Searching for businesses with local qualifiers is becoming an increasing trend amongst search engine users. In fact, 4 in 5 consumers conduct local searches on search engines. Moreover, we know that mobile drives local search. A recent study conducted by Google found that 50% of mobile users that conducted a local search then visited a business from the top results within a day. Talk about a visible return on investment! Your business could certainly benefit greatly from having outstanding local search rankings and you should invest some time into making sure that you do! The question becomes, how do you optimize for local search? There are a 3 steps you’ll need to complete to rank higher in local search.

Write Locally-Relevant Content

Content is an essential part of the SEO process as a whole, but if you want to rank locally you have to write content that contains local keywords. Your content could cover local events or discuss the state of your industry within the context of your region. Simply put, you should find a way to create relevant content that allows you to place the geographic keywords you’re trying to optimize for into the title and body of the article. You can then go about distributing your content to social media to give it more of an audience reach. Within the social posts themselves you may want to consider adding local hashtags and/or geotags to help local readers find your content. Whenever you publish a new piece of content, work to actively share content from other local businesses as well. Chances are, they’ll return the favor and you’ll slowly build a local network.

Create Local Listings

It probably goes without saying that in order for you to successfully rank locally you’ll need to be listed on local directories. Yelp, Google My Business, and Bing Places for Business are three of the biggest directories that your business should definitely be on. However your listing work shouldn’t stop there. The more local listings you have the better chance you have of ranking higher in search. We’ve compiled a list of 25 local based sites and apps below that you’ll probably want to list your business on.

  1. Yahoo! Local            6. Acxiom                             11. LocalDatabase            16. Yellow Pages            21. Manta
  2. MapQuest                 7. Local                                12. ShowMeLocal             17. MojoPages                22. YellowBot
  3. Foursquare               8. Merchant Circle            13. Topix                            18. Best of the Web       23. Hotfrog
  4. Citysearch                 9. ELocal                             14. CitySquares                 19. YellowMoxie            24. Localeze
  5. SuperPages             10. EZLocal                           15. LocalPages                  20. Tupalo                      25. Factual

Keep Your Information Consistent

The most important aspect of local SEO is a trinity of information known as NAP. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. You enter your NAP into every online local listing, so it should come as no surprise to learn the incredible importance of the acronym. A lot of businesses run into problems when it comes to keeping NAP information consistent, because business information changes. It is crucial for your business to have the same exact information across every online listing. Even the smallest difference between listings could cause you to be penalized by Google. For instance, if the name of your business was Tom’s Oysters, but on one of your listings you accidentally input your name to be Toms’ Oysters, this could potentially hurt your rankings. Even if you believe your business information is correct all across the web, it’s still probably best to double check. There are a couple of sites that will locate all of your company’s listings. Moz will show you how your business appears on Google, Bing, and 15 other popular local citation sources. Yext also offers a great tool to check an even larger number of local listing directories.

It can certainly be time consuming to optimize for local search, but the results your company will see more than justifies the effort. If you don’t have the time to get your business listed or write local content, we would be more than happy to do that for you. Contact us to learn more about the SEO services we can offer your company. If you’re completely new to SEO you might also want to read our beginners guide to SEO. For more search engine optimization trick, hints, discussions, and tips be sure to return to our blog on a weekly basis for new updates.