In a recent blog post we showed how working local SEO made for some big benefits for a custom shoe manufacturer. But there’s more to cover re: what to focus on when optimizing for local search.
The past few years have seen big changes in Local SEO on Google, and not just Google Local morphing into My Business. Google has consistently endeavored to improve the quality of search results and as a consequence they are now more informative, providing details about what people say about a particular place, the working hours, the ratings assigned by other users – all of this driven by Googles algorithm updates. The Pigeon update, in particular, has had the biggest impact on the way optimization for local search works.
To turbocharge local SEO, focus on the following:
The Penguin update introduced the use of geolocation, breaking up cities and regions into geographical entities. As a consequence, the way target keywords are used changes. Emphasis now needs to be on targeting neighborhood related searches rather than city wide search queries.
Your job: research neighborhood related search terms and incorporate them into your strategy.
To reach target audiences quickly watch out for neighborhood related groups on Facebook. Consider all social channels as optimum for content syndication.
Your job: build a network of businesses and residents from the neighborhood. If everyone in the “neighborhood” shares content (yours, theirs), visibility on Search results rises.
Limit yourself to TOP directories only. That’s the rule of thumb in this case. The old days of just building links for SEO are history. The focus is now on syndicating content and providing users with rich information. So post on quality sites rather than each and every directory.
Your job: leverage directories like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, depending on the kind of industry you cater to.
Do not ignore local news websites. They come up on search with location based search queries. Maintain a presence on these websites and continually update your press releases (they double as fresh content).
Investigate industry specific forums, aggregator sites where lots of local businesses list, and maintain a presence to continually spread the word.
The majority of local search queries originate from mobile devices. These are users on the move, in your neighborhood. If your website isn’t maxed out with mobile friendliness you are all but wasting your time.
Your job: read about the ranking factors for Local SEO clearly explained in this report from Moz. The winning combination in Local SEO includes website, Local Business, Social Media and user-generated content.
Another good resource — www.localseochecklist.org — has some nice insights into where you should concentrate while optimizing for local search.
If you are B2C marketer and have seen beneficial changes over the last couple of months, share details in the comments section below.