In 2002, the ultimate goal for any web design agency was to rank for the most popular term in their industry — “web design”. With the prestigious number one spot came a huge increase in demand; alongside knowing web design, the company ultimately must have known how to market their clients as well as themselves. Almost all business was pushed towards the number one ranking — the outlier at the top ended up taking an irrationally large slice of the pie.
Now, things are slightly different. Google’s ranking system is no longer location independent — location and searcher intentions do play a major part in rankings — and maintaining the number one spot is no longer a relatively easy effort. However, that is not to say that search, as a marketing form, is dead. Now that the goal is no longer the universal number one spot, businesses have near unlimited choice, and a much greater range of opportunity.
The goal today is not to rank high for the entire world, but to rank high for your city. Local SEO is the latest wave in search marketing strategy, and it is likely to be one that stays with the search engines long-term. With Google’s recent moves towards local mapping, address-based search, and other cool local widgets, local listings are becoming increasingly more valuable.
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These four tips will help you get your business to feature in local search results. From state-based rankings to local city information, a tailored local search presence can be a huge asset for your business. Stop letting leads fall through your fingers, and use these tips to dominate your local search results.
Aim for a Google Maps/Google Places listing.
Google’s search algorithm takes location into account, particularly city-based location. The top results are not just text links, but dynamic maps, images, and potentially videos. Your goal should be the map — Google’s ultimate local business tool. List your address and business details in Google’s local search information, keep location data clear on your website, and ensure that your submitted address is correct. A location-based maps listing can be a powerful search asset.
Build local links.
Contextual links from other local websites can be worth a lot in terms of local rankings. Instead of trying to build links indiscriminately, approach local webmasters and other businesses in search or a link partnership. Local links, much like contextual links for other websites, can be significantly more valuable than any old do-follow inbound links.
Keep your city name in anchor links.
If you are an architect based in Phoenix, Arizona, your goals should not be to rank for “architecture”. Instead, you should be creating links that are tailored directly to your local search goals. “Phoenix architecture” is worth more than “architecture” on its own, especially when your goals are limited to local lead generation.
Add yourself to local portals and directories.
Most cities, or at least those with over 100,000 residents, will have a city-based portal or directory website that businesses are free to add themselves to. Think of it as a business-friendly online Yellow Pages — an inexpensive and valuable resource for direct leads. Whenever possible, add your business to these directories, complete with a targeted inbound link.