March 24, 2010
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:
- Build Brand Awareness. Optimize your website for local keywords to increase brand awareness geographically.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.