Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves focus on two areas for local search. The first is a company’s geographic location, typically a city and state, and then their product or service specialties.
An example of a local search would be “doctors in New York City, New York”. The results from Google, or other large search engines would be a list of doctors within that geographic location. These search engines do not display only website links in a local search, they show a “local directory” result. This local directory filters the output to the top ten or less results, and displays a map location as well as a text summary – Google calls their version “Google Places”.
In order to rank well in these local search results, a company’s website – and their local directory listing – need to contain keyword phrases that the search engines determine are advantageous to internet users searching for local businesses. The local businesses also need to determine which of those phrases are searched for the most frequently, in order to attract the most customers.
Using the above example of a search for a doctor in New York City, we start with the service provider term: “Doctor”.
1. We enter that term into a free keyword ranking tool such as Google’s Keyword Ranking Tool found at the following website address.
These keyword tools show us actual results from real-world internet searches, so we do not have to guess what the most popular searches are.
2. Next we examine the results and look for related terms that have a large number of local monthly searches. The term “doctor” leads us to: “family practice”, “pediatrician”, “physician”, and the plural “physicians”.
3. These phrases should then be combined with the location “New York” to give us the final phrases to be inserted into our web pages and online directory listings. Examples would be “New York doctor”, “New York family practice” and “New York physician”.
Use these phrases in the business description fields of directories, in the title tags and content of your website, etc will help your online visibility. There isn’t enough space here to detail their proper use but, suffice it to say, once you have determined these keyword phrases, their effectiveness comes from using them frequently and in as many locations as possible.
You may be interested in this related article about Local SEO Analysis