Nine Expert Guides to Local SEO

February 18, 2011

Any business that primarily relies on customers within it’s local geographic area—which includes not just restaurants and dentists but also some types of b2b vendors, such as IT services and of course marketing and PR firms—needs to understand the ins and outs of local search engine optimization (SEO). As with SEO generally, keywords and content matter (though for local SEO that includes geography- or region-specific terms) and links play a significant role (though key link sources are different for local businesses).

Local Search Results in GoogleGiven that, as Laurie Sullivan reports below, “70% of survey respondents view search engines, online Yellow Pages or social networks as their primary sources of local business information,” how can you make your business stand out in local search? How can you optimize your site for Google Maps? How important is social media to local search success? If you decide to hire this out, what qualifications should you look for in a local SEO consultant or firm?

Find the answers to these questions and others here in nine of the best local SEO guides of the past year.

Local Search Optimization Interview with David Mihm by Vertical Measures Blog

Elise Redlin-Cook interviews David Mihm, COO of, about free, paid and niche local search directories, local search ranking factors and other key considerations for optimizing local search presence.

Guest Post: 3 Tips for Small Business Local Search Marketing by My Venture Pad

Brett Duncan explains how local search works, then offers tips on using links and reviews to optimize a site and “take control of your online reputation.”

How To Hire a Local SEO Consultant by Local SEO Guide

Achieving high rankings in local search isn’t always easy, particularly for highly competitive terms in large metropolitan markets. For those seeking professional help with local SEO, Andrew Shotland provides a list of 13 questions (and the types of answers you should look for) to help evaluate local search consultants. Example: “How do you communicate your effectiveness to me? The consultant should have a system that regularly communicates what they have done, what is going to be done and when.”Reporting an Error on Google Maps

How To Report A Google Maps Problem by Search Engine Guide

Miriam Ellis reports that while Google’s Maps feature isn’t perfect—nor is the search giant’s process for reporting errors—Google has at least improved the process for the latter. She explains how the Report a Problem feature works, and illustrates this with a real-world case.

Local Search 101: How to Obtain Top Results in Google Maps by Search Engine People

Speaking of Google Maps, in this post Stephanie Woods notes that “For many clients these Google map results garner more clicks than regular search results. This is a pretty big deal,” then steps through the process of optimizing your site for maps by claiming your Google Local listing, using local terms and keywords, getting listed in key local directories, and encouraging customer reviews.

Mobile And Social Dominating Local Search by MediaPost Online Media Daily

Laurie Sullivan reports on recent research showing that “70% of survey respondents view search engines, online Yellow Pages or social networks as their primary sources of local business information.” Nearly half of consumers start a local search for products or services with no specific business in mind. While only 9% of consumers rely on social networks to find local businesses, 93% of those consumers use Facebook to get that information.

7 Steps to Letting Locals Find You Online by MarketingProfs

Dana VanDen Heuvel provides a 7-step guide to getting found in local search, starting with including your city name in your website navigation and continuing through using local directory listings, reviews and social media.

Google Places - Exposure for Information

Top 10 Local Search Insights for the Moment by Search Engine Watch

Frank Watson takes a look at recent developments in the evolving landscape of local search, including Google Places (“Google gives local placement in return for having businesses fill in the information and building their yellow page killer for them”), mobile, Twitter, and consumer review sites.

The Basics of Local SEO – Whiteboard Friday by The Daily SEO Blog

Aaron Wheeler posts and outlines a whiteboard Friday presentation from Danny Dover covering what’s changed recently in local search (particularly on Google) and how to capitalize on that. Included is an excellent list of the most important factors in local search (topped by accessibility and content) and local search-specific considerations like review sites and local directories.

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7 Responses

  1. Nice article. Really interesting list of guides for SEO.

  2. Great article that 70% percent statistic by Sullivan is good to know.

  3. Tom 

    Thanks David! I read somewhere else – not sure I could put my fingers on the source right now — that the tipping point between print yellow pages and online searches dominating for local business happened in 2008. Online has continued to grow and print to decline since then.

  4. In the past I used to spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out the weight of each of my preferred tactics for local SEO, but over the past year I have seen so much random garbage/SPAM show up in Places results that my ranking philosophy these days comes down to the following factors above all:

    – Physical Address in City of Search
    – NAP Consistency
    – Links, Links, Links
    – A Few More Links

  5. Tom 

    Thanks Elizabeth. I like to include the company address and / or a tagline with location information (e.g. “B2B Marketing Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota”) in the footer on every page of the site. Oh, and more links are good too. :-)

  6. I also read that over 80% of all new business in the next 12 months will begin via the Internet.
    I’m not usually one to believe everything I real but this definately seems plausible and quite staggering when you think about it. Even more reason to make sure that your local listings are where you want them

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