4 Local Search Engine Optimization Keys – It Is Not Simply a Game For the Mom and Pops

Posted on June 1, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

Since the beginning of search engine optimization and businesses trying to rank for specific keywords on the major search engines, there has been local opportunity. Through the years, the search engines have made it easier to target localized markets and capture traffic that is searching for information relevant to a very specific area. This post will serve as a primer for those looking to get use of local search engine optimization in order to target a localized group of customers.

The first thought about local SEO was that those who could receive the greatest benefit were local independent shops, and that remains true, but local locations of national brands can also benefit a great deal. National brands cannot leverage the local image to the degree that local independent businesses can because of their national name and backing, but they can use both to their advantage. National brands can use the name recognition of the company to assist both in online searches that web users make and their standard marketing efforts, then they can customize what they do. Local independent companies can rely more heavily on their sole connection to the local community. In this process, there are several keys to optimizing their sites for a local market:

Localize Offerings – For national brands and for local businesses alike, they can tailor what it is they offer to the local community, making what they do unique to their competition and unique to the area. This is easier for local independent businesses like auto repair shops or clothing stores that are rooted in the community and have that story to tell. But, the national brands with local locations can tailor what they call products for example and how they set up their space and interact with the community to drive this connection home.

Relevant Location Mentions – After Penguin, businesses want to include mentions of their address details, specifically town, state, and zip code in the various meta tags and content as well as the keywords, but doing so naturally. This will enable the search engine robots to see the information when they crawl the pages and can establish the relevance of the location to the website and the other keyword mentions that were used. When doing this, businesses do not want to use the exact keyword or phrase multiple times, but instead vary it and write about the subject matter so natural mentions of the words occur, avoiding strict repetitive mentions of the keywords and location.

Directories & Mobile Internet – Mobile sites offer a big advantage for companies as the amount that people are searching on their mobile devices is increasing. Internet users on the go can use mobile sites much easier than traditional websites and this broadens the appeal for companies looking to widen their online audience. Online directories and features like Google Places are important for businesses to have an account in order the most optimized search results.

Google Webmaster Tools – Using these tools will allow businesses to cater to a specific audience internationally. If a business wants to market themselves to one country or region, they can do that. This takes the focus out of the local community, but this will make sense for some businesses.

Local search is a trend that is only going to pick up more as mobile device adoption increases and people continue to use the devices for their web searching needs. The local market can support many different businesses and companies that push themselves online targeting those searching for their business type may surprise themselves with the response they get.


About the Author: I operate insightQuote, Inc., an agency that provides businesses with a means to effectively get quotes for a range of business services and head SEOCompanies.com, a site that provides a search tool for finding SEO companies matched to searcher needs. I write mostly on SEO topics and varying subjects relevant to the internet and online marketing. Note: Picture is a free image from Microsoft.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.

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