12 Important Search Variables in Local SEO
How Search Engines know You are a Local Business
This post provides you with a list of variables that help search engines determine whether or not you are a high-quality local business. These collectively need to be present to insure that your website is included in the top three local search engine indexes. If you do business locally you will also want to understand how search engines treat searches from handheld devices and mobile websites.
Fact: 74% of searches that have local intent originate on hand-held devices.
- Company Name: Include it, and make it easy for the crawler to figure out what your company name is – include Inc. or LLC, and co-locate the name with the address.
- Company Address: The company address has to be present, and has to be easily associated with the company name. The crawler can’t make assumptions about the data on a page like you can. The crawler is looking at source code – not how it is being contextually displayed on the page.
- Local phone number: The area code is used in local relevance, and is important for supporting the “near me” feature. An 800 number does not support your local positioning. If you are going to have an 800 number, make sure you display the local phone number as well.
- Proximity: The proximity of your company address to the center of the city is important. For example, if “Boston” appears in a search phrase, it’s better if your address is inside the city borders than outside. This may be obvious, but it is worth stating – your business address must be located in the region the consumer is searching in. For example, if a consumer is searching for Potato Guns Boston, and you are a potato gun manufacturer with a Florida address – you are not a local Boston-based business.
- Local business listing: The more local business listings you are included in (for your city and state) the better. This includes citations provided by the top three national business data providers, and other trusted websites such as CitySearch.com.
- Local reviews: Like it or not, having reviews of your business is a local search variable. Check this out the next time you do a local search.
- Geo-tagged media: You should create photos and videos of your products and services that can be posted to Flickr and YouTube. It’s important to tag them to a category, and geo-tag them to your city and state.
- Webmaster tools: Set your geographic location in Webmaster Tools for the three top search engines.
- References to your business: The number of documents and websites referring to your business is a search variable. This implies a local linking strategy.
- Location-based terms: The state and city name appearing in your website URL, Title Tag and Description Tag is important. Having in-bound and out-bound location-based keywords in Anchor text is valuable as well.
- Sub Domains: On the infrastructure side, having a city or state name in a sub-domain is a regional indicator (i.e. Http://Boston.YourCompany.com). However, if you create a new sub-domain, it must have content associated with it.
- Hosting: Where the website is hosted is important. Ideally, your IP address should be located in the region where you do business.
If you would like to find out more about Local SEO, and other tactics that ensure you have a solid local search strategy, send me (Mark Sprague) an email at Mark@MSprague.com or call me now at 781-862-3126.
About Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Providing comprehensive SEO services to the Boston community…
Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your search engine marketing and web sites performance by:
- Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
- Understanding your customers search behavior, and normalizing it to your content strategy.
- Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
- Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
- Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.
Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Mark Sprague, CEO
580 Lowell Street
Lexington, MA 02420