Tips to Get Better Rankings in Local Search Engines

Local search engine optimization is quickly becoming standard for local brick and mortar businesses that want to be found online.  As we’ve discussed before, a rapid decline in direct mail marketing and advertising through mediums like the Yellow Pages are becoming obsolete.  Most consumers just turn on their computer to get a phone number or map to a location.

The problem–or maybe the advantage, depending on how you look at it–is that only about half of local business owners actually even own a website for their business.  What does this mean for you?  Well, if you get your head in the game, you will be noticed first.

Want to make sure you get listed in local search results?  You should.  Local search engines are the fastest growing verticals on the Internet.  Customers recognize the value of local search listings.  Fortunately for you, not all business owners do (yet).

Tip #1 Use Geo-Targeted Keywords

This means geographically targeting your keywords.  You may even want to try something that would come up in a regional search.  Let’s say that you own a dog-grooming store in Malibu.  Here are some examples of geographically targeted keywords that you might use.

· Dog Grooming Malibu
· Los Angeles Dog Grooming
· LA Dog Grooming
· Southern California Dog Grooming
· Dog Grooming in West LA

You get the idea.

Tip #2 Make Your Website Geographically FriendlyLocal search engines

While you may not pick up the search volume that a global search does, you will be more likely to convert a lead or sale to the people that do reach your site when you follow this advice:

· List your full address and telephone number with the area code.
· Include driving directions to your location with a service like Google Maps.
· Include pictures of your location.
· Make sure your site appears in any type of local or regional directory online.
· When you want to rank for certain locations, list it in your page titles.
· Try the Google Local Business Center and add in your keyphrases there.

Tip #3 Local Search and Mobile Rankings

One great thing about local listings is that they are often picked up by mobile searches for devices like the iPhone and Blackberry.  What better way for a retailer to get consumers that are ready to buy now with their phone in their hand and on the road to your store?

Following some of these simple strategies could put you on the first page of local searches in no time.  If you really want to optimize your business, it wouldn’t hurt to see a consultant and discuss deeper linking strategies.  This will save you time (and it’s still cheaper than advertising in the Yellow Pages…) A blended strategy that includes local search engine optimization, blogging, article content, and video or audio could make sales skyrocket.

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