Think global, rank local – Local SEO

How to optimize your business’ web sites for local search

According to SCORE, the are 29.6 million small businesses in the United States alone.  Nielsen researchers state that over 80% of customers and small business owners use the Internet to find information about local businesses.

Easy to see why a SEO effort for local search pays off, but how to do it?

Lucky for you, young grasshopper that the old sensei knows some easy ways to optimize sites and content to attract local customers.

1. When seeing a professional, contact a local SEO agency

Remember that local SEO is part of a bigger, sitewide strategy of search engine optimization, so if you are overwhelmed by all this, see if there is someone in your area to help you.

In local SEO, it is better to go with a local provider, as he will know the local culture and interests of the internet users in the area and can help you target the local crowd more efficiently.

There are many SEO specialists offering help for businesses in their vicinity, such as San Diego SEO, and others, depending on your location.

Knowing your keywords is half the battle, also in local SEO.

2. Claim your business on local search
It’s as simple as logging into Google PlacesBing Local and Yahoo Local and walking through the verification steps which include a phone call or post card to verify your address.

3. Google+ pages

As the researchers at BrightEdge and others have pointed out, Google has started to integrate Google+ pages into the search results. So go and claim your account at Google+, then fill in all the information about your business.

4. Upload Pictures of your business

On the local listings, users are also provided with pictures of your business. To make sure that they see some good pictures, upload your own. These will represent your business so make sure they are at least decent. Think about contacting a professional photographer to make pictures, if necessary.

5. Control information on other sites
Aggregators for local listings search the internet to find pictures, reviews and any information they can on your company. Submit your info to services like Localeze & infoUSA yourself to make sure it is correct.

6. Ask for reviews

On your contact form thank you page, on invoices, on email communications, make a point to say “Hey we’d love it if you gave our business a review on Google/Bing/Yahoo” . Authentic user reviews serve to make your business more creditable and also add to your business’ internet profile.

7. Add your local phone number

On your website, be sure to publish your local phone number, not 800, in plain text (not in an image).

8. Have a full mailing address on all pages of your website.
Your address should be on all pages of your website, to make this information visible to the search engines and add more weight to your geographic location.

9. Give each location its own landing page

Local search is all about that – location, location, location. If you have more than one location, re-enforce this point to the search engines by giving each its own page.

» Guest post by Rankmywebsite.net, a trusted authority on Local SEO