In November of 2010, Google integrated local businesses into the search results for many queries. Below is an example of an integrated search results page for “limousine service” in Los Angeles. You immediately notice that there are different types of information on this page.
Maps, reviews, sponsored ads, a local 7-pack (A, B, C, D, E, etc.) and organic listings occupy this page, which makes getting prime real estate on it is more important than ever. This is where a tight Local SEO strategy becomes incredibly important. Here are 5 (often overlooked) Local SEO tips that can shape up your local SEO strategy and improve your local online visibility.
Claim Your Listings
Claim your listings on multiple search engines, including Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Maps, Yelp and any other legitimate online local business directories you can find. This is probably the most obvious tip, but it’s surprising how many businesses neglect to do it. Additionally, be sure to clean up your listings so that there aren’t multiple results showing up at different addresses.
Example of a local business that should be claimed
Example of a duplicate listing – Before
Example of a duplicate listing – After
2. Sign Up For Google Products & Local Product Availability
According to a study by Forrester, 46% of all in-store purchases were influenced by online research, a staggering fact if you consider that 96% of all purchases occur in-store. This data suggests that online shoppers understand how to use the Internet to find local inventory. Therefore, it’s imperative to submit your business’ inventory to Google Products, which now has the ability to tell users if a particular product is in stock at a nearby retailer.
3. Be Consistent With Your Brand Name
Nothing confuses customers like a brand with multiple variations of its name. Make sure your business name is the same on all press releases and search result pages. Also, make sure that you are listing the same contact information, across all the various online local business directories.
4. Get a KML Sitemap
A KML is a type of file format that displays geographic data in Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile and Google Earth. Use a KML Generator so you can quickly and efficiently transfer your company data to Google’s server. By securing a solid listing on the most used search engine in the world, you will notice a considerable difference in traffic to your website. For more information on KML sitemaps, visit Google’s information page.
5. Build Geographic Back Links
Backlinks help in traditional SEO and Local SEO, alike. With Local SEO, however, you want to make sure you are using geographic backlinks. This is done by including your company’s geographic location in the link’s anchor text. For example, “Santa Monica School of Dance and Music” is better than simply “Dance Studio.”
Just like traditional SEO, ranking with Local SEO takes time, patience and attention. Consider combining your traditional SEO marketing strategy to have a Local SEO component, by building backlinks with geographic location in the anchor text. All of these tips will help search engines understand your business and its location, which will improve your company’s online local visibility, traffic and overall bottom-line.
Brian Flores is the SEO for InMotion Hosting, one of the top providers of virtual private servers in the US. He spends a good part of his time collaborating with an awesome team of writers to post useful web design and development tutorials on WebHostingHelpGuy. You can follow him on Twitter @WHHG_InMotion or @BrianAFlores