and more, but you are able to choose more categories for your business. If your business is listed under multiple categories you increase your chances of obtaining more clients.

    Other Business Directories You Should Add Your Business To

    • Yahoo Local
    • MSN Local
    • Ask Local
    • Local.com
    • TrueLocal.com
    • InfoUSA
    • Valpack
    • City Search
    • SuperPages
    • Switchboard
    • Internet Yellow Pages

    Press Releases
    If you release a press release with a reputable service you will see your business name all over the net. You can create press releases about sales and discounts, such as “San Diego Blue Widget Sale”. Press releases can be very beneficial.

    The Importance of Links
    We all want links pointing to our site from sites with high page ranks and we all need these links to have the right anchor text. You can use directories (usually have a high page rank) and local search sites to point back to your site with the right anchor text. Typically, these places ask you for the name of your business. Just add some additional keywords- “Single Grain- San Diego SEO”. The anchor text that will be pointing back to Single Grain will have the business name and two other keywords, “San Diego” and “SEO”.

    Why Should I Bother?
    Well, the bottom line is the more business you have the more money you make. You may want to be appealing to clients nationwide, but local clients are just as important. Also consider that people are always searching for information. You could show up for some random search if someone is researching your city for vacation information or looking for a news story. Anyone that comes to your site is a potential client, even if they came to your site by accident. Optimizing for your local area is truly important. Lastly, optimizing for local search will increase your web site’s traffic, more traffic means more sales.

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