Previously, I have already touched upon tools that help in geo-targeting and compared their effectiveness. All of them are beyond your on-site optimization efforts:
- Setting geographic target with Webmaster Tools;
- Server location;
- A country specific top level domain;
- + Backlinks from local websites.
While the above list is a must if you want search engine to get your geo-targeting efforts right, some important on-site optimization should not be missed either (that will both ensure your site better local search rankings and generate local backlinks):
- Include your location information on visible to crawlers (even better: prominent and powerful) pages.
- Use <address></address> tag to make it even more evident what your business location is.
- Consider optimizing some of your page titles (and other important to SEO page elements: URLs and internal anchor text) for your city/state.
- Make sure to include (and probably optimize for) your zip code / Post Office Box address.
- Make sure to add your local phone number (including area code) to your contact details and home page.
- Don’t forget to tailor other geo-specific details to the current geographic version format: pricing in local currency, working hours based on local standards and time zone, dates in the locally understandable format (e.g. YYYY/MM/DD vs Russian DD/MM/YY), etc.
- Run country-specific promotions (for local holidays and days off);
- Optimize for local spelling (e.g. British English vs American English vs Australian English) to get traffic from local search referrals;
- Try your hand at local link bait: cover topics that are specifically interesting to the nation you are targeting (add national facts, humor and proverbs specific to the country).