For most websites local search is important. According to Google, about 73 percent of all online activity is related to local searches. People use local search to find out about businesses in their own cities.

Local SEO matters for the following reasons:

  • Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo consider location when ranking websites.
  • People include the location (city, state, or street) when searching for businesses online.
  • Many people prefer to hire local businesses. They trust local businesses more than larger brands.

Create list of target search keywords

Local search terms a normally your target keyword + your geo-target area.

For example, if you are a web designer and want to do business in San Diego, you want to focus on the following keyword combinations:

  • San Diego web designer
  • Web designer in San Diego
  • The best San Diego web designer
  • Website designer in San Diego
  • San Diego website designer

You don’t need multiple websites for multiple locations. If you want your website to rank for 5 neighboring cities, you are fine with one website. It is important to create location specific pages.

Target each location

If you are a web designer and you are targeting the five largest cities in San Diego County, CA, you need the following pages:

  • San Diego Web Designer
  • Chula Vista Web Designer
  • Escondido Web Designer
  • Oceanside Web Designer
  • Carlsbad Web Designer

Create a web page for each market

The next step is to create a page for each of your target market areas. Nothing will happen unless you create content that is optimized for each geo-target area.

Optimize each web page

Each web page should be optimized the following way:

  • The URL of the page should be domain.com/san-diego-web-designer
  • Your page title should be (example, 1) “San Diego Web Designer.”
  • Start your meta description with “San Diego Web Designer.”
  • Your H1, H2, or H3 header should include “San Diego Web Designer.”
  • The first paragraph of your content should include “San Diego Web Designer.”
  • Your page content should also include “San Diego Web Designer” 3-5 times.
  • Your images should have the alt tag “San Diego Web Designer.”
  • There should be at least one link with an anchor text of “San Diego Web Designer.”

Avoid keyword stuffing

You can get your site penalized by keyword stuffing. There is such a thing as an over optimized web page. If you have a 500-word article, don’t include your target keyword 10 times.

Use social media

Create at least a couple of social media accounts. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to make connections with people who might link to your site. The key to social media marketing is to stay active. It is not enough to create an account. You have to stay active.

Include a “Contact” page

Your contact page should have your main physical address. Include your complete address. Also, include Google map with your address. Also, include driving directions.

Get local links

Are you networking with local businesses? If you are not you should be. Ask them to link to your website from their websites.

Comment on local blogs

When you comment on a blog you might get a link back to your own site. Search for blogs in “your target city + blog.”

Submit to directories

List your website in local directories. Your description should include the cities you are serving. Add photos if you can. Make sure the photos include the right tags.

Search for local directories using keywords such as “your target city + directory.”

Mobile optimize your website

Your customers are searching for your on a mobile device. Your website must be mobile optimized for best local SEO results.

Create multiple physical locations

If you want to improve your local SEO rankings, get a real address. Your headquarters might be in San Diego, CA, but you could get several more UPS boxes in additional cities. List each address on each corresponding web page.

You can have a Google local listing for each address. Google allows you to have a listing for each physical location. Once you have multiple physical locations, you can outrank your competition.

Use a sitemap

Use Google Webmaster Tools to submit a sitemap.

 

photo credit: Aged Come In We’re Open