There are many factors that play a significant role for your local search engine rankings, both on-site and off-site. The local SEO rules do differ from the general global search results. The noteworthy differences are the local business pages, your reviews and your local social engagement that Google is very aware of. The below tips will hopefully give you a better idea on how to approach your local SEO marketing.
SEO for Local Business Website
For this local search engine optimization tutorial, we take SEO examples from a website of award winning Los Angeles Dermatologist, Dr. Don Mehrabi, BHSkin.com.
Like on the above medical website, your site should developed and structured for local search prior to developing. On every page, you will find unique content, unique meta information and other standard SEO requirements, but for Local SEO, you take some extra steps depending on your target location, or several more if you intend to rank multiple locations:
Local On-Site Optimization
- 1. SEO with Multiple Location Pages
- When optimizing for multiple locations, you would want to assure that each location has its own page and unique meta data and content referring to that location. In addition, you will want to optimize the location page with the main services and service you intend to rank. In the above image, you can see that a page has been created specifically for Glendale which is one of the locations. The main service keyword attached to that locations page is dermatologist, which results in the above listing position if the other SEO factors of the site are optimized well.
- 2. SEO Homepage with Competitive Keywords
- In addition to having a page per location, you will want to take the most competitive location and keyword combination and place that on the index page. Although you may have the location keyword duplicated, whether a city or its subdivision, this is avoided by combining it with the most competitive service or general keyword - so make sure that the same location on the locations page has a set of different keywords that go with the location.
- 3. Rich Snippets for Multiple Locations
- A more advanced technique used to optimize for local search is the implementation of Google rich snippet markup for local search or Organization Rich Snippets.
Location Rich Snippet Example:
Below would be an example of what your business listing and address may look like:
<dl> <dt>Local Business</dt> <dd>Phone: 310-555-1234</dd> <dd>URL: <a href="http://local.business.com">http://local.business.com</a></dd> <dd>28 W. Century City Blvd., #201><br /> Los Angeles, California 90024<br /> USA</dd> </dl>
Here is how the microdata rich snippets can be implemented to optimize this listing according to Google's reccomendation:
<dl itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/Organization"> <dt itemprop="name">Local Business</dt> <dd>Phone: <span itemprop="tel">310-555-1234</span></dd> <dd>URL: <a href="http://local.business.com" itemprop="url">http://local.business.com</a></dd> <dd itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/Address"> <span itemprop="street-address">28 W. Century City Blvd., #201</span><br /> <span itemprop="locality">Los Angeles</span>, <span itemprop="region">CA</span> <span itemprop="postal-code">90024</span><br /><span itemprop="country-name">USA</span></dd> </dl>
Off-Site SEO Optimization for Google Local Search
Once you have created each location page and optimized them with the above on-site SEO tricks, you will need to make those pages official with third party sources. Fortunately for us, it is no longer necessary to submit to multiple business listings to assure better Google local rankings (this may differ for Bing) and only the following may be needed to get your listing to show up correct on searches:
- 1. Google Places Listing
- Here you can submit a listing per business location you have. It even allows bulk imports for multiple listings - Google.com/placeforbusiness
- 2. Google Plus Business Page
- Now, with Google going social, this will be an additional tool to improve you local rankings. If you choose a local business for your Google Plus page category, you will only be able to add one address at this point, so if you have multiple locations you will want to choose corporation or brand as a category.
- 3. Build Local Links
- When building links to your website, try to use websites that are local to improve searches without location keywords (such as Sushi restaurant, instead of Sushi restaurant Los Angeles). Your website is more likely to show up on local search results if the websites that link to you are also related to your locality. This is why submitting to more third party sites may help improve your listings (e.g. Yelp.com, Yellowpages.com, etc.)
- 4. Local Social Engagement
- Similar to the above Local SEO Tip, building local social engagement with Google Plus will also help local rankings if the searcher is logged into his/her Google Plus account. Search results change depending on what content your Google Plus circles engaged with, so it is more beneficial to get a Google +1 than a Facebook Like if your focus is Search Marketing.
- 5. Local Reviews
- The final factor for your local search marketing success is generating and maintaining good reviews on your Google Places Page. This has to be done naturally, by asking the customer or client to place them, as Google does consider the review quality and its location to determine your listings position upon local businesses.
Additional Local SEO Marketing Tips & Summary
After implementing the basic local SEO steps above and making sure your website is generally search engine optimized with clear text link navigation and interlinking, you should slowly see your website crawl up the local Google search results.
If you implemented these correctly you should have no problem finding your website on local search for related services.