Local SEO Best Practices
Getting your business into local search results…
Setting up your website to take advantage of consumers searching for local products and services requires several discrete tasks when combined they will put you in the best position to appear in localized search results and rank highly. These tasks include:
- Registering your business with Google’s, Bing’s and Yahoo’s local search services.
- Registering your business with the top business data providers.
- Registering your business with local hubs and local search portals.
- Registering with vertical search services and directories
- Marking up your webpage using all the important regional indicators.
- Adding Geo-tags to the webpage source code.
- Submitting a XML-geo site map to Google.
- Developing and distributing Geo-tagged content.
Register with Local Search Engine Services
- Google Local Business Center, now called Google Places is a free service.
- Yahoo has a similar service called Yahoo Local and you should register the business with them as well.
- Microsoft’s version is called Bing Local, and is a Business Search index.
These are the big three of local search, and you have to be registered with them to be included in their local search indexes.
Register with Local Business Data Providers
These two companies aggregate business listings and provide most of the local business information to search engines and other local portals. Check to see if you are in them – if not, register your company. If you are in their databases make sure that the information is correct, and consistently presented across all data sources.
Tip: Make sure you classify your company in the right business category. Category is an important variable in local search.
Register with Local Portals and Directories
It’s widely believed that Google uses the number of times your business is named as one of the search relevancy variables. For this reason you should register your firm with these three types of local business websites.
HyperLocal Search Engines:
Yellow Pages and Directories:
Here are six, there are dozens of others available as well.
- Ask.com (business search)
Regional organizations include:
- Chamber of commerce
- State business organizations
Indicators that You are a Regional Business
There are twelve local variables that search engines use to indicate that you are a local business.
There are variables that can have a negative impact on your local search rankings. They may be obvious from the preceding “twelve local variables” article, but are worth calling out.
- An 800 phone number with no local area code.
- Multiple addresses on single page.
- A PO Box number with no street address.
- Poor reviews
HTML Support for Local Search
There are three important tags that should be declared in your website source code. These are the:
- Geo Place Name
- Geo Region
- Geo Position
The Place Name tag is for city, county, state and province information. Here is an example of the place name tag:
<META CONTENT=”Lexington, MA “>
The Region tag is used to display country code, state, province or other sub-region abbreviations that are defined in the ISO 3166 specification. Here is an example of the region tag:
The Position tag is used to define the latitude and longitude of your business. The tag for your new housing development looks like this:
<META CONTENT=”42.4472222; 71.225“>
Open Graph Protocol Location Tags
If you have a Facebook presence, you can mark up your website using the Open Graph Protocol which will be important when Facebook deploys their Facebook Places API. Part of this protocol deals with Location and Contact Information. You will want to add these tags to your website source code to aid in your local search strategy.
More about other SEO Topics
Find Out More
If you are interested in finding out more about Local SEO and Search Technologies send me (Mark Sprague) an email at: Mark@MSprague.com, or call me now at: 781-862-3126
If you are interested in developing a custom SEO Road map for your business, please get in touch to discuss your needs.
About Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Providing comprehensive Local 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 websites 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