How To Begin Your Local SEO Process


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This guide, created in 2012, is a process laid out to help small business owners begin their local search engine optimization process. Use this as a resource for local SEO.

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  • Use local listings on smaller search engines to help boost your rank on the larger engines. Syncing your business information across these engines will help prove to Google, Yahoo and Bing that your local listing is 100% accurate. It can also help get locally relevant backlinks.
  • The above steps are required to position a local business to the point of becoming eligible for index in local search engines with correct business information for relevant search queries. Advanced local SEO processes are not required to establish local online presence, but are encouraged to increase visibility and to rank higher.
  • Content creation goes hand-in-hand with link building. With or without a website.
  • Use markup language to increase a site or URL’s visibility to stand out in local SERPs.
  • When a user clicks on one of the social buttons, the information is then shared to their social connections and it like saying, “I vouch for this information, you should read it too.” which can drive more traffic.
  • By segmenting the email list into Gmail and Yahoo groups, reviews can be solicited from multiple review sites.
  • KML is another way for a website to gain trust with Google
  • Not a mobile site best practice, but the best practice is to use responsive design when creating a mobile site.
  • How To Begin Your Local SEO Process

    2. 2. Optimizing for local search engines  Who needs to optimize for local search?  Business owners of all sizes trying to drive online traffic & foot traffic from local search  Where can I find local search engines?  Google – Google Maps, Google Plus  Bing – Bing Local  Yahoo – Yahoo Local  Yelp  Facebook  Foursquare  Twitter  Yellowpages
    3. 3. keyword research  Begin a local SEO campaign by determining which keywords describe the business’s services and products and by gathering business information. – Determine the top unbranded keywords driving organic traffic to the site. – For each physical business location: • Full name of the business • Address with city, state and zip code • Phone number • URL – Examples of Keyword Variations: • [Keyword] + City • City + [Keyword] • [Keyword] + Zip Code • Zip Code + [Keyword] • [Keyword] + City State • City State + [Keyword]
    4. 4. baseline ranking & benchmarking  Use keywords determined in keyword research for baseline ranking & benchmarking. Determine baseline for unbranded organic rankings.  Important to record the type of listing is ranking:  Organic web result  Organic local business listing  Organic local maps listing  Facebook  Twitter  Yelp  Foursquare  Local directory (,,, etc.)  Consider additional metrics such as indexation, referral traffic numbers and backlinks.
    5. 5. On-page optimization  On-page optimizations should include adding targeted keywords to important SEO on page elements, such as:  Page title  Meta description  Microdata (if applicable)  Header tags  Body content  Images  Internal links from other pages
    6. 6. Local listings   Compiles profile information for many large and small local search engines.  Visit before beginning profile verification to determine which profiles need updates.  Use this information to prioritize profile validation effort.
    7. 7. Gather requirements (cont.)  Verify what information is needed in order to create and complete business listings on local engines.  Notate which information is required vs. optional  Examples of requirements for local engines:  Business name  Business address  Website  Business category  Product categories  Services offered  Payments accepted  Business description  Images
    8. 8. Off-page optimizations  Work on off-page optimizations once on-page optimizations are complete.  Writing profile descriptions based on top keywords.  Link building with geo-specific keyword anchor text.  Secondary and tertiary directory profile creation.
    9. 9. Advanced local seo process
    10. 10. Local link building  Strategically securing back links to a website through various online sources.  Local directories:  Yellowbook, LocalEze  Smaller local search engines: , Urban Spoon & Open Table for restaurants  Angie’s List,,  Hyper-local directories & search engines:  Chambers of Commerce, Town Hall business directories, City Convention & Visitors Bureau’s, City websites  Search for “city name + business listings” and “city name + directory” to find additional opportunities  Local newspapers or other local information sources  Map and GPS providers:  MapQuest, Garmin  Emailing a webmaster and asking for a link  Optimizing press releases  RSS feeds  Link reclamation & modification  Widgets/apps  Content creation and distribution  Social buttons
    11. 11. Content creation  Create relevant content for the target audience and location.  Formats include:  Articles  How-to guides  Top ten lists  Images  Videos  Infographics  Distribution efforts:  Active social media channels  Active profiles  Through the website  News channels  Press releases  The goal of each piece of content is to increase rankings and traffic by building quality inbound links.
    12. 12. Markup language  Currently, Google doesn’t use markup for ranking purposes.  However, rich snippets can make web pages appear more prominent in search results.  Important to choose one format to use across the board, however there are many to choose from:  Facebook Open Graph  Microdata (accepted by major search engines)  Microformats  RDFa  Add markup language to:  Address  Phone number  Hours of operation  Payment types  Upcoming events  Geo coordinates  Photographs  Reviews  Organization  Main contact person  Employees  Videos  Author  Images Example of a search result with authorship markup.
    13. 13. Social buttons  Include social buttons on all URLs to encourage social actions by users.  Also include social buttons in email signatures, Order Thank You pages and email marketing.  Like back links, social signals can help to boost rankings.  Social network examples:  Like  Tweet  Pin  inShare  +1  Stumble  Share  For mobile URLs – Facebook checkin or Foursquare check-in
    14. 14. reviews  Both quality and quantity of reviews are important.  Reviews can be used in Search Engine algorithms for ranking.  Be vocal about wanting reviews.  Ask Facebook friends to leave reviews on CitySearch  Request reviews through email  Add buttons linking to local listing review pages such as:  Google  Yahoo  Yelp  SuperPages
    15. 15. Keyhole Markup Language Sitemap  Keyhole Markup Language (KML) is a way to verify that the business has a physical address.  Creating and uploading a KML sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools can make it easier for Google to index the business listing.  KML Can identify geographic information for applications like Google Earth and Google Maps.
    16. 16. Mobile Local URL Optimization  Optimize local URLs on the mobile site to cater to local queries and keywords.  Use basic on-page SEO optimization with mobile site.  Optimizing URLs, title tags, H1s and meta descriptions with location specific keywords  Add contact information such as phone number and address in a prominent location on the page.
    17. 17. Reporting  Measure success to determine:  Which channels produce the most business  What time of day content distribution is effective  Which channel provides the most engagement
    18. 18. summary
    19. 19. summary  If a business has a local presence, local search should be an integral part of the overall SEO strategy.  By creating, verifying and optimizing all aspects of the local URLs, traffic should see significant increases.