Four Fast Fixes for Local Search

By: Brian Horn on: March 24th, 2010 10 Comments

As Google beings to take “search” to next level (i.e. Google’s real time search), more and more people are beginning to niche to their cities or neighborhoods for certain searches.

Targeting local visitors is critical if you serve the local market (totally “obvi”). The cool thing is…it is WAY easier to rank when you add a local modifier to your search term (i.e. easier to rank for “houston financial planner” than “financial planner”).

Optimizing a website for a locally oriented business includes all the steps of on page and off page optimization along with a few tweaks and additions. The following steps will ensure that your website marks its presence in the local results.

1. Add Your City Name to the Title Tag and Description Tag. It is highly important to add the name of your local city to your original keywords and place them accordingly in the title and description tag of the web page. While crawling and indexing the website, Google will interpret the emphasis on the name of the city; then use the city name for the search engine results pages from the database.

2. Submit Your Website to Google Local Business Center (you can do it here). Google lets you submit your business listing free of cost to its local business center. You can add business details like address, area of operation, contact number and hours of operation to the listing.

All these details are available on the screen with a snapshot of a map which shows the detailed location of your business. All you have to do is add the listing in the local business center by going through a quick verification process and the visitors will find their way to your business website.

3. Build High Quality Backlinks. Link building is the most important aspect of search engine optimization. Search engines give a lot of importance to incoming links and consider it as a measure of a website’s popularity.
You can build quality backlinks by submitting your site to high PR search directories, internet yellow pages, local search engines and Google webmasters tool.

A good tip for local businesses, is is to find local directories. These are easy to find…for example, lets say you lived in Philidelphia. Just Google, “philidelphia directories” and you’ll find some. Most charge a nominal fee…like a $10-$20 one time fee.

4. Include your full address in the footer of every page. This not only adds the local keywords to every page of  your site, but puts your address right in front of all your site visitors.

Website optimization for local search is a must for small businesses with service greeted toward their local market.

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    Brian Horn, of HornDog Search Marketing, is recognized by many as the "Glazer-Kennedy Secret Weapon", because of his role in helping not only Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer with search engine optimization and social media, but also many of the top Information Marketers in the world. Brian shares SEO tips for small businesses over at at his blog,

    10 Responses

    1. Scott says:

      naming the company after the website and including the city name in the company name certainly helped come out on top of all searches related to golf lessons in grand rapids. Thanks to Dan’s interview with sevearl years ago.

    2. Charles Ra says:

      1. Add Your City Name to the Title Tag and Description Tag.
      2. Submit Your Website to Google Local Business Center
      3. Build High Quality Backlinks
      4. Include your full address in the footer of every page.
      these are accurate tips Brian
      and the link to the local biz center is useful
      thank you Brian, will be working this steps for one of my websites

    3. Rob Anspach says:

      Thanks for the tips on local search improvement- good stuff!

    4. Brian says:

      Most importantly:

      1. You must use a “land line” phone number for the listing. That number has to be proprietary to that specific area you are trying to market.

      2. The address must be genuine. This must be a real physical address hence why it is so hard get multiple cities.

      3. It’s all about citations. Superpages, yellowpages, etc… you can never have enough vertical directories linked to your site.

    5. Charles Ra says:

      having a “land line” phone number for the listing is essential. I agree.
      and google sends you a postcard to verify your real address.

    6. I’ve just started building my local presence. Too many people want to be “global” before they dominate a local market. I’m in Detroit and I’m finding that I can grow my website design company to huge numbers just by working the city. Thanks for the tips. I’m off to search for “Detroit directories” right now (golden nugget tip)!

    7. It’s sad to see so many businesses not even appearing up top in the local community they serve- its only a lack of knowledge that keeps them from being #1…

      why on earth should Pizza Hut be the first pizza result for you local area?

    8. Scott Martin says:

      All the advice above is excellent. Many thanks for the post. I will stick to my thought that, for the overwhelming majority of companies, SEO, sadly, is mostly a waste of time and money.

    9. matt haines says:

      I had dismissed Google local listings long ago because I didn’t think it was relevant to me. My business is run out of my home (photography), but I do everything on location, including when I meet with clients. I’m not set up to meet people in my home, and didn’t want random strangers stopping by unannounced. But your post made me look at the service again, and that’s when I realized: there’s an option to hide your address and just specify a geographic location. Why didn’t I do this years ago!?? So I just wanted to say thanks for the prompting.

    10. Excellent advice, as usual, Brian. Thanks!

      Amazing how few local businesses take the time to learn even these simplest of online strategies.

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