While local search and general organic search have their similarities, it is also important to understand that they are primarily unique from one another. It is possible to do well at one, while not doing well in the other, and vice versa. The following are a few keys to doing well in local search. Do them well and chances are you will dominate for your local keywords.
Claim you Local Listings on the Big Three:
It is essential that you claim and optimize you local listings for Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is not only so that you can control your listings, but it is also essential to make sure that your listings don’t get hijacked which is a surprisingly frequent occurrence. To claim the big three use the following urls:
Use appropriate keywords and categories in your listing
This aspect of local search is very much the same as organic. It is essential that you include the keywords that you wish to rank for in the descriptions, titles, or categories in your local listings. There are a number of places that you can include these, ranging from the main description to the attributes. Just like with organic SEO, you should attempt to do so in a manner that is aesthetically pleasing and makes sense to the user.
Add your Business to as many local sites as you can
In addition to Google, Yahoo and Bing, there are hundreds of other sites that offer local business listings, ranging from social sites like Yelp and Insider Pages to local directories and yellow pages. The more of these you can have your business listed in the better.
Be Consistent and Include your Website
It is important to be consistent so that the big three search engines can connect all your listings and realize that you are everywhere. I generally recommend using your business name, then city and state in your listing title. It is essential that your vital information such as phone number, address, email and website are the same through all listings. It is especially important to include your website if you want it to rank in local rankings.
Develop a strategy for getting positive reviews
Reviews are an essential component of your local rankings. This is one of the places where social media and SEO become the most interconnected. If Google, Bing or Yahoo see your local listing getting a ton of positive reviews, they are likely to include it highly in the local rankings for the keywords that are mentioned on your site, or in your local listings’ titles, descriptions, or additional text. How to go about getting positive reviews can range from business to business. While search engines say that you are generally not supposed to solicit positive reviews, odds are that some of your competitors are doing just that. If you are a restaurant, you may offer a discount, or free drink/appetizer/desert for anyone that comes in with their positive review printed. If you have a retail store or offer a service, you may offer a coupon, credit or discount. It is important that your reviews come from real people and are consistent across your listings sites.