Top Local SEO Priorities

Written by Nick Stamoulis

While there might be a few people out there who still use the Yellow Pages to find a local business, these thick booklets are more likely to be used as a doorstop, or tossed in the recycling bin. That’s because the majority of people looking for a local business are turning to their computers, tablets, or smart devices instead to search via Google or their favorite search engine (but let’s face it, it’s probably Google). This means that as a local business owner, it’s in your best interest to do what you can to appear in search. Here are the top 4 local SEO priorities:

Optimize the site for local search

In addition to optimizing website content using keywords that are relevant to the industry and target audience, the site content needs to be locally optimized. For example, city, state, or even neighborhood keywords need to be used in conjunction with the industry keywords in important places such as the title tags, meta descriptions, and on page content. Be sure to include a full address and phone number in the footer so that it appears on every page of the site.

Submit the site to local search engine directories

Submitting website information to Google My Business is an absolute must. You’ll notice that for local searches, there’s a “pack” of sites listed at the top via Google Maps. The goal is to be found here, since it’s the first thing searchers see on the page. Sites that are verified and profiles that are up to date in Google My Business have the best chances of appearing here, and yet so many local business owners haven’t verified their listing. Don’t make this mistake. It only takes a few minutes of your time and can result in a huge bump in website traffic, store traffic, and sales. Additional local listing sites to verify include Yahoo! Local, Bing Local, Yelp, and Mapquest.

Write localized blog content

Local business blogging is a great way to share content that is relevant to your community. Share stories about how your business is serving the community and spotlight local clients, customers, or partner businesses. What’s great about this content is that it’s “linkworthy” and likely to be shared among people in the community.

Search for local link building opportunities

Inbound links pointing to your local business website help to convey trust and relevance to the search engines. For a local business, local links are just as important as industry wide links since they strengthen ties to a specific geographic area. To establish local inbound links, submit your site to local directories, join the local chamber of commerce, participate in local events, and sponsor local charities.

Most local SEO is relatively straightforward, but it can be time consuming. Since it’s so important, if you can’t do it on your own, it’s recommended to outsource the work to a trusted SEO firm that has local SEO experience.

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