It seems that everything has gone local with with search engine results lately. With Google, if you don’t rank in the top three for many queries, you are buried below seven local businesses and below the fold. Of course, you are also buried beneath the Adwords ads and the Related Searches, too.
This is a boon to local businesses as they now have the opportunity to appear on page one of the Google serps through their Google Places profiles. Of course, this is a big, fat middle finger pointed at non-local web-only sites without the local offices and locations that many of the big chains can leverage. (Image below)
So, what is a web-based site to do? Here are five SEO tips that I have come up with to cope with this love affair with local that Google is having. I’m hoping that readers will contribute some of their own.
1. Stay in the Top 3: Yeah, this is a no-brainer, but Google has put the pressure on more than ever before to keep top rankings. They’ve always been the goal, but now they are a must. You can’t be content with being in the top five anymore.
2. Leverage Universal Search: Remember that all kinds of media can appear in the serps – video, images, news, etc. Optimize for all. You might not appear in the top three, but your images or videos might appear somewhere on the page. The more exposure for you, the better. (See image below)
3. Go for the Longtail: The local search results appear to come up more frequently for less specific queries like “tires” and not for more specific information like “snow tires” so optimize around keyword phrases for related queries. (See image below)
4. Cozy up to your PPC person: Do some research using Google Correlate and Google Trends and find out where you might want to target local PPC campaigns. This is a perfect example of SEO and PPC working together. For example, according to Google Trends, Burlington, VT would be the top city searching for “snow tires” so that might be a good target for local PPC if you sell that type of tire. And, of course, Google will be more than happy to take your ad money!
5. Submit a feed: If you offer items that qualify for Google Merchant Center, create and submit feeds so that you have the opportunity to appear in the Google Shopping results. Frequently these are at the bottom of the page, but sometimes they are higher up. Again, it’s one more opportunity for exposure on page one of results. (See image below)
OK, that’s what I have come up with so far. I’d love to hear ideas from readers, so please, post them here.
This is a post from The Web Optimist – SEO in The Desert.
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