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Local SEO Optimization: 6 Must-Read Tips for Businesses & Brands

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Local SEO OptimizationThese days, all search is local—and businesses that wish to be found by online search engine users need to make local SEO optimization a priority. Just how important is local SEO optimization? Consider the following statistic: An overwhelming 88 percent of consumers who search for a local business call that business, or visit it in person, within 24 hours. In other words, connecting with local search users generates leads in a big way—making it vital for companies to master the basics of local SEO optimization.

#1 Perform On-Site Local SEO Optimization

The first step is to take some keywords and put them to work for you. Those who need to obtain solid keywords can do so by using the Google AdWords Keyword tool, seeking high-volume, geo-specific keywords. It is important to let the search engine bots know exactly which geographic areas you are targeting by inserting some geo-specific keywords into your content. In particular, include them in your meta titles and descriptions.

Additionally, make sure you phone number appears on every page of your site. Search engines use phone numbers to provide local search rankings. Because search engines cannot crawl and index images, you need to make sure the phone number appears as text, not as a graphic.

Finally, embed a map; you can do this by entering your business address on Google Maps, then using the HTML code provided. This helps visitors—and the search engines—to find your company.

#2 Sign Up for Google Places

The single best thing you can do, as far as local SEO optimization is concerned, is to get on Google Places. Adding or claiming your business is easy; optimizing your Google Places profile is a bit harder. For starters, make sure that you fill out all the descriptive fields provided, using your keywords but also making sure your descriptions read well and are genuinely informative to potential customers and clients. Include some high-quality images. Make sure to keep the contact information for your business up-to-date.

#3 Use Foursquare

In recent months, Foursquare has become a significant presence in local search and discovery. It is significant enough that no local business can afford to neglect it. Sign up for a Foursquare page, and then fill out all of the profile information, just as you did on Google Places. Encourage check-ins, perhaps even offering special discounts or coupons to those who check in for the first time, to big parties that check in together, to the first clients to check in on a given day, and so on.

#4 Solicit Reviews

Online review sites are some of the most SEO-driven and consumer-oriented sites on the Web, which means that they provide businesses with great opportunities to get found by local consumers. The more online reviews your company can amass, then, the more visible your online presence will be. Of course, there is no way to force people to review your company, but giving your customers a little push can go a long way. Make sure links to your online review profiles are found on your company site and on your social media pages. Even leave links to your review profiles in your e-mail signature, on invoices and receipts, and on flyers or brochures that you distribute.

#5 Generate Fresh Content

Search engines favor sites that receive regular content updates, which means that if your website is entirely static—unchanging from month to month—then it’s not going to do a very good job of bringing in local customers. A great way to generate regular content is through a company blog, of course, though you will want to make sure the blog is hosted on your main company URL, not as a separate domain.

#6 Don’t Forget Mobile

Statistics indicate that nearly 65 percent of all local searches are conducted from smartphones and mobile devices. What this means is that local SEO optimization and mobile optimization really go hand in hand. Make sure your website performs well on mobile devices, and if it doesn’t, make it a priority to work with your design company to make your site more mobile-friendly.

Local SEO optimization is not something that companies can neglect, not if they wish to connect with actual, local customers—to get clients coming through the doors and spending money. These local SEO optimization techniques can provide a foundation for a solid local search campaign.

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This article was written by Zsolt Bicskey

Zsolt’s professional background includes work with many companies throughout his native country, donning the mantles of CEO, HR and IT professional, and more.Currently his major focus is on: corporate social media marketing, lead generation, local search optimization, video marketing and mobile marketing.