Do you want your business to show up in Google better than your local competitiors? Experts in local search engine optimization (SEO), led by Darren Shaw, founder of Edmonton web design and SEO company White Spark, shared their best local SEO tips during a recent Twitter chat. Here are their suggestions for getting your company to the top of the search engines when customers are looking for a local provider.
How do you find great keywords for local SEO?
If you want to out-rank your local competitors, your website needs to include the phrases that locals use. Try the following to find such keywords:
- Check local newspapers and town-specific blogs for terms that the local natives prefer, such as neighborhood nicknames.
- Segment your analytics data by geography
- Use Google Webmaster Tools to see which local terms your site currently ranks for
- Use keyword tool workhorses such as Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Google Related and Google Suggest (the recommended phrases that Google shows when you start typing -- see example to right)
- Review Darren Shaw's informal draft of "Guide to Identifying Keywords with Local Intent" (zipped Microsoft Word file)
A2 I dig into geographical segmentation of existing analytics data. Lots of wonderful stuff there and search on them to verify #seochat— Alan K'necht (@aknecht) January 20, 2012
A2: what they said + don't forget WMT. Don't forget brain power...talk to some people. #seochat— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) January 20, 2012
What is the most valuable tactic you can do in a local SEO campaign for local rankings?
Links are like votes -- the more sites that link to your business, the more the search engines will view you as a top candidate to include in their results. These suggestions for getting links came up in the discussion:
- Get links from local organizations such as Better Business Bureuas and local rotary clubs. Provide information for their blogs and to local news organizations.
- Review SEER Interactive's 35 Local Link Opportunities You Missed
- Make sure your business name, address and phone number (NAP) is consistent across everywhere you are listed online. (See the handouts from NFIB's webinar on local search for more details.)
Darren elaborated on steps for identifying and correcting any inconsistencies in how your NAP is displayed online.
- Search for your business name on Factual.com. This example shows the depth of the data available.
- Check if your primary business telephone number is consistently used. If variations are present, use Local Citation Finder to find all occurences of your phone numbers.
- List those URLs that show any alternative phone numbers in a spreadsheet.
- Repeat the process to find any variations in how your street address is listed. If different addresses are listed, check Google to find which sites are showing a variation.
- Add these sites to your spreadsheet from step #3.
- Go through your spreadsheet and ask the site owners to make a change so you have the same name, address and phone number across all mentions of your business online.
Another one we send non-seo clients to is getlisted .org. A simple free route to get started. #seochat— Kevin Mullett (@kmullett) January 20, 2012
What is citation building and how does it impact Local SEO?
Your business will rank better locally if you get links to your site from niche websites and blogs that discuss your industry and specific geographic location. Examples include review sites, local newspapers and local government sites. Darren recommended the following resources:
- "One-Page Handout for Getting Easy 'Google Reviews' from Customers" from LocalVisibilitySystem.com
- "Getting Your Business Reviewed" from SmallBusinessShift.com
- "Why Citations Are Important to Your Local Business Listings" from GetListed.org
The bottom line? Get more links for your business and make sure to use a consistent business name, address and phone number wherever your company is listed online.
NFIB Resources on Local Search and Marketing:
For more help with local marketing, try these free resources from NFIB:
- Webinar handouts - Local Search: What Businesses Need to Know About Using Local Search to Drum Up Sales Now That the Yellow Pages Are Dead
- How to Get a Google Business Listing and Appear on Google Maps
- 3 Small Businesses With Great Google Places Pages
- Let Local Search and Review Sites Promote Your Business
- 15 Proven Ideas for Low-Cost, Local Advertising
- When Should Your Business Support Local Organizations?
- 4 Ways to Increase Your Website's Inbound Links
- How to Benefit from Supporting Your Local Charities