09/02/2011

By Matt Roberts, Linkdex

GETTING FOUND LOCALLY FOR WHAT YOU DO

Local Search and Local SEO is taking off in a big way and there have never been more ways for customers seeking local businesses to find relevant local companies.

The objective of this section is to ensure it’s your local business that gets found for what you do, in all the places that matter, especially Google. So here are our best local SEO tips.

Anatomy Of Local Listings

Get Listed In The Search Engine’s Local Listings

Google, Bing and Yahoo allow you to submit your business directly to their local listings via Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local.

Don’t worry about doing this now as inside your Linkdex Task Manager we’ve already created these as tasks. It’s more important that you understand more about how these listings work, and how you can ensure you’re found for what you do locally.

Trust & Relevance

Like normal web results, Google and the others want to make sure that your submission can be trusted and is relevant. It does this through a process of manual and automated validation, ensuring that your business is what you say it is and where you say it is. Let me explain more.

With Google Places, you’ll be asked to validate that your phone number is accurate, but this is not the only validation as it can be gamed.

To assess the quality and relevance of your business to a search query Google also looks for consistent and relevant listings on other trusted websites.

Whilst on these trusted sites it looks for mentions of your business name, address, and phone number and whether they are correct. These mentions are called citations.

These text citations (mentions) are often not linked to your site and should not be confused with link building, although they are similar, and some citations do have links.

Linkdex have given you a list of trusted websites that act as citations for your business details inside the Task Manager.

You may find that you have been added to a number of directories / citation sources already. Where you have, check your details are correct along with the categories you have added. Where there’s room for improvement, edit them if you can.

You should also look for mentions and links from smaller but highly relevant local sites of your own, as these will help with the local and main natural search listings. These sites may include:

• Local groups and associations

• Local blogs

• Local news sites

• Complementary local businesses

• Hyperlocal local directories

To find these types of businesses you can use Google Searches That Help You Find More Link Prospects
.

Another handy tool to help this process is the local citation finder. It uses a combination of Google searches and phone numbers to find common citations for your type keywords.

Proximity

The ranking of websites in local listings takes 2 things into account:

• How close your business is to the area specified

• How close your business is to the person searching
For example, a search for a generic term like “laser hair removal” returns listings that are located near me.

Searching for the same term with a specific geographical area e.g. “laser hair removal new york”, even from the west coast of America will return relevant results.

For businesses that have an address on the outskirts of a town or city and are in competitive sectors, it can be difficult to get found in the local listings unless they have a very strong listing. To get a very strong local listing you’ll need to implement as much of this section’s advice as possible, especially building citations and getting reviews.

Phone Number

Another identifier of your location is your phone number. If you can use your local number as opposed to 800 numbers that is also strongly recommended.

Completeness

Google asks for lots of different information ranging from what categories best describe what you offer, to your opening hours and payment options, photos and logos. We recommend you complete as much of this as possible.

Reviews

Google wants the best businesses to be at the top and the worst ones to be at the bottom so it uses reviews as a ranking factor for both local and main listings. Thus, the more reviews of your business there are the better.We’ve added tasks in the Linkdex Task Manager with tips on how you can attract more reviews on Google.

Traditional SEO

Traditional SEO factors like relevant links from other websites and keyword usage on your site appear to be having a greater effect on local search results. With results the searcher is seeing being increasingly integrated.

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