The Time to Ramp Up Local SEO is Now!

by: Kathleen Martin

A 2012 ComScore report finds 42% of all US mobile phone users are now using Smartphones. That's an interesting number, but what's more interesting is how it affects how people find your business. The growing adoption of smartphone means more and more people look for what they need while on the go. Gone are the days of the phone book, or even the online at-home search. Nope, today people are looking for your business when they could be 20 miles away. Less than 10. Mere blocks, in some instances!

As a business owner, that means you need to be aware of how you rank in local search results. This has been gaining attention for awhile, but there are some new developments worth noting that you, as a savvy business owner, should be all over.

The basics... what you need to do now, or better yet, what you should already have done. Your first order of business should be to make sure you are located in local directories and especially with search engines like Bing Local, Yahoo Local. and Google. 

And because nothing stays the same forever, particularly in Google world... In the past, claiming your Google Places page and populating it with helpful content was the way to go. This week that all changed when Google+ Local arrived. Google+ Local offers many features of Google Places (and has basically just eaten Google Places chomp chomp chomp). The rub is, you now need to have a Google+ account for your business to get the benefit you got before from your Google Places. Grrrrumble.

However! Getting involved with Google+ now can reap other benefits for your business and your search results (read more from "Is Google Plus Really a Must For Your Business"). Google "social search"  results have started showing up in organic search results. Companies with "good" Google+ pages are starting to show up at the top of results. Now Google+ Local is adding another layer to this equation. Don't fall behind!

Keyword Targeting for Local Results... Once you've got the "basics" covered, you can start thinking about some other ways to affect local search. For our clients'  here at Outlie, that means we're thinking about creating content around local search. This can be done in a few steps: 

  1. Find out who your visitors are, or aren't. Google Analytics to the rescue! 
  2. Find out what search terms are used locally. Thank you, dear Google Insights.
  3. Target keywords and start creating! 

One word of warning... Like keywords everywhere, local keyword targeting is also subject to change. You need to continue to monitor trends to stay on top of creating content that really matters to people. This can be done with a mix of keyword research, and can be taken at the macro or micro level--in this case, keywords that are forever and ever the ones you want, and those that can ebb and flow along with the fickle nature of the human heart. In order to keep tabs on these words, I recommend a range of efforts, from social search tools (PostPost is one new tool to help you find content from the people you follow on Twitter for example) to ongoing monitoring of trends for keywords based on your own organic search data.


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