In a continued series on optimizing your site for inbound marketing, we wanted to provide a breakdown of how to optimize a page to be found for local or geographic content. Search engines like Google and Bing do a great job of picking up geographically-targeted pages, but there are some things you can do to ensure your local page is indexed properly for the correct region and associated keywords or phrases.
Local search is HUGE… with a large percentage of all searches being entered with an associated keyword for the location of the person searching. Many companies miss the opportunity that local search optimization provides because they feel that their company isn't local… it's national or international. The problem, of course, is that while they don't see themselves as local, their prospective customers are searching locally.
- Page Title – By far, the most important element of your page is the title tag. Learn how to optimize your title tags and you'll increase the ranking and click-through rate to your blog posts in the search engine result pages (SERPs) significantly. Include both the topic and the location but keep it under 70 characters. Be sure to also include a robust meta description for the page – under 156 characters.
- URL – Having a city, state or region in your URL provides the search engine with a definitive location that the page is about. It's also a great identification for the search engine user as well as they're reviewing other search engine result page entries.
- Heading – Your optimized title should provide a keyword rich title along with the central geographic region you're trying to optimize it for first, then follow with your geographic information. Be sure to include a robust meta description for the page – under 156 characters.
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- Social Sharing – Enabling your visitor to come and share your page is a great means of getting it promoted within the necessary communities.
- Map – While a map isn't crawled (it can be with KML), having a map on your page is a great way of providing an interactive experience for your users to locate you.
- Directions is an added plus and can easily be implemented with the Google Maps API. Ensure your business is listed in the business directories of Google+ and Bing with an accurate geographic location marked in your business profile.
- Address – Be sure to include your full mailing address in the content of the page.
- Images – Adding an image with a local landmark so that people recognize the location is fantastic, and adding an alt tag that has the physical location is key. Images attract people and also attract image searches… the alt tag adds to the usage of the geographic term.
- Geographic info – Landmarks, building names, cross roads, churches, schools, neighborhoods, nearby restaurants – all of these terms are rich terms that you can include in the body of the page so that you're indexed and found for the location that your page is optimized for. Don't just leave it to just one regional keyword. Many people search using different local criteria.
- Mobile – Many times that visitors are trying to locate you, they're trying to do it on a local device. Be sure you have a functioning mobile view of your local search page so visitors can both find you or get directions to you.
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