5 Tips for Optimizing Local Search Ranking
Local search is where small and medium-sized companies can really outdo the major competition in terms of search engine rankings. We’ve covered local search before and why this represents a fantastic opportunity for web businesses to dominate in the rankings within their geographic territory. What we didn’t cover was how you can achieve this in practical terms, so here we outline the main content factors for you to include with your website to enhance your ranking in local search results.
Contact Information & Locations Pages
Local search uses the terms included in your website, so when you are based in Poughkeepsie, NY it makes a lot of sense to ensure that piece of information is apparent on the site itself. Make sure your physical mailing address is included, and if you operate from differing branch locations, make sure you have their physical and postal addresses listed as well to reinforce the geographical area where you operate.
It is best if you include a location page on your website, usually it is merged with the “Contact Us” information, but do not simply have a submission form for enquiries – make sure you include full physical and mailing addresses. Best of all, where you do have multiple locations, create a separate page listing for each of them and link through to them from the main contact/location page.
Employee & Staff Profiles
Bring your website to life with the human presence which lies behind your business – people want to deal with people! Profiling key staff and even less senior employees, reinforces the localized roots for your company but staff profiles also lend themselves to capturing the search engine users too. Many businesses are searched for using the name of the owner or operator; for instance a law firm Allen & Engels may be found by a user searching for “attorney DUI Allen” instead of the whole name of the firm.
You can broaden the concept out from simply employees and management, and encompass your main trading partners, especially if they are local too. If you receive supplies from a local suppliers, broadcast that fact and include their contact address, because that will also serve to reinforce your local connection to search engines and further embed you in that community.
Embed a Google Map
Embedding a Google map is a good idea for enhancing customer utility, but being Google, there is a good possibility that embedding Google code into your website is going to give you more favorable treatment at the hands of their algorithm. Google spiders are able to identify the geo-location from this map code which increases your connection to the locality and some empirical evidence indicates that Google will highlight your listing within regular, recurring web search results.
Use Telephone Numbers in Multiple Formats
As a minimum, you should include telephone and facsimile numbers in a standard, machine-readable format – for the US this will be:
You can also add international formats, especially the European international format which is a de facto, global standard:
Do not embed the numbers in a Flash file or image but as plain numerical text because this will make it difficult for the search engines to read the data. This also applies to your address information which we covered earlier.
Case Studies & Testimonials
Customer testimonials have long been in the marketers’ arsenal for promoting a business and the excellent service proposition on offer, and they are especially effective for service companies. Typically, full contact information is not disclosed however, the location certainly is, for example:
“We had great service from XYZ!” – Debra S., Toledo OH.
Most of your customers will be generated in your local vicinity and the addition of the city, county or state will further enhance the linkage between you and the locality in the eyes of the search engines.