Quick Tips: Optimizing a Site for Local Search
Editor’s note: See Bruce Clay’s Checklist for Local SEO for a more extensive, updated list of tips.
If you’re a regular reader of the Bruce Clay, Inc. blog, you’ve probably seen various posts that our wonderful writers put together about local optimization as it relates to Google Places and claiming your profile, asking for reviews in Yelp, and managing local directory submissions.
Today, I would like to look at local SEO from a different angle, and provide a few tips to help you optimize your website in order to make it more SEO friendly from local search point of view.
These tips can help your site obtain higher rankings in the organic Web search results for search terms that have local intent (for example, “SEO company Simi Valley”).
When you are optimizing your site for geo-targeted keywords based on your location or areas that you provide services to, you need to approach your SEO campaign with traditional SEO tactics – the only difference here is that you are targeting a small area or giving a territory to your keywords.
The fundamentals for local SEO are the same for organic, so you still need to conduct keyword research, do a competitive analysis at the local level, then apply on-page SEO by optimizing Title tags, Meta tags, Heading tags and content.
You should also try to increase your link popularity by obtaining inbound links (preferably from relevant sites that are local and serve the same area that you are trying to target).
The good news is that the competition level is typically a lot lower and therefore, you can see results faster.
With that in mind, if you want to optimize your site for geo-targeted keywords, make sure your locations (i.e., city name) are included in your Title and Meta tags. You should also incorporate local search terms in the content when appropriate, without forcing the content to sound awkward.
Make sure to take every opportunity within your site to re-enforce your location and the fact that you provide services to a specific geographic region. Our experience shows that the “about us” and “contact us” pages are great for targeting local terms.
If you have multiple locations or serve different areas, it would be advantageous to have a dedicated landing page for each location that provides specific information about each location.
You may also consider creating a “locations” landing page, which would act as an index page for all of your locations, and then from there you can link to the individual location pages for more information.
Take the time to optimize the “locations” landing page as well as individual location pages. Create unique Title tags and Meta tags for each landing page. If you have just one location and would like to only target your neighborhood, then add your full address in the footer.
Finally, local phone numbers. Having a toll-free number is great, but when it comes to local SEO, make sure to include a local phone number on your site with an area code that matches your targeted area.