SEO Secrets for Locally Based Businesses

Categories: Domain Strategy, Google, Keyword, SEO

Local businesses have a distinct advantage to getting found in organic search if they leverage their network of contacts and geographic location. Follow Lorrie Thomas's five rules of thumb below to get your local business booming. Author: Lorrie Thomas

Lorrie Thomas

1. Define Geographic Key Phrases

First, focus on key phrases before any search optimizations are executed. Define keywords that describe your business, product(s) or service(s). Next, marry those descriptive keywords with city or county locations. For example:

Business or service   Location or region   Optimized Key Phrase
Wardrobe consultant + Santa Barbara = Wardrobe consultant Santa Barbara
Dog trainer + Ventura County = Dog Trainer Ventura County

The power of targeted phrases pays off when you begin to optimizing page titles, meta tags, site content, internal links, and external links with the accurate, descriptive key phrases you have developed. These will help attract targeted search results and bring the right customers to your site.

2. Craft Content that Communicates Location

The slogan "content is king" still holds true. Content (1) fuels search indexing, (2) builds indexed pages for a website, (3) serves customers, and (4) boosts visibility. Local businesses can maximize their search visibility by crafting content written with geo-specific keyphrases. Then add online press releases to websites and release them on Internet distribution sites. Here are examples of headlines with geo-targeted key phrases that could be used in press releases or blog posts:

  • Local Ventura Dog Trainer Volunteers Studio for Humane Society Rescue Day
  • Beverly Hills Wardrobe Consultant Event March 31st

Step 1 is to define your keyphrases. Step 2 is to weave them into all your content.

3. Build Links with Local Sites

Increasing links back to your website boosts search engine visibility. Local businesses can maximize links from other sites by taking advantage of their tremendous assets: contacts and community. Use your community connections to initiate:

  • Links in a local directory
  • A link in the local Chamber of Commerce directory
  • Links to your site in the blog roll of local bloggers
  • Partnering with non-competing local websites to exchange links

Whenever possible, request the link back have on of the key phrases you are targeting.

4. Get on Low-Cost/No-Cost Local Search Opportunities

Businesses that operate or have a mailbox in a geographic location can add their listing (usually at no charge) to Google Maps, Yahoo Local, MSN Live, SuperPages, Yellow Pages and other local sites. Some local search engines require a call or will mail a postcard to verify address, but with most all you need to do is add your business online.

Since Google and Yahoo often include local businesses above other listings in their search results, local businesses can often leverage their geographic edge to get top listings.

Online phone book sites offer paid options that are worth exploring, as well. Another approach is to ask your clients or customers to post comments about your business on local Internet listings to boost credibility and awareness.

5. Place Contact Information and Place-Names on Each Page

The simple act of adding contact information to every page of your site can boost search visibility. If you serve multiple cities, give your address, then a descriptor such as: "Serving the Tri-Counties, Small Business Bank for Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County."

Making small optimizations can make a big difference. Give search engine spiders laser-like food that packs local descriptive punch and you'll see your rankings rise.

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