Optimizing a website to rank for a specific keyword or phrase is hard enough, but it’s even harder when the keywords are related to geographic locations. Unfortunately, though, many small business owners need to rank for keywords such as this, as it yields the highest conversion rates.
So, how can you optimize your website to rank for local keywords?
Stick With a Single Domain
I always cringe when I see local businesses using a dozen or more domain names. In the past, this practice may have worked, but it now yields little-to-no benefit in terms of SEO value. Instead of spreading your efforts across several domains, stick with a single website.
Google My Business
Formerly known as Google Places, Google My Business helps business owners connect with their customers through Google Search, Maps and Google+. This free-to-use platform is an invaluable tool for generated targeted, local customers to your business. Once your Google+ page has been created, it will show up in the search results whenever someone searches for your name or a keyword associated with your business. And assuming you include your official website URL in your listing, it will also help to boost your site’s ranking.
When creating content for your website, try to include the city, state and other regional-specific keywords for which you are trying to rank. Of course, regional keywords such as this should be used when meaningful and appropriate, not for the sake of SEO purposes. In other words, don’t “stuff” your content with city names for the sole purpose of ranking for those keywords, as this may backfire and hurt your SEO efforts in the long run.
While all websites should publicly display the webmaster’s contact information, it’s especially important for small business sites trying to rank locally. Don’t just include your email address and call it a day, but instead display your business’s name, phone number, street address, and other pertinent information. Google, along with the other major search engines, will notice this information and take into account when ranking your site.
Another helpful tip to encourage higher search rankings for local keywords is to include outbound links to other local websites. Assuming the other site isn’t a direct competitor, linking to it should help your SEO efforts. Search engine bots will notice and follow the link, seeing that it too is a local site.