Most people have heard the saying, “If you want to be a fisherman, you have to go where the fish are.” This age old saying also translates to local businesses. Businesses that serve customers in specific geographic regions must have a local search presence in today’s modern business environment. Unfortunately, many businesses do not concern themselves with where they rank in different geo-specific search queries.
There are simply far more link building and SEO opportunities for businesses that think on a local and more granular level. For instance, if you have a construction company that services central Florida, you will yield far better results by geo-targeting all of the cities within central Florida, rather than trying to rank and be found in Orlando alone, because smaller locales have less competition and it also allows you to cast a wider net.
The Internet is full of conflicting advice when it comes to the topic of local search. So, let’s take a look at three ways that are guaranteed to have your business ranking for geo-specific search queries and maximizing its exposure in no time at all.
The Power of Citations
If you have dabbled in local search for any amount of time, you have likely heard the term “citation” used frequently in discussions about optimizing sites for Google Maps. Like the name suggests, a citation is simply a citing or mention of your business on a webpage. Citations help your business build trust with Google, which is a critical factor in the Google Maps ranking algorithm.
While citations with links are extremely valuable, a good citation does not have to include a link. The best citations come from trusted websites, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Internet Yellow Pages, and other reputable local business directories.
So, examine your competitors Google Maps Local Business Listings and similar businesses in other cities. Take a look at the Details area and identify who is supplying Google Maps with the information. Also, examine the Web Pages area and view the citations Google found for the businesses to get ideas on where to list your own citations.
Go Local with Local Domains
When done correctly, using popular local keywords to target your local market will quickly boost your website to the front page of Google’s rankings. Use the Google Keyword Tool to choose a domain based upon a popular local keyword phrase and use it for your website, secondary blog, or simply a subdomain.
Purists SEOs often do not consider the overwhelming importance of conversion factors when making recommendations to clients. However, users read URLs in the search engine results, and they directly impact the number of people that click through to a site. If you live in Texas and you are in the market for a used car, you would be far more likely to click on a site that reads “texasusedcars.com” than you would a site with a “usedcars.com” domain.
Local domains also improve your link building campaigns. Other sites in the same country, state, or city are much more likely to link to your website if you have a local domain, and they will especially be more interested in receiving links from you as well. After all, they are in need of local links also. Furthermore, many local directories will only accept sites with local domain names.
Local SEO does not always have to revolve around the technical aspects of SEO. Your business can benefit from active community participation as well. In addition to the added publicity and gesture of goodwill, your business will benefit from more links to your website and local citations, boosting its rankings in geo-specific search queries.
Post details about the event on your business website and social media pages to ensure the link love. If you have a few dollars in your advertising budget, create a press release for serious link exposure.
These activities produce a greater number of links from a wide variety of sources, making the investment well worth it. Plus, you benefit from being an active part of your community as well as gaining links for your search engine exposure. Just remember to spread the link juice as much as possible by linking between your event page and your home page, linking to social media pages, and linking to important profile sites, such as your Google+ Local Business Page, during the process.