The Internet is constantly getting more competitive and high, non-local organic search engine rankings are harder to achieve.
But for many businesses, especially small businesses that target their local markets, the most relevant forms of traffic come from local search.
1. Use keywords to target local areas
Targeting a local market can make Google local SEO go a long way, especially since high rankings in local search are much less competitive. Contractors targeting keyword phrases such as “general contractor” will have to compete with virtually every other English-speaking general contractor in the world, while businesses targeting “elkhart general contractor” will only have to compete with general contractors in Elkhart who happen to own a website and are actively trying to SEO optimize their websites.
2. Get listed in directories
One of the first steps toward getting local traffic is to try to get listed in all of the free local directories. There is no reason to not be listed in Google Places and Yahoo Local. Many users will go to these locations first when trying to find a local business.
3. Focus on other search engines
Most businesses try to focus their efforts on reaching high Google search engine results. And, when aiming for local targeted markets, focusing efforts on other local search engines, such as Bing (Local) Maps, can also be helpful, and is recommended. However, we continue to see that Google Local SEO tends to have the fastest and potential best return, and recommend starting there.
Another important thing that businesses might want to do is register their domain names with their current business addresses. Some believe that Google uses the address that the website is registered under as a way to rank local search results.
5. Create multiple domain names
Businesses that are offering services in more than one country might want to create domain names for each country that they operate in. Google looks at the top-level domain in order to determine whether a particular URL is relevant to search results in a particular country. This can be a good and necessary strategy for international, local businesses.
6. Remain clear on your target
Some businesses are entirely focused on a local market, while other businesses are nationwide, but wish to target a specific location. This can be difficult because the SEO efforts needed to obtain traffic from a specific area might undermine the company’s efforts to receive traffic from other locations, including internationally. Businesses must emphasize that they offer services for those in other parts of the country as well. With many offices, i.e. a franchise network, you can manage listings in a bulk fashion.
7. Claim your business
Businesses can often be listed with NAP (name, address, phone) and related information by those other than business itself. When a business discovers that it is already listed, it should try to claim the business listing and update the records appropriately.