Thursday, May 2, 2013

10 Guidelines to Local Search Engine Optimization

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An increasing number of people are using search engines for information about various products and services. The ready access to the internet that people have these days means that these search engines are only a few clicks away.
The search engines such as Google and Bing are perhaps the most used method of searching on the internet. It is therefore very important for online businesses, or businesses that need to get their products/services some exposure, to have a presence on these search engines. This presence is in the form of higher rankings on these search engines through the smart use of quality keywords. This complete process is known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO.
In this article, local search engine optimization will be studied in detail to provide a better understanding of this valuable marketing method to local businesses. But before that, here are few key statistics describing the importance of local SEO:
Importance of Search Engine Optimization in today’s era:
  1. The importance of search can be gauged from the fact that 97% of consumers search for local businesses online
  2. 69% of the searches are affected by geo or specified location
  3. 20% of the searches made on Google are for local information
  4. With the statistics now out of the way, it is time to look at the factors that affect local search engine optimization rankings:
Physical Address in the Searched City  
If there is no location specified, but the business has a local presence on the internet, then Google will limit listings displayed to those within the proximity of the person searching.

Accurate Categories
It is important to have businesses listed in the categories they fit in. For example, a local dentist has to be in the dentist category on the Google+ Local Page. For those businesses that cater to specific or niche markets then it is important for them to have custom categories describing the type of business listed. Experts believe that the first category should be wide and the second category more specific.

Proximity of Adders s to City Center
Search engines often rank businesses according to their proximity to the City Centre. This centre is determined by the population or by the business centre of the city. On Google Maps, entering the name of the city will most likely display the City Centre as determined by Google.

Domain Authority of Website
The domain of the website has to be relevant and commanding on the Google+ Local Page to be competitive against other competing domains. The domain authority of a website can be increased through the use of sanctioned SEO tactics.

Quantity of Sanctioned Citations
It is important for businesses to be listed in directories such as phone directories in order for Google to list these businesses as valid for the locations searched. For businesses to get the best out of this feature, data can be submitted to online data providers or directories.

City and State in Landing Page Title
The business has to have the name of the city or state it is located in on the title page of its website. This address can be added to the business' website with little trouble.

Number of Google+ Local Reviews
Local businesses should have reviews submitted by people on the Google+ Local Page or other review websites such as Yelp. Experts believe that reviews on Google+ have the most influence. Although getting reviews from local consumers might be easy, getting reviews from qualified and professional people such as doctors might be difficult to achieve.

Authority of Structured Citations
It is important for local businesses to have quality and specific directories as they are more commanding compared to general or vague directories.

Area Code on Google+ Local Page
Businesses can add their local area codes to the Google+ Local Page without much trouble. It is important for businesses to have these area codes specified as they make them stand out on searches more.

NAP Consistency
The directories provided by the business such as the name, phone numbers, and addresses, should be in line with those provided on the Google+ Local Page. If the information provided is different from what it actually is, then people will have trouble contacting the business.

Local search engine optimization is especially beneficial for small or home based businesses. It makes these businesses stand out without having to spend huge amounts of money on marketing. The lower costs associated with SEO is what enables these businesses to effectively compete with much larger businesses. Thanks to the internet, small or home based businesses are still alive and well in today's economy. Not only do these businesses allow the smooth running of the economy, but they also help contribute to the country’s overall GDP and employment rate.

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