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.