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Local SEO – how to carry out local search optimisation

Written by Brett Sidaway, March 10, 2011
Inbound links

Local SEO – how to carry out local search optimisation

Local SEO and search optimisation

As all business owners will realise, internet marketing is important for business growth, especially in today’s climate.

More and more people are turning to the internet and search engines in particular to locate businesses in their own area. More than 30 percent of all web search engine queries contain a city or post code. Local online searches have reached figures in excess of 2 billion each month disposing of the need of printed directories such as Yellow Pages, Thomson Local and newspapers, making an online search the primary source for local consumer service information. The internet has turned local. A staggering 86% of adults now use search engines to look up information on local businesses. We know search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of getting a website ranked high in the search engines results, with the primary emphasis usually being on Google. But it is also important that your website ranks well in organic search engine results for local searches as this will drive lots of qualified website traffic to your website absolutely free of charge. There are two aspects to search engine optimisation known as on-page SEO tactics and off-page SEO tactics.

On-page SEO tactics

On-page SEO is mainly technical in nature and needs to be applied to all pages of your website. A mistake many people make is in thinking that a website will automatically perform well in search engines because it has relevant content. Another mistake is that optimisation is carried out on the website as a whole, rather than one page at a time. Successful on-page SEO needs to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Your website should be well-coded, easily read and understood by search engines. This includes the use of clearly defined meta data, in particular the meta title and description.
  • Each page of your website should be built around specific keywords that are likely to draw targeted visitors to your page/site.
  • Your site’s design should be attractive and your content found useful to visitors so as to encourage them to stay as long as possible on your website. Search engines will also rank the relevance of your content to a users search by looking at the keywords mentioned in the text, headings and image descriptions.

For each of the above steps, think carefully about the use of location specific keywords, for example using “Chinese takeaways Birmingham”. You may know that you are a Birmingham based takeaway, but search engines need to know this also.

Off-page SEO tactics

There are many off-page SEO tactics, but by far the most important one is how many good quality links your site has pointing at it from other websites and pages across the internet. To get an idea of how many links your website has, follow these steps:

  1. Go to yahoo.co.uk and enter the following into the search box:
  2. Site:www.yourdomain.com (replace yourdomain with your domain name).
  3. Click the search button.
  4. This will take you to the “Yahoo Site Explorer” as shown below. Once on this page, select “Except from this domain” from the “Show Inlinks” dropdown menu so Yahoo will only show you the links it found from the other sites that are linking to you.

The more good quality links your site has, the better. Why? Simple, each link is like a ‘vote’ for your site. Search engines believe that if others like your site well enough to link to it, then it probably contains valuable information. This in turn helps to build authority and trust in your website in much the same way that domain age does for a website. Being listed on local business directories and having links from websites in your geographical area helps search engines to verify your location and present your website accurately in local search results. Having links to your website that contain location specific keywords also helps, for example using “Chinese takeaways Birmingham” as the link text. It goes without saying that the on-page SEO work you do and keywords should tie in with your off-page SEO work and keywords.

Getting support with local search optimisation

If you would like to build a solid online presence and attract new customers in your area, it’s likely that you will need the support of a local SEO Birmingham company and perhaps even a consultant that provides an SEO training course to help you to get the ball rolling and generating local traffic to your website. Over the next few weeks we will be covering a series of SEO topics in more depth. Please follow us @opaceweb on Twitter and Opacewebdesign on Facebook for information on blog updates, please feel free to subscribe to our feed.

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