The growth and ubiquity of the smartphone means that local SEO is more important than ever, and some of the techniques for improving rankings are very simple, and free.
Our new Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practice Guide contains detailed advice on improving your local search visibility.
Here are some dos and don'ts for local SEO, taken from the new guide...
Local SEO ranking factors
There are hundreds of signals that impact local SEO rankings, but the factors that have the biggest impact can be split it into the following:
- Place page factors.
- On-page factors.
- NAP listings and citations – Link signals.
The Moz 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors survey is a great resource for learning about local SEO. Moz compiled the responses of a host of leading industry names and created a report on the findings.
The image below provides a breakdown of the findings on how much weight each of the different signals possesses:
Local SEO: dos
Optimise local pages for target local keywords
The page's title tag should include the brand name, the keyword being targeted and the location. You should also think about this with the meta description of the page.
This should be possible to achieve without making either page or meta description come across as unnatural, as the objective remains to optimise for both users and search engines.
If you only have one address, you could also include it within your footer as an additional reference.
Local SEO don’ts
Make your information copy unnatural or spammy (on your Google Places / Google+ Local pages)
This looks awful, will deter many potential customers, and may land you in trouble with the search engines.
Try to build Google Places pages that aren’t related to your physical address
This defeats the object.
Pay for fake reviews
As above, this may be tempting, but fake reviews will look fake, and people will soon smell a rat.
Write fake reviews yourself
If you have one or two negative reviews, or the reviews are coming in at a slow rate, it may be a temptation to add one or two yourself.
Again, as with fake reviews, these can be spotted, and the loss of credibility would be harder to recover from than the odd bad review.
Forget your online reputation
You can ask for reviews, add listings on Google +, Yelp and elsewhere, but what you really want is lots of good reviews.