August 12, 2010
Local SEO (search engine optimization) can actually help with your national reach if you are trying to expand beyond your local online footprint. Local SEO involves improving your local footprint by pumping up your information on different local and community sites.
If you have enough of these local listings, you may even be able to start appearing on some regional and national searches too. Here are a few local SEO tactics you can use to help.
This is the must-do for anyone doing local SEO for their business, store, or restaurant. As more people give up Yellow Pages and start searching online, it is a good idea to promote your Google Local listing. For one thing, it is free, not like the Yellow Pages listings. (Plus, there can be two, three, or even four Yellow books in your city, which can be a complete waste of money.)
Next, the more information you include, the better. You can link back to your website, list the different credit cards you accept, include a map to your place, and quickly update your information if you move, rather than waiting for a new Yellow Pages. By starting with Google Local, you are letting Google know you are an official business and one that should be included in their search engine rankings.
User-generated content is the new big thing when it comes to online credibility, which means review sites are great for local SEO. On sites like Yelp and UrbanSpoon, users can leave reviews of their favorite restaurants and bars. Yelp also offers reviews of mechanics, doctors, and dentists.
Find your business on these different sites, and customize the listings, as you did for your Google Local listing. Include every piece of information you can, and then monitor them every couple of weeks to see what people are saying about you. If someone leaves you a bad review, do not fight back, get into an argument, or drop the hammer on them. Respond politely, address the problem, tell them you will fix it, and offer something in exchange. Not only will this help your local SEO, it will possibly win back a dissatisfied customer, and help others see that you take care of your customer.
Location-based social networks
Sites like Foursquare and Gowalla are gaining a lot of users. The smart restaurants and retail stores are jumping on the bandwagon and participating in these networks. It helps local SEO, because they attract local visitors, but also thanks to the backlinks from the sites to the restaurant’s website. Remember, backlinks are key in local SEO and national SEO, so the more you can create, the better.
A microsite is a single page that has been optimized for local SEO, and points back to your regular website. This is an excellent strategy for multi-site businesses, because you can purchase domains geared specifically for the different cities you have sites in. Buy domain names with your city’s name and best keywords — TopekaDogGrooming.com or DallasCoffeeShop — and create a single page for that domain. Use the same keywords in the URL throughout the page, and then link it back to your main site. While this will help local SEO for each microsite, this can have a huge impact on your national SEO as well.
One of the most important local SEO strategies is a blog. Since search engines love websites that are updated with new content on a regular basis (not just changing old content), a blog is a great way to supercharge your local SEO efforts. Plus, if you are blogging about national issues or a national industry, your blog could eventually break into the first page results for your particular niche. What will ultimately help is by pointing backlinks from these other tactics back to your blog. Be sure to incorporate your blog into your main website so you can take full advantage of all the local SEO tools we have described here.
With 20 years in marketing, advertising and 10 years in internet marketing, Rostin Ventures has refined the SEM SEO Expert Formula.
www.rostinventures.com offers local online marketing and SEO services that are affordable and easy to access and are combined to build the formula that drives search engine ranking through Social Media Optimization, Online Reputation Management, Social Marketing and web 2.0 communities and resources.