A Simple and Super Effective SEO Trick for your Local Small Business

by on October 24, 2010

Local search optimization can really help your small business!

Local search optimization can really help your small business!

If your company relies on your local community for business and local search is part of your strategy, keep reading.

What’s local search? It’s when someone types in a keyword plus a location term, such as city or area.

Should local search be a part of my small biz marketing strategy?

Here are some reasons why local search would be important for your business:

  • You have lots of competitors in your local market and you’re all fighting for a spot on the coveted page #1 of search engine results
  • You strictly serve your local area (ie. you only work or provide a service in a specific city) OR you want to target your local area, even if your biz is not location based
  • Your brand name is not well known in your local community and it’s keywords that are driving traffic to your website, not your company’s name.  (Google Analytics will tell you this information – if your small business website if not signed up, you gotta do it! An invaluable and FREE tool giving you all kinds of insights into your site visitors)

If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above, local search strategies could work well for your business.

Ready for your local search tip?

When optimizing or using your keywords, add on your city or region. For example “Vancouver marketing services” rather than just “marketing services”.

I owe this tip to John Jantsch (founder of Duct Tape Marketing).

This is where you want to be in local business results

This is where you want to be in local business results

Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn’t it? Well, trust me. It works. I adjusted one of my client’s Google Directory listing keywords to include the city name of where they work, and BAM! within days we were in the #3 spot in the listing (and a few days later at #2). Which gets us the coveted inclusion in the local business results that show up on the first page of search results. Even though our actual website shows up much farther down.  (The results in the pic on the right are just an example, not the actual work I did :))

If your competitors have not done this, it’s an absolute goal mine!!

So where should you use this local search term trick?

  • All online directory listings.
  • Throughout your website’s tags and copy. Don’t forget to have your location listed on every web page!
  • In your blog post tags, categories and content.
  • Social media sites
  • Any other online activity that gives you a link back to your site and allows for some keyword use.

Word of caution when using keyword + location in your website or blog copy. Don’t make it super obvious! If it doesn’t flow or jive in the sentences, ditch it. There’s nothing worse than keyword jammed copy that reads poorly.

Let’s take this a bit further even…

And really get into the minds of our searchers. It’s easy to figure out whether the best combination is keyword + city, OR city + keyword.

Head on over to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and enter in the keyword city combination. When your results have loaded, down on the very left at the bottom, click [Exact] under “Match Types”. This will give you the number of searchers that typed in the exact phrase combination into the search bar.

Now if there are not enough searches, there will be nothing in the results, just a “-“. But, in my poking around, I have found that in general it tends to be keyword + city that is the most popular.

Now if both versions get results, definitely use them both, but emphasize the one that comes out on top.

So go on now and get your local search on!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martina October 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Well, I’ve just found out that Google has changed how its search results display. The pack of results that I have in my image will no longer show up. It will become clearer over the next few weeks how this will affect SEO efforts. Check out a good article from Search Engine Land discussing the changes.


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