Local Search has truly arrived. Recently Google has re-branded their Local Business Center – now known as Google Places – and rumors abound that Facebook is about to get involved in “Local” in a big way.
Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local remain ‘critical’ for search visibility; however, there is increasing complexity on how to improve ranking in these 3 major “Local” search results.
Here are a few tips to achieve relevance in your local search:
- Claim your Local Listing:
- Revise your listing with the most up-do-date information, targeted keywords and geographic areas
- Post your physical address at the very least on the home page and one additional page
- If targeting multiple towns, focus the homepage on the most competitive or entire region
- Use interior pages to target any other towns
- Associate your listing with the proper categories
- This is the best way to achieve relevance using at least one default category and customize additional categories using your keywords
- Select as many specific category names as possible
- Do not abuse your Business Title
- Keyword ‘stuffing’ your business name could get you banned. Even if you see it currently working for your competitors, this method will not continue to work as Local Search continues to come to the forefront.
- Your product and service keywords in your description
- Do not repeat your category information. This could lead to a penalty.
- Reinforce your ‘theme’ in ‘good taste’ and not over saturate
- Adding photos
- Adding photos contributes to a level of completeness and makes your page friendlier to your visitors.
- Photos and videos tend to help in the rankings
- Local area code as the primary phone number
- Local numbers still reign when it comes to ranking in Local Results
- Location keyword in description
- This can help your listing ranking for that market, but do not overdo it
- Products and Services in Custom Fields
- This can have a positive effect if these are not repetitive categories – this could then become a negative
- Use for creating content for ‘specialties’
- Adding Coupons
- This adds to the completion of the listing and, by optimizing the coupon, you can reinforce your business theme
In addition to the 3 major Local Directories discussed, there are many additional important local directories; and more and more every day with the onset of the importance of Local Listings.