Optimizing for local search

Local Search Optimization
Local Search Optimization

A couple of weeks back, I was asked on a private forum some questions about optimizing for local search and because I know some of you are finding this subject interesting, I decided to write a short article about it.

You will find below some important local search ranking factors that you should be aware of in order to improve you local search rankings.

1. Citations

One of the most important local search ranking factor is to have citations from major data providers or Internet Yellow Pages portals. Citations are references around the web which contain business name, address, phone number, website and they are displayed under the “Web pages” tab inside a local business listing.

To discover your citations or research your competitor’s citation you can use Google Maps Webpages Importer available in Advanced Link Manager.

2. Location as keywords

The location is like any other keyword and you should use the name of the city or suburb to optimize the page titles, headers, body copy, anchor texts etc. As any other keyword is good to use it repeatedly, but not too many times.

Write your location also in the anchor text of your inbound links (the ones you can control) and in the local business listing description.

3. Display business information on your website

On your contact page, make sure you have included the full address and phone number of your business.

IP Address

Not really a ranking factor, but and important element in returning results by Google is the IP address of the user.

Because search engines strive to return personalized results for queries, they take user’s IP address into consideration when showing results. For example, when a user searches for “pizza” in Google, the user will see a 7-pack or 3-pack local results, without entering any location.

However, if  Google is not able to return any results using the IP, then it will ask for a location, just like in the screen shot below.

Local Search Location

Please add your comments below and let me know if, in your experience, you noticed any other important local search ranking factors.

Author: Eugen Oprea

Eugen is an Online Marketing Strategist passionate about SEO, Web Analytics and Social Media. You can check his tweets, or connect on EugenOprea.com.

7 thoughts on “Optimizing for local search”

    1. Hi Todd,

      Advanced Web Ranking can track your website rankings in Google Maps or other local search engines. Just go to the Tools menu and select the Local Search Engines Manager menu.

      In the Local Search Engines Manager add your preferred location. This will create a custom local search engine, which can be found in the Project -> Project Settings menu, Search Engines tab. Now, just search for “local” and you will find the Google and Yahoo Local search engine for your city. Add the search engine you want and use it to track you website rankings.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  1. What is the best way to optimize for local search within AWR? For keywords, is it best to have the city within the keywords we are searching. For example:

    yard service
    cityname yard service
    yard service cityname

    Is there a way to just have the search act as if it is in that particular city? Or is it best to just go about it the way I outlined above? Besides adding the local search engines like you stated which contain yellow pages, etc., what is the best way to mimic local search for google, yahoo and bing.

    Thanks!

  2. I am really interested in optimizing locally ( few locations: cities) for several keywords but don’t know how to do it. Below is some keyword example if my business is located in Seattle:

    1.airport taxi seattle
    2.seattle taxi
    3.taxi tacoma
    4.taxi seatac

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