Photo courtesy of La Citta Vita
Local businesses can benefit from search engine optimization (SEO), and especially from geo-specific optimization.
For example, “assisted living in Scottsdale” will be less competitive than simply “assisted living” or “senior living.” If you provide services to a specific area, these tips will be useful to you.
Make sure your address is on every page in text format
Before you start, check to make sure your physical address and phone number is on every page in text format, not as an image. This makes it easy for the search engines to develop relevance to your local area for each of the topics you discuss. The easiest place to do this is in the footer, although you may find that in very competitive situations, putting this information at the top of a sidebar might work better for you.
Get involved in your local online community
Participate on local websites and forums. This continues to show Google the relevance of your business to a specific area, especially if you can use one of your local search keyword phrases and link it to a particular page of your website.
Claim your listing on Google Places and other local directories
Getting listed on directories like Google Places is free, and easy to do. Simply go to GetListed.org and follow their instructions.
- Make sure your information is accurate and matches the information on your website.
- Invite happy customers to add reviews to your Google Places listing and YELP.
Get involved in your offline community
Get active in your local area by participating in local charitable events and community campaigns. Post information about these on your website and blog about your participation. You can also write press releases about these events and gain some newspaper or radio coverage. All your online posting about local events strengthens your relevance to the local area in the search engines.
Incentivize positive reviews
Anyone who uses the web to find local services is also likely to look up reviews to determine which company to choose. Create an incentive for your happy customers to write a short review for you on Google Places. Then add some to Yelp.
Show off your expertise – create a meetup or user group
Become a frequent speaker at events around town, or orgainze your own event. Explore the kinds of events that businesses are creating on meetup.com and consider what type of event would be good for you to showcase your expertise. This is usually not a selling time… it’s a give away great information time. And be sure to tell them they can get more information about your specific topic at a specific page on your website.
Trade links with other non-competing local businesses
Ask other local business to link to your website in return for you linking to them. Be smart about this, and ask them to use your keyword phrase as the text for your link. Or better yet, provide a little snip of code that their webmaster can simply copy and paste into their website.