Traditional generalized SEO strategies are not appropriate for many businesses. While they may work great for certain online stores that aim for the widest net possible, others want to target a more local audience. This is certainly the case for websites that want to assist consumers in finding their brick and mortar locations. To optimize your website for local searches, you’re going to need to approach your SEO a bit differently. Below is a list of 10 local SEO ranking factors you should certainly consider.
1. Location in Title
What you put in the title portion of your website is important. For local SEO, one very good rule of thumb is to always include the city and state or province in the title. Search engine spiders will definitely pick up on this and feed it trough Google’s algorithm. Including the state or province is important since most city names are not unique. For instance, there are 17 different cities named Rome in the United States.
2. Listing the Complete Street Address
Listing the complete address is also important. There are obvious reasons for this like making it easier to find. However, Google+, for example, will actually filter a person’s search for a business based on the proximity to the physical addresses of businesses listed in Google My Business.
3. Getting Verified by Google
Google has specific services tailored towards local businesses. Create a Google My Business account for your company. Add all the relevant information. You can even provide a “story” for your business and add photographs of the building. After your entry is verified, you will have full control over it in case your information changes.
4. Listing Your Zip Code
Listing your zip code everywhere you add information for your business online is also important. Google’s algorithms can take the zip code for a business and then give it more relevance for searches performed in or near that zip code. It is far more effective than listing the street address sans the zip code.
The consistency of the information you place on the web is also important. Whenever you add a listing, make sure you use the same exact business name, phone number, physical address and website URL. If one of those changes at some point, make sure to go through and update each entry.
6. Location Within City Limits
While it may seem slightly ridiculous, your physical location in your city also helps determine search engine ranking. With the way that Google works, businesses that are closest to what Google Maps deems the center of a city will get preference over locations closer to the outskirts. Consider this when choosing where to locate.
7. Keyword in Business Name
Although it may limit your options, having the keyword in your business name can go a long way towards giving you an advantage in regards to local SEO. For example, “Joe’s Pizza” will probably be given preference over “Joe’s Café” if the keyword being searched for is indeed pizza.
8. Local Directory Citations
The use of online directories for local businesses can help improve your local SEO. Examples include websites like Yelp and Truelocal. However, you can save some time by using a local directory aggregator like Universal Business Listing that can get you listed on hundreds of different directories.
9. Mobile Usability
How friendly your website is to mobile users is also now a big issue in regards to ranking especially after Google’s latest algorithm update. If your mobile optimization is poor, your site will be punished in search results produced on mobile devices. Mobile now well exceeds traditional PC use. It’s how most people find businesses.
10. Create Localized Content
Google has made a big shift towards ranking websites based off of content. If you want to improve your local SEO, try to provide quality content geared towards that audience. Discuss things the community will care about that are relevant to their daily lives.