As web users become more sophisticated at finding information online and using the Internet as their primary source of research, the importance of optimizing the local aspects of your business website are becoming increasingly important. To illustrate this point, 63% of web users in the U.S. in 2005 searched for content with location modifiers and the trend is definitely moving upward each year.
No matter what goods and services your company provides, potential clients are online looking for them right now and the easier you are to find online, the more likely they are to send their business your way! Here are 10 local Search Engine Optimization tips that will make your phone ring:
- Submit your Site to Directories – Look for local, regional, and national directories that allow you to submit your site by location. Concentrate especially on the local directories as they probably advertise their services and will have ‘top-of-mind’ awareness in your area.
- Put your Contact Information at the Bottom of Each Page – Include your company’s complete address, phone numbers, email, and any other contact information at the bottom of each page on your site. Make it as easy as possible for potential clients AND search engines to find you.
- Use your Location as Part of your SEO Strategy – Instead of optimizing the content of your site in broad, generic terms, spice it up and make it locally relevant by optimizing with local modifiers such as ‘East Baltimore Auto Repair’, ‘Louisville Handcrafted Furniture’, ‘Downtown Peoria Pizza’, etc.
- Conduct Research –Look around online for local competitors and see how they’re using local SEO. Make a list of local search terms that have been overlooked and will allow your site to stand out. Also use keyword tools that will tell you the terms that local people are using in their searches.
- Write Separate Optimized Pages for Nearby Towns – This is extra work but well worth it! For example, if you’re in the plumbing business, write different optimized pages using any nearby ‘town’s name’ and ‘plumbing’. In more rural communities, you might use nearby county names as well.
- Use your Location’s Nicknames – Use local nicknames or popular abbreviations occasionally in your site content and write pages specifically optimized for those terms.
- Include Pages with Local Points of Interest – Adding pages of content with information on local places of interest provides great linking opportunities and adds relevance to your site with both the search engines and your viewers.
- Link to the Sites of other Local Businesses – Contact other local business people and explore the possibilities of reciprocal links. This benefits your site, their site, and potential clients, especially if your businesses are indirectly related, like a paint store and an interior decorating company.
- Make your Pages Unique – It’s tempting to write one page and swap out optimized terms to save time and money but don’t do it! You’ll lose credibility with the search engines and potential customers.
- Add a Blog to Your Site – I know, everyone has a blog, but they create very effective ranking opportunities, add fresh content that is essential to ranking well, and give you an opportunity to provide exclusive coupons and promotions, as well as get invaluable feedback from your customers.
Nick Stamoulis is the president of the full-service Internet Marketing Firm, Brick Marketing. Nick’s philosophy and strategies can be found in his SEO blog the, Search Engine Optimization Journal. Nick Stamoulis is also the editor and publisher for seven Internet marketing-related blogs: Pay Per Click Journal, Social Marketing Journal, Blog Marketing Journal, Email Marketing Journal, Local Advertising Journal, and Online Publicity Journal.