Optimizing Your Website For Local Search Engines   19 comments

Online businesses that have been around for a while would already be included in local search engines, since they compile data from aggregators and other online directories. Once a business’s listing is loaded in local search engines,  it must determine how to get the business to rank higher when users search for industry’s keywords.

Optimizing your website for local search engines all basic SEO factors can come into play and can help influence rankings. These factors include having good, specific text in  each page’s title, H1 tags, meta description, page content, IMG ALT attributes and inbound links. But some are specific to local search, such as:

— Companies that have multiple locations, it is not necessary to have a standalone website or subdomain for each outlet. It is better not to, since each business location would produce similar web content. However, it probably would be helpful to create a separate profile web page on the site for each distinct location. Many sites with chain outlets will list all outlets on one page– that is not optimal. It is better to have one page be about one store location and another about a different location so as to leverage all the on-page elements to create a page focused on location.

— Have page title, H1 tags and content include the business name, type of the business and location name example “Ben Tech: consultants, India.” For multiple locations, change the title on each location’s page. Include the neighborhood, street address, area nicknames and other location-distinguishing information.

— Home page and or / contact us page should have the main location’s basic listing information (street, city,state,zip code,phone numbers etc.) displayed somewhere in HTML text. Also basic listing information in hCard microformat, which is a method of encoding address information on web pages. For multiple locations, display the basic information on each location’s profile page.

— Place differentiating information on each store’s pages , including  a map. hours of operation, brand names, product photos, menus, pricing, ratings and similar information.  Also include specifics about the physical location.

— Beware of proximity to the city’s centroid (location that search engine defines as the center of the city). When the company is moved to a new location, take into account where the city’s centroid is located so as to find a place closer to that point. Most map search engines will display businesses located closest to the centroid first for a particular category or keyword search.

— Proximity works the same way for zip codes. If user’s search for businesses closest to the zip code area centroid will likely be displayed first in the list.

— Good user ratings are one of the biggest factors for ranking high in a number of  local search engines, particularly in Google Maps. Google maps has compiled ratings from many other directory sources to get a universal rating for a business.

— Develop external links pointing to your website. The best links to support local search come from other locally and topically oriented anchor text. Example,  “Mumbai rental cars” is better anchor text than “rental cars”.

— If local business has a blog , add a blog map or feedmap to it. This will add a local signal to the blog, as well as bring it to the attention of other bloggers in the same area participating  in feedmaps.

–Community interaction can assist in online promotion.

-local charity races/walks, particularly if they list sponsors or sponsor logos on a page on their site. Inbound links from these sites are very beneificial.

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19 responses to “Optimizing Your Website For Local Search Engines

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