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March 24, 2010

How to Optimize your Website for Local Search

As the search engines take “search” to next level, more and more people are beginning to narrow down their searches to their cities or neighborhoods. This is because of the rising need among visitors to know who they are dealing with. They want to personally visit your business location. Thus, targeting local visitors along with global visitors does help your website get the best of both worlds.

3 Reasons to Optimize for Local Search:

  1. Build Brand Awareness. Optimize your website for local keywords to increase brand awareness geographically.
  2. Leverage Trust. If local visitors trust your brand, this can translate on to the web and capture the attention of global visitors. This superiority will set your website apart from your competitors.
  3. Increase ROI. A recent survey shows that, local seo tends to convert more often, is cost effective and leads to increased ROI.

How to Optimize your Website for Local Search?

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 Meta Tags. It is highly important to add the name of your local city to your original keywords and place them accordingly in the title, keyword tag and description tag of the web page. While crawling and indexing the website, the searchbots interpret the emphasis on the name of the city; then use the city name for the search engine results pages from the database.
  2. Use Other Localized Metadata Available. There are various other Meta Tags present in HTML which favor local website optimization. Some of them are present under the Meta name as ‘country’, ‘geo position’ or ‘ICMB’. Meta Name – country can be used to input the name of the country where your target visitors reside. Meta Name – geo position or ICMB can be used to input the latitude and longitude coordinates of your business city. Every country has its own unique ICMB code. These details give the search engines more favorable data to rank well locally.
  3. Submit Your Website to Google Local Business Center. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Select the Correct Service Provider. If your business is based in UK and your domain (.com) is hosted with a service provider whose servers are based in its Australian data centers, then chances of your website ranking well in Australia are more. This is because; the search engine will interpret your website to be an Australian website making it harder to rank well in UK search engines (.co.uk). Thus, hosting your website in the country where most of your customers live is a practical decision.

Website optimization for local search is a must for websites with service based businesses to increase lead generation, sales and ROI.


Debbie A. Everson is the CEO of SearchMar.com, experienced SEO Consultants and Search Engine Optimization Agency to over 2,000 small businesses. Learn about search engine marketing, paid search advertising, social media, and email marketing. Read my SEO Blog for hints and tips. Follow me on Twitter @searchmar. Call 1.866.885.6263 to speak to one of our SEO Consultants and receive your free consultation.

11 Responses to “How to Optimize your Website for Local Search

    avatar SEO & PPC says:

    Obviously everybody that has a business is more than happy to get local customers. But there is no way the crawlers will know where you’re located unless you have actual data with this information on your website. That’s the task, now let’s see how we can accomplish it.

    hi,
    Can you please elaborate on “building high quality Backlinks through google webmaster tools”.

    avatar Web Designer says:

    •Select the Correct Service Provider. If your business is based in UK and your domain (.com) is hosted with a service provider whose servers are based in its Australian data centers, then chances of your website ranking well in Australia are more. This is because; the search engine will interpret your website to be an Australian website making it harder to rank well in UK search engines (.co.uk). Thus, hosting your website in the country where most of your customers live is a practical decision.

    I have written about this subject, tentatively I must admit, because although localized search has already arrived, it is still not a service that smartphone users I know find of that much value – yet.

    I do agree with the experts in the industry that smartphones will not only continue to cause seismic shifts in the downgrading value of the desktop and will one day become “the instrument of social access”.

    However, this has to be considered in context. Let’s assume you own a bakery in Marylebone, London. It makes some sense to include your GPS position (ICBM) code in your website by adding the lat/long to help search for “German Bakery within 1 mile of central London”.

    But, for me, do people satnav their way to the offices of web designers in Bangkok? Surely not.

    The other anomaly is that the search results that appear in Google Maps differ from those returned on an Android phone, especially if GPS finds you already in Bangkok this suffix is rendered redundant.

    If this really is a smartphone revolution in the making, not many people are talking about it right now. And SEOs like me still fail to convince that by addiing your site to Google Maps and the Yellow Pages will have much impact on a client’s business.

    Is it that the technology is not quite in place, or am I missing something?

    Ref: One site I found for London bakeries may be useful: batchgeocode.com/lookup/.

    avatar Alfred says:

    Kenya safari & Adventure camping

    avatar Jerrick says:

    Choose a country domain name with the specific country. Make them feel you are from local. Create a contact page maybe in your website like subpage or go with the .tel . All you need to show your full and complete way to contact you like address, tel, fax and some simple introduction .

    optimising your images correctly will stand you in good stead i.e local keywords like web design lancaster in the alt tags, title tags, and if you can try and get the keyword in the image link address even though this doesn’t particularly have seo value but it does give abit more authourity to your alt tags

    avatar Dotzoo Apps says:

    Good information about Optimize our Website for Local Search. This content is useful for everyone………..

    avatar Harekrishna says:

    Submitting a website to Google local business place and high quality of back links are the most important factors.

    avatar GTE Digital says:

    We had a problem due to our hosting being outside our country of business, the only way around this was to alter the localized metadata in website page headers which worked perfectly.

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