How to Rank with Local Optimization: SEO Best Practices
You may have noticed that the structure of the search engine result page (SERP) has changed. At the top of the page, Google first shows relevant paid listings. These are followed by local listings, and then you finally get to the organic results. For businesses that serve clients all over the world, this presents a problem. Where is your “local market”? We’ll get to that in a minute. The good news is that if you are a local business, you only need to worry about local competition. To draw clients, you can rank with local optimization.
Local Optimization Can Work for Any Business
Local search marketing is not just for “local businesses.” Every business has a local market. I may service clients all over the globe, but it’s easier for me to find them closer to home. Local optimization occurs when you set up your website to focus on a certain geographic location. This emphasis could be a country, a state, a city, or even a zip code. The more narrow the market, the better you should rank, but you also have fewer potential clients.
Why not take advantage of listing locally and see how many clients you can draw from the surrounding area? From there, you can broaden your reach as far as you like.
How to “Localize” Your Landing Pages
This tip may seem obvious, but if you want to do business in Kansas City, then you better have “Kansas City” somewhere on your web pages. For companies that service larger areas, such as the Midwest USA, then you should specify states and the more major cities found there. So, what does this look like?
As you can see, this business serves the greater Philadelphia area, which is large. Specifically, this coach wanted to do business in several different suburban areas. Philadelphia is listed at the top of the page and each of the smaller suburban areas is listed below that.
How Local Optimization Works
When someone in Penn Wynne, PA Googles ‘mental sports coach,’ Google will consider this business listing more relevant than one located in another area of Philadelphia because of proximity. There are other factors, such as ratings and website SEO, but we will cover those in a minute. Right now, the point is that you need to pinpoint where you want to do business, and specifically list those locations on your web pages. Ideally, you should have them on all of them, not just your Contact page. A good place to put them is in your footer or a sidebar.
- Include your full address near the top of your landing pages. If you have more than one address, include all of them. If the aesthetics bother you, then at least put them in the footer.
- List the city names where you do business and use hyperlinks to link them to pages with information about each of them. If your reach is broad, then list states or regions and create landing pages for each one. On those landing pages you can list major cities in those areas.
With local optimization, this particular coach’s website ranked #3 for its primary keyword in its local market within one month of being published.
Your Contact Page(s)
Create a Contact Us page for every office location you own. If your company has three offices, then you need three Contact Pages. It is NOT necessary or useful to create pages for every city where you WANT to do business. You can list that out in the text. You just want a page for every business address.
A Contact Page is one of the most neglected pages on a website. Most web designers throw together a nice little form for your visitors to fill out and never add text to the actual page. Your Contact Page should be optimized like any other landing page with keywords and related phrases. Be sure to embed a Google Map. You can pin a particular address or highlight a city or region. Regardless, it is another way for you to rank through local optimization.
Take Local Optimization a Step Further
Let’s say you do business in three cities and you’ve created landing pages for all of them. Now what?
You can take local optimization even further. The next step would be to create landing pages for each of your services in each of those cities. For instance, let’s say that I am an insurance agent in Central and Southern Missouri. I created pages for Jefferson City, Columbia, Springfield, and Joplin. Instead of making pages for every little city in between, it would be better to move to service specific pages.
- Auto liability insurance in Springfield MO
- Auto liability insurance in Joplin MO
- Homeowner’s insurance in Jefferson City MO
If I do this, then when someone in Springfield MO searches for ‘auto liability insurance,’ Google sees those words paired together on my site and ranks me higher on the SERP.
Google My Business
The most important thing a local business can do for local optimization is to list themselves on Google My Business. You will need a business address to claim your listing. If you are a homepreneur like me, operating out of your house, you can use your home address. Google allows you specify whether or not you see clients at your location. If you do NOT, then they don’t make your address public.
Once you create your listing, then Google can tie together your website, your listing, and all your reviews. You can also write text for your listing (and you should) that includes keywords and links to whatever information you want to share with potential customers. You can even add images or videos. All of this appears right in the SERP without searchers having to click through to your website.
Just like with the Contact Pages, you should have a business listing for every office location. If you have three offices, you should have three business listings. They can all link back to the same website. But for local optimization, you should take advantage of each address.
Learn More About Local Optimization
There are lots of companies out there that offer to help with local listings. What you want is one that can get you listed in the main directories AND help you write the SEO content you need for local optimization. The listings are not enough. You need landing page optimization that targets specific cities and ties in your products.
KDGS Works, in Overland Park KS, helps local business improve their local ranking. Call and receive a Free Website Analysis and Consultation.
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