Leveraging the growing importance of local search (local SEO)

Why local search?

If your website essentially promotes a particular bricks & mortar business in a pre-defined region then you need to focus on a SEO campaign that leverages local search of the major search engines.
Similarly if your web-business services only a particular locality/area, you need to optimise for that locality/area.

Even if your long term goal is to build an international business, focusing on current local search needs does not compromise on your long term brand viability. If your primary business is to service the Australian market, registering your domain as a .au makes perfect sense. However if your long term goal is to have a global business it is better to go for a .com domain name as well – ideally the same business domain name.

Local Search Tactics

If you are primarily focused on one town, your keywords should include the town name with the appropriate suffix or prefix that can accurately identify that particular town. One of the simplest means of boosting your local search results is by including your town name in your site’s title tags. The town name should have the relevant identifiers to help search engines accurately map their searchers’ local web-content needs. Often there are more than one similar sounding town names.

You then need to focus on on-page strategies like including your business address in the footer of your webpages. As search engines become smarter, they first determine the location of the searcher and generally map the search results based on the visitor’s local area first. If your web-pages are optimised for your local area, then you have a better chance of being included in the local search results. Ideally you should include your region in the web-page description tags, so that the searcher can even see your site’s local-relevance on the search engine’s search result page. Including such helpful details like your zip code and telephone numbers are a great help to web-visitors to quickly locate you. These simple measures significantly increase the targeted local visitors’ visits and their conversion rates.

Additionally it pays to submit your business information like working hours, telephone number, address and a unique description into the leading local listing services  / information providers like Yahoo! Local, Google Maps and MSN Local. By placing your web-content in these online places, you are allowing people to search for your business by category, your business name, or even the distance. While you cannot guarantee top search engine rankings in local searches your business’ information should be re-submitted on a monthly basis to ensure that the data about your site is as relevant as possible. These are free local listing directories and you can cancel your local listing anytime / any reason. If you want to change any information – simply send the changes to the particular search engine authorities and it is generally changed within thirty days.

People these days rely more on online search directories/ SEO driven webpages rather than cumbersome phone books. It is a smart tactic to allow your business to be seen by local consumers that you are targeting.

If you want assistance achieving top search engine rankings for local key phrases roi.com.au is very experienced at implementing Map optimisation and other effective SEO strategies for location based targeting.

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