Local SEO: Helping Google Know WHERE to Rank You
As with all forms of SEO, the actual content on your website itself is important for Local SEO. Let’s delve into some of the areas you can control yourself.
Location in URL
Do you provide services only for a specific city or region? The search engines consider the actual words in your URL to determine if that is the case. Most of us are uninterested in including a location in our URL or brand name, because it could limit customer interest from other locations. If that is of no concern, you should consider including the location, at least the city, in your URL and business name.
Prominent Placement on Your Website
Another way to guide search engines about your location is to include it in prominent spots on your website. Some examples of places to put it are:
- In the Page Title on the home page or throughout the site – careful not to dilute other keyword coverage unless location is more important.
- In persistent content, perhaps the footer or housekeeping navigation area.
- On a contact page – have one page for each location and optimize it heavily for that location. If you are only present in one locale, a single contact page will suffice.
- In press releases and other third party content about your business.
- Weaved into the content itself. Blog posts are great spots to do this, as are customer testimonial pages, services pages, and even on landing pages that you make available for crawling.
Aside from the actual on-page content, you can influence how search engines see your location with off-page optimization. Here are some ideas for managing the off-page local SEO:
- Be sure you show a consistent location on all website, directories, and other online references, particularly those that include a backlink to your website. Google uses all references of your business online to determine where to rank you locally.
- Anchor Text for backlinks/links to your site – while most online citations will link to you using your company or brand name, it helps to have the location also included. If you have the chance to control anchor text, add your city to it – as in “Return On Now of Austin, TX”.
- Reviews are valuable for more than just rich snippets in the SERPs and offsetting sales objectives. If you have online reviews, particularly on Google properties, the location of the reviewer can influence where Google thinks you operate your business.
Google is the top search engine in the known world, and they provide some very useful local SEO tools for you to take advantage of.
- Google Places For Business Profile – Any business owner can set up a profile that designates the official address. This is very convenient for guiding Google toward the location you prefer to serve. You will need to set up each location in the tool.
- Business Categories – you can self-select categories on most directories and even on Google Places itself. Make sure you understand what category or categories fit your business model to help Google serve up similar businesses. This is important for managing relevance, which is key to getting visibility via local search traffic.
The Wild Card: User Location
The final piece of the puzzle is the actual physical location of the query. Search engines can identify location rather accurately, typically through use of IP Addresses for standard computer systems / PCs / Macs, and using actual Geo-location information for mobile browsers.
Summary: Get Your Local SEO On
Hopefully these tips served to demystify local SEO for you a bit. I have years of experience in all facets of SEO, including local. Contact Us today to learn more about how we can help grow your traffic, your leads, and your business.