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3 Key Steps to Optimize for Local Search

Posted on 6.07.2011

Because there are fewer competitors, local search engine optimization is not nearly as challenging as broader categories -- but it still has its challenges. Many of the same core SEO rules still apply, but thanks in part to improvements on the part of search engines and the intersection of search and social, it is far simpler than at any time in the Web's short but rich history to optimize for local search.

Be Everywhere That Matters: From Google Places to local directories, local links and user citations are the primary influencers of high rankings for geo-specific terms. Local users go deep for information, so even small, seemingly low-volume destinations can result in quality links. They may not receive a lot of traffic individually, but a few links from relevant blogs can go a long way - on the search result pages and even in your local community.

Ask for Reviews: If you're a local business and are not collecting reviews, you won't be in business long. Search engines rely on content, and in the eyes of search engines today there is no more reliable signal of businesses' authority and relevance to an individual query than the presence of reviews. You don't just need to ask for reviews here and there, you should consider making it part of either your business processes or marketing campaigns. If you run a dry cleaning business, what's 25 percent off your patron's next visit for a review? You don't need hundreds, but in order to remain fresh and relevant, your review assets do need to be constantly appended.

Set Up a Schedule: It sounds basic (perhaps overly so), but ask the next local business owner you encounter when was the last time they checked their position on the search results pages for keywords and phrases relevant to their business. The answer will likely be "it's been a while". Setting up a schedule to monitor position and the impact of individual promotions, just like spending time delivering paychecks to your employees, is a neccessary function of business.


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