Local Search Optimisation 2009

November 4, 2008 // Search Engines, seo

Local search has always been one of those areas where people assume the technique is nothing more than a small addition to a larger SEO strategy. As search in general is becoming more user centric based on individual preferences and location any SEO or agency would be seriously misguided if they did not take this technique to the next level.

Around 4-5 months ago I decided to reinvest some time into local search and the strategies and legitimate SEO techniques that it involves. Resources at the time consisted of no more than “Stuff your listing with keywords” – although this made perfect sense it didn’t seem ethical or particularly long term. To add to the unreliable information being provided most of the top local business listings didn’t actually contain a great deal of keywords, if any.

Now I created a standard business listing for the top keyword phrase plus l location (i.e. London) and within 3 weeks my listing was at the top of Google before all organic listings for a very highly searched phrase. A phrase that would have taken me months to get to – so you can see the real value in local search. Google local business listing also provides stats on the views and impressions of your listing so these make great additions to reports.

Of course Google has now announced that keywords in listing titles will result in a negative penalty and although they have not implemented this change yet, here is a list of other local search optimisation techniques you can employ;

1.    Use your Business name only for the listing title, if you’re lucky your business name will contain a keyword
2.    In the description, consider this like page Meta data – keyword it up!
3.    For category selection select at least two that are suggested in the drop down and enter the rest more specified to your industry
4.    Upload a company logo and video
5.    The more information your write on the listing – generally the better it will perform

Now what you can do to assist your local search listing on site:

1.    Include your company address in your contact page title and meta description
2.    Include a Google maps snippet
3.    Include your company address in your page copy

Link building:

1.    Look for local business directories and add your listing (must be geographically near you)
2.    Look for resource pages with your region mentioned in copy and setup a link
3.    Start using anchor texts with a specific region i.e. “Keyword London”

If you follow these tips then you will get to a very good listing and drive extras traffic to your site.

Matt Ridout

About the author

My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.