This is a guest post written by David Brown.
Within a month of submitting my Portland search engine optimization website to Google’s local business listings, I was pleased to find myself at the top of the rankings for the phrases, “Portland Web Design,” “Portland Search Engine Marketing,” and “Portland Search Engine Optimization.” However, these rankings quickly faded due to my lack of understanding toward local business optimization. Having identified this as a source of confusion for the majority of the search engine marketing community, I’m pleased to present some tips for moving up in the local business listings.
Offsite Local Business Optimization
- Get free listings in as many local directory websites as possible. I seldom recommend reciprocating or paying for links in directories. However, if they offer a free, nonreciprocal option you should definitely take advantage.
- Include your phone number whenever you write a description of your company on a third party website. My research suggests that Google uses your phone number to improve your local business listing rankings, similar to the way they use links for improving your traditional organic search engine rankings.
- Make sure your local business listing is complete. For instance, include pictures, coupons, a full description, pick your categories, etc.
- Work keywords into your local business listing description and make it as long as Google allows.
- Look at your competitors’ local business listings. If the number next to the link titled, “Web Pages,” is greater than one, click on the link and try obtaining listings from the same websites as your competitors.
Onsite Local Business Optimization
- Include your business name in your title tags, description and throughout your website.
- Include your address and phone number at the bottom of every page.
- Include the name of your city and state in your website’s content, titles, descriptions and page headers.
- See which phrases the local business listings pop up for, and optimize your site for those phrases.
As mentioned above, there is a high level of mystery behind local business search engine optimization. When mastered, it has the potential to be very lucrative, generating large amounts of targeted traffic, within a short amount of time. Please feel free to comment with more tips and resources.
David Brown is a search engine marketing consultant with Westhill Media.