Search Engine Optimization and Location

SEO-Mistakes-to-Avoid-Pt.-2This is where vertical search comes in.

Since Google, Yahoo!, and Bing often include local businesses above other listings in their search results, local businesses can often leverage their geographic edge to get top listings. These local directories will display a company’s location on a map, contact info, hours of operation, and company information including links to the main website, photos, videos, and comments.

Businesses that operate or have a mailbox in a geographic location can add their listing (usually at no charge) to Superpages, Yellow Pages, and other online phone book sites. Most businesses should see what traction they can get off Google, Yahoo!, and Bing first, then try the free online phone book listings. The majority of searches happen on Google, so start with the most heavily trafficked search engine first. Some local search engines require a call or will mail a postcard to verify your address, but with most all you need to do is add your business online. Once the listing is live, it cannot hurt to ask your clients or customers to post comments about your business on your local Internet listings to further boost credibility and awareness.

Build Links with External Websites

Increasing local links back to your website boosts search engine visibility.

Local businesses can maximize links from other sites by taking advantage of their tremendous assets: contacts and community. Use your connections to initiate:

– Links in a local directory

– A link in the local Chamber of Commerce directory

– Links to your site in the blogroll of other local bloggers

– Partnerships with noncompeting local websites to exchange links

Whenever possible, request that the link have the key phrases you are targeting.

Place Contact Information and Place Names on Each Page of Your Site

The simple act of adding contact information to every page of your site can boost search visibility. If you serve multiple cities, provide your address as well as a descriptor.

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