If you are visiting our Local SEO page you probably know Google is saying that over 20% of searches contain some sort of reference to locality, be it a city, state, country or a geographic reference like that. Together with mobile Internet access and integration of positioning systems, this is probably one of the most predictable trends in search and if you are dealing locally you don’t want to miss on that.
The underlying conditions for top placements in local searches are keyword research and targeting. You must understand what are members of the community looking for when going to search engines for answers – how they formulate their queries, how they refine them, if the desired action is a click-through or simply impressions as close to the top of the search results page as possible.
Success in local SEO depends a lot on accessibility and content: where is your website hosted and how fast content is delivered to queries from the target region. Hosting and geo-location of your website IP used to be crucial, but with the rise of the cloud they are starting to fade and leave room for more exotic signals like .kml files and geo-tagging on 3rd party websites.
Local SEO is still search engine optimization, and that means links – who is linking to you, how popular are they, what does the anchor text in links say, all those factors are extremely important for all of the verticals.
At last, social media is another important local SEO signal. Geo-tagging tweets that reference your website provide relevant information about premises, be it a gym, pub or restaurant. Blogs and review sites, as they are a major component of the social web, are also precious sources of information that search engines rely on to rank sites locally.
Local search engine optimization cannot be approached as a one-size-fits-all effort. The Google Places supremacy is challenged, with Yahoo Local and Bing Local having different market shares in different communities. In each of these you are not trying to optimize and rank a website per se, but the search engine page or profile. This is great for business owners if they don’t want to invest heavily in branding and developing their own web pages.
Our Local SEO strategy is not limited to claiming a local address and submitting to Yahoo Local and other relevant directories. Yelp, Citysearch, Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor – local SEO search engine rankings rely on a host of industry-specific sources. Competitive analysis plays a major role in defining the tailored strategy we apply for each client – it always starts with checking who is already ranking locally and seeing where they’re getting their data from. Inferring other sources of data from there and reverse-engineering competitors’ best practices completes the picture of what our local SEO strategy can do for a client.
We mentioned review sites as a major component in our local SEO efforts. There is a whole market trading around paid reviews these days, and search engine specialist teams have already declared war on the practice. Our strategy addresses both the need for numerous positive reviews on different websites as well as the detrimental effect such unethical SEO practices can have on the client’s brand. Instead, we track real customers and actively engage with them in our program, showing them how sharing positive experiences benefits the community while expanding their own social network.
Besides a branding exercise, local SEO is a great source of leads and returning customers. But the missing link between ranking high in local searches and top returns is a highly-converting website. You can read about our Website Optimization services in the next section of our site.