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).
Given 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 GetListed.org, 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.”
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.
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.