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.

Street sign in Richmond

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.

Nasim Jafarzadeh has more than 10 years of SEO experience both as an in-house and agency SEO analyst, managing more than 200 successful SEO campaigns for both small and large corporations. She has a B.S. in computer science and a master’s in computer information systems from CSULA.

See Nasim's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (12)
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12 Replies to “Quick Tips: Optimizing a Site for Local Search”

I just found your site this morning. Your article was very insightful.
Thank you

hey Nasim, you have right conversion above, having meaningful and effective local optimization tips. Thanks to your for your advice. I am sure it would work well. I want some other depth post on the same topic.

thanks nasim this is very usefull….bcz local search optimization is very helpfull for the site……..

Done all the local listings! :)

I believe put the right keywords in Title, in content and in anchor link e.g Malaysia for my case do help!

One of the best method for local search optimization is the local listing of your site into major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Google Places is the example of such.

Thansk Nasim, will read. I appreciate your help! Take care and God bless! :)

Nasim Jafarzadeh

Hi Kent, Thanks for the comment. Search Engine Land posted an article about local citation and links yesterday (http://searchengineland.com/10-unorthodox-ideas-for-local-citations-links-77468). I would encourage you to read the post. Thanks again,

Hi Nasim, thanks for the article. I am doing study on geo-targeting link building, you wrote there “obtaining inbound links preferably from relevant sites that are local and serve the same area that you are trying to target”, is there any related articles about geo-targeting link building? Or any strategies that you know coz this is very important for local SEO as well..thanks! :)

I would add that your address needs to be written exactly the same wherever you put it on the internet.

ie. . . 17 Mulberry Street is different from 17 Mulberry St.

The on-site optimization of your address needs to match your off-site optimization of Google Places, Yelp, etc. . .

Thanks Nasim
correction, at google.ca from 39-41 it went to:
7-9 for ‘seo consultant’
1-3 for ‘seo consultant vancouver’
details here http://dynamical.biz/blog/seo-content-optimization/context-social-media-influence-rankings-22.html

Nasim Jafarzadeh

Thanks for the comment Ani. Good point, I agree that we should not underestimate the power of social media outlets with regards to local search optimization.

Ani Lopez

“take every opportunity within your site” let me add: and in all social profiles / pages you may have.

When I moved from Barcelona to Vancouver, just changing locations at Linkeding, Twitter and Google profile made me rank between 3rd and 1st for “seo consultant vancouver” with no a local real address to add to my blog and very few canadian links at that time.

I still see many local business twitter accounts saying “location: the internet” and nonsense like that.



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