Local search, the act of showing up on page one when surfers type in phrases that hint they are looking for a local business, requires much of the same focus as any type of optimization – only localized.
Here’s what I mean.
Winning the search game takes 3 things (yes, SEO folks will tell you it’s 300, but focus on these 3 and you will do better than most.)
- High quality, education based, frequently changing content
- Naturally generated, inbound links from high quality sites
- Properly formatted and used HTLM coding
Focus on the list above and you will go far. Again, this is not the definitive “every trick in the book” SEO list. This is the practical, what most local small business websites need to focus on first, list.
For the local business, the list is the same, the content is simply local focused.
1) Content – use the names of cities and suburbs on your pages, add your address and Google maps, talk about local and community events in your blog posts and titles. Link out to local sites using town and neighborhood names in the anchor text.
2) Links – this one is not as local focused but get links from your local chamber directories, local school alumni directories, local strategic partners, your blog network
3) HTML – use local words in you title tags of pages, anchor text for internal and external links, H1 tags, bold and italics tags, urls of page names, and alt and title description of images. Make sure anything you do that highlights content makes sense to eyeballs as well. Don’t overuse this mark-up, just use it to help point to your site.
Here’s an example of a site that does this well. It’s a remodeling contractor looking for business in the Kansas City area. Most home services related searches are local in nature so this is a pretty competitive industry.
The site is RemodelAgain.com, but searches for Kansas City Remodeling Contractor or Kansas City Kitchen Remodel, both extremely important search phrases for this business, turn up very high results for this site.
This is a long time customer of mine so I know for a fact that these results were achieved by simply focusing on the three steps above.