How To: Local SEO
The first in a series of how to articles; we’re going to hyper focus and talk about Local Search Engine Optimization. We’re going to give you a step-by-step breakdown to ranking highly on local searches. Print and check off each item as you complete it. We’re going to use ourselves, Oak City Tech, a local webdesign/seo company based out of Raleigh/Durham, NC for any examples below. Be sure to check back from time to time as we will update this post when appropriate.
Page Last Updated: Nov 17, 2016
Originally Published: Jan 2, 2015
- Make sure you’re using a local area code for your primary phone number. (protip: this is the most important aspect of local SEO)
- Get a physical address in the city.
- Include your product or service keyword in your business title. (if possible)
- Update your business information with the secretary of state. Make sure the name, address, and phone match your website.
- Make sure there you don’t have more than one Google Business Page and delete the extras if you do.
Optimize Your Website
- Include the City and State in the title of all pages.
- Include the City and State in your H1/H2 Tags, especially on the homepage.
- Make your site load as quickly as possible. (protip: if using WordPress speed up your website and decrease load time with the caching plugin or use CloudFlare)
- Optimize your titles, meta descriptions, and URLs to make them keyword rich and clickable, giving you a high organic click through rate.
Setup Your Google Business Page
- Make sure that your business is listed in the correct category.
- Make sure your Name, Address, and Phone Number on your website match those on your Google Business Page.
- Have the business owner verify the Google Business Page.
- Fill out your Google Business Page completely. Try to get the numerical percentage as close to 100% as possible.
- Include your product or service keyword and your city name in the description of your Google Business Page.
Repeat these steps for Yahoo Local, Bing Local, YP.com, and SuperPages.com
Content & Multimedia
- Write as much as you can about your industry and post articles to your blog. Write for people, not search engines. Don’t keyword spam; write the article in such a way that you, a human, would enjoy reading it. (protip: Minimum: one article/blog post per week.)
- Create audio and video content to post on your website and video sharing sites like Youtube. It’s 2016, folks really like video.
- Include the name of your city in your domain name. (if possible)
- Include the name of your product or service in your domain name. (if possible)
- Register your domain name several years into the future.
- Make sure your WHOIS information is public and that the name, address, and phone match that on your website.
Blogs & Newspaper Articles
- Put a blog section on the homepage of your website.
- Put out a press release. (protip: pay someone to syndicate it in print.)
- Contact local blogs and newspapers and ask them to interview you.
- Add as many pictures as you can to your Google Business Page.
- Google your business. Make sure your Name, Address, Phone and other info is correct on any site you see. Claim your profile and correct it if not. (protip: Do this, seriously.)
- Update your information with local data aggregators. (Localeze, Acxiom, Factual, others)
- Get as many native reviews on your Google Business page as you can.
- Get reviews on as many different 3rd party review sites as you can.
- Make extra effort to seek out your customers who already use sites like Yelp and Google, and ask them to leave you a review. (protip: Reviewers who have many reviews are more authoritative in the eyes of a search engine).
- Ask your customers to mention the specific product or service they purchased in addition to the city they live in within in their review.
- Ask for reviews consistently over time, not in bursts. Make it a habit.(protip: Search engines don’t like a lot of reviews to show up overnight because they look fraudulent.)
- Open a YouTube and/or Flickr account and upload geotagged photos and videos. Be sure to link the account to your business’ website.
- Open a Facebook business page, and make sure your Name, Address, and Phone number match your website.
- Setup a Twitter account and mention your name, your city, and your product or service keyword in your bio.
- Setup your blog to automatically post to Facebook and Twitter. (protip: use IFTTT.com to do this for free.)
- Add Social Media buttons to your website and/or blog posts.
Creating high quality and high value content on your website or blog is the best way to have a strong link building campaign. People will share your website across their Social Media platforms or in simple conversation if they feel it was of high interest to them.
- Build links to your domain from websites about your city or other places in your city. (ex. review sites, city guides, city business directories, your church’s website, etc.)
- Build links to your domain from websites about your industry. (local or not)
- Build links with your product or service name and your location in the anchor text. (e.g., “Oak City Tech, Raleigh, NC web design”)