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