7 Tips to Optimize for Local Search

Written by: Jason Bayless | July 25, 2015

Generating business from people who reside in and who visit the area is a major goal for some businesses, especially smaller companies. However, when they use general SEO methods, they aren’t refining their strategies enough. Instead of using methods that generate interest from anyone, they need to employ local SEO to speak directly to their target audience members.

1. Naturally incorporate keywords and phrases.
To find your business when browsing in a search engine, customers will type in certain keywords and phrases related to the nature of your company. They will also look for businesses in their area, or their browsers may automatically generate local results based on location services. For the former group, the successful incorporation of keywords and phrases that names the business type and the location is imperative.

2. Weave your identifying details into the website.
Chances are, customers are looking for a local business because they want to visit the store at some point. Therefore, your address should have high visibility on your website. Incorporate your address and telephone number onto the bottom of every page so that customers can easily find that information. Also, when your business shows up at the top of search engine results, you want to ensure that this contact information is available there as well.

3. Optimize your website for mobile usage.
Not only do customers search for local businesses at home, but they also do so when they are on the go. When they are already out of their homes, they may research their next stop on their phones. A website that isn’t optimized for mobile usage is likely to push them away because they will not have the ability to fully browse through it and to see if it serves their current need.

4. Post your website in local listings.
Just as you want to make sure that your website is listed in the hard copy yellow phone book that is distributed to the community, you also want to ensure that your listing has a presence on similar web platforms. Signing your business up for reputable listing services online, such as Yahoo and the local Yellowbook, helps to spread the word about your business to people who look there.

5. Post fresh and relevant content about and for your community.
People who want to visit a local business are often looking for that family-friendly and old-school vibe that graced the companies of their youth. You can make your website feel more welcoming to guests too by posting blogs, videos and other content that is related to their present needs as customers, but also as members of the community. Furthermore, ensuring that the content is frequently updated helps you to score points with SEO.

6. Use social media to help.
Building a substantial social media presence helps you to interact with members of the community more directly. You can answer questions and address comments that potential and current customers post on your page, or you can run contests where a member of the community will win a prize. Furthermore, you can keep interested parties updated on your latest products, promotions and events by posting photos as everything unfolds.

7. Engage in link-building campaigns.
Creating a solid link-building campaign will help you to better reach people on other websites too. You should look into directories for links, but you can also speak with owners of other businesses. By posting links to one another’s sites on your own pages, you both have the opportunity to create more business. Remember, however, these links should retain a high quality. If you start to create links on too many pages, your website may begin to resemble spam and to drop in SEO ratings.

Local SEO shares some features with standard SEO. However, when you optimize your page with a local intent, you are speaking more directly to the members of your immediate community.