Local search rankings are vital to businesses that rely on drawing customers from within a radius of a few miles. Although there is some dispute over the exact figures, at least a quarter and possibly closer to half of all searches have local intent.
But even if your business is b2b-oriented or global, optimizing for local search makes sense. It’s low-hanging fruit, and even if many of your customers aren’t local, prospective partners, journalists and bloggers (who may write about your company), prospective employees, investors and others are. And expanding your overall online presence through local press or blog coverage, social media, or listings in reputable business directories is never a bad idea.
Of course, the best tactics for ranking in local search, as with search in general, continue to evolve. Which local search tactics are most effective today? How can you use events to drive local search? What are the best ways to build local links?
Find the answers to those questions and more here in nine expert guides to local search optimization.
Marketing Research Chart: Which local SEO tactics are organizations using? by MarketingSherpa
Daniel Burstein reports on research revealing which tactics marketers view as most effective for local search optimization. At the top of the list: including local keywords in content, blog posts, meta tags, and internal links; and including a local business address on website pages. On the other hand, customer reviews and local citations were viewed as least important.
Local SEO in 5 Easy Steps by Search Engine Journal
Zain Shah lays out a five-step process for optimizing your site in local search, beginning with checking to see if your target keywords trigger Google’s “local algorithm” and ending with assuring that your company name, address and phone number are consistent across all local directories.
Noting that “43% of Google search queries are local (and) 74% of these local searches are conducted on mobile devices,” Ray Hiltz explains how Google’s treatment of local search has evolved, why businesses that rely on local traffic need to be take advantage of Google+ Local, and how to capitalize on these capabilities.
How to Optimize Your Business For Local Search and Social Marketing by Quick Sprout
***** 5 STARS
Once you get past the annoying pop-ups here, Neil Patel provides an outstanding guide to local search marketing. He steps through the process for local keyword research, on-site optimization, taking advantage of local business directories, obtaining local reviews, local marketing through Facebook and Twitter, and more.
Kane Jamison cites five reasons why local events are valuable for link building (e.g., “Links On Otherwise Difficult Domains: It can be pretty hard to get a link from a major newspaper, TV station, or other prominent local website. Getting an event into their events section is like the secret entrance into getting a link from that domain’), then offers seven practical steps for capitalizing on this strategy.
The Local Search Ecosystem by Mihnorandum
Local search guru David Mihm illustrates which local influences are increasing in importance, which are declining, which are emerging, and more in this helpful local search infographic. Though U.S.-centric, he also links to a similar local search influence post and infographic focused on Canada.
Link Building for Local Search by Search Engine Watch
After explaining why local links are important even for companies that don’t primarily sell locally, Julie Joyce lists a dozen different types of local links, then provides ideas on how to get started with local link building, and how to maintain and expand the effort over time.
Writing that four of the eight most important factors for local search ranking (see below) relate to the quantity and quality of local backlinks to a site, Matt Green outlines five tactics for building from local links, from the relatively simple (commenting on local blogs) to the considerably more involved (sponsoring student clubs at local universities).
Local Search Ranking Factors by David Mihm
Based on an extensive survey of local SEO experts, David Mihm (again) presents his annual summary of the most important ranking factors in local search, from on-site and social/mobile to (a large number of) Google-specific factors, such as number of +1’s on a website. Interestingly, of the top 10 overall ranking factors, just two (the domain authority of the site and name-address-phone number) are on-site factors.