Earlier we wrote about local optimization in the context of country-specific sites and duplicate content filters. This time we expand on this topic and will tell you about the web promotion of a local business as a whole.
Before you start, make sure your web site is search-engine-friendly: created with a SE-friendly technology (like HTML), having robots.txt and a Sitemap in the root site directory. Next, you can get down to optimization for local search. Here are the most important steps to take.
1) Optimize your site for the targeted keywords
After you defined the right keywords for your business, include them together with the city name into your pages’ titles and Meta keywords and description tags. It would be perfect if the title that you use to name your business should include not only your company name, but also your most targeted keyword, for instance ‘Greenstone Villa – Beach Holidays Australia’.
The site pages should give all the information people may use for search in your location – area codes, street name, city, and country names. Add as much local information as you can to your site – this raises your chances of getting listed high in Google local search results.
2) Submit Your Website to Google Places
(ex-Google Local Business Center)
It’s one of the best ways to get to Google’s first results page. :) Together with the snapshot of the map with the exact location of your business, people will find out all the necessary details like contact phone number and email, business hours; they will get discount coupons (at your convenience), view the photographs and obtain other information you’ve found appropriate to include.
Besides, the local business listings are also present in mobile search results, which should urge the people passing by to visit a local office or shop.
Some tips from Google:
More advice from Google can be found at http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en-uk&answer=148047
3) Get local inbound links
Take care to get inbound links from local TLDs (top level domains), especially links containing your targeted keywords and city in their anchor text.
Where should you look for such links? Consider the following opportunities:
Only some potential resources for local promotion in the USA are listed above. We bet you will find more directories that are relevant to your business and its location and will give you more targeted local traffic (for instance, in Yahoo! Directory, Dmoz, or Google Directory, or by organic search).
4) Get the most out of customer reviews and Web references
Other people’s experience in social mentions is very important for someone who considers contacting you. Ask your customers to write a review about your business on their preferred shop site, forum or portal.
If someone wrote a negative review, don’t leave it as is. Contact them to find out why they didn’t like your service – maybe you can change their opinion. Respect has always been a winning tactic.
Here are some helping articles on where to get references for Europe and the US.
5) Local domain and local hosting
These are also very important factors. Register a domain name in your regional DNS zone: *.co.uk for UK, *.it for Italy, or even a subdomain of your targeted place – such as *.sardegna.it or *.trentino.it. Additionally, choose a hosting provider in the same region, this way search engines will consider your site as being more relevant to that region.
6) Make use of Google Webmaster Tools
If your domain is in .com, .org or any other global TLD zone, you have a possibility to choose the target audience from within your Google account by means of Webmaster Tools.
7) Involve paid search advertising
It always helps, if you have funds. Being the most efficient and inexpensive among the paid advertising opportunities, PPC campaigns can attract not just people from your city, but those who are most interested in your product or service.
8) Promote business in local social media
Research local groups in popular social networks (check global networks as well as the most popular local networks). Promotion via these groups may bring you a lot of visitors interested in your services. For more information, read the article on how to choose the best social media channel we issued earlier.
After all of the above is done, it would be great to check how you rank in the local search engines. And here the Web CEO Ranking tool can be of help – you can either check your positions on your local search engines or search for your site in the Google Local results.
SEO Companies’ Visibility Rate
Are SEO companies as good as they claim to be on their sites? Will they return the efficiency they promise? Are their skills qualified? The only way to find it out is to check how they optimize and promote their own sites.
Here we share Top 10 SEO Companies according to their search visibility rate for April 2010.
Web CEO analysts use objective evidence to rate SEO firms according to their search engine visibility. SEO companies’ visibility rate is calculated using a special formula that considers the positions of SEO companies’ sites in search engines results pages for the keywords their potential clients use, popularity of these keywords and number of competitors.
Here you can see how Top 10 SEO companies’ visibility rate has changed from February till April 2010.
Top 10 SEO Companies