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Most web professionals are quite familiar with global search. Search marketing for global search can be boiled down to a two part formula: anchor text + authority.
Local search is different. I’ve been dabbling in local search for a few months now, trying to get my feet wet for the supposedly iminent arrival of mobile search domination. In the process I’ve learned three main things.
1. Anchor Text + Authority Matters, But Less
My experiences with local search indicates that when it comes to geographical specific search, anchor text and site authority (including age) still matter. However, I’ve also come to the conclusion that you can’t rely exclusively on these two factors.
A local site can be kicking butt in terms of it’s overall backlink portfolio but still losing the ranking battle. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon traditional link building techniques. If you can win the authority + anchor text battle, it could just be the tie-breaker in an otherwise close match. However, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got a few other orders of business taken care of.
2. Local Groupings
I’ve found that one of the most important things you can do in local search is to study which sites your competitors have local link groupings. A local link grouping would be a page on the Internet where all or most of your competitors get incoming links from. If you’re fighting from behind against well-aged, well-positioned competitors, a fundamental task of local search is to “tie the ballgame” so to speak, by getting your the web site bundled into local link groupings.
Let’s say that you are competing for the region “Point Pleasant rentals NJ.” Your first task is to carefully study the backlinks of the all the sites on the front page of Google. Identify the backlinks that your competitors have in common. Agressively try to get links on all the same pages. Even consider creating new “Point Pleasant NJ” groupings by making Hubpages or Squidoo pages. Make sure to cluster together the sites that are normally clustered together, but also sprinkle your site into the mix.
3. Address Citations
When it comes to local search, one of the most important things you can do is to build the quantity of references around the web which contain some or all of the following information:
A – Business Name
B – Business Address
C – Business Phone
D – Business Website
Wherever you have access to the html code, it can also help to bracket your business address with the [address] [/address] tag. Each citation that you get around the web on reputable websites counts in favor of your legitimate membership in that geo-location. The sites with the most citations associated with a location are going to be considered to be the most important web sites for that location.
To dominate local search I would suggest first leveling the playing field (via Groupings and Citations). Once you’ve done this, you can then use your established skill in authority + anchor text development for getting the upperhand.
Recommend Resources On Local Search
Ryan Caldwell is currently working with friends to build a fun and useful guide of our favorite childhood vacation place: the Jersey Shore. He is also available for local search consulting work via his consulting website.