All SEO is heavily reliant on what sites are linking to you. If you have high-ranking domains linking to your site, Google recognizes that and gives your site a boost in rankings.
For local SEO, you don’t need to be linked to from Forbes or Nike or any crazy-authority website. The key for local search engine optimization is to be linked to from local websites that are relevant to what you do.
You can try to get featured on local websites with higher authority, such as local news publications or local magazine sites.
Off-Page Local Search Engine Optimization Tactics
Here are some of our favorite off-page local SEO tactics:
- Apply to any local “competitions.” Coolest office space, professionals on the move, etc.
- Get involved with the community. If you sponsor or donate your company’s time to local charities, you are twofold improving your brand equity and creating more opportunity for your site to be linked to online when people mention you.
- Local universities have a very strong domain authority. Reach out to local schools and see if they’d be interested in writing about your business or if you can sponsor any of their events.
- Sponsor a meetup group.
- Leverage current business relationships.
- PR Stunts. Sometimes, you have to take a risk to stand out. Controversy is very attractive for local publications to write about, but it doesn’t always need to be controversial to stand out.
- Creative guerrilla marketing campaigns.
- Writing an article that challenges the status quo.
- Being first in your industry to offer a brand new product/service.
- Keep tabs on your competition. Use a tool like SEM Rush to see where your local competition is getting linked from and try to apply the same tactics (in your own unique way of course)
A less-common but highly effective tactic for your on-page optimization is using SCHEMA.
SCHEMA is a code you put into your site that Google crawls and displays in search results. Location-based businesses benefit the most from using this.
Here’s the code that you can adapt to your own website:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> <p itemprop="name">COMPANY NAME</p> <p itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> <p itemprop="streetAddress">ADDRESS LINE 1</p> <p itemprop="addressLocality">CITY</p>, <p itemprop="addressRegion">REGION</p> <p itemprop="postalCode">POSTCODE/ZIP</p. <p itemprop="telephone">PHONE NUMBER</p> <meta itemprop="latitude" content="LATITUDE" /> <meta itemprop="longitude" content="LONGITUDE" /> </div>
All you need to do is change the text in caps to your own details — simple.
What can more advanced SCHEMA look like on Google?
As far as content, you need to optimize your website copy to make sure Google understands what you do and where you do it. Your homepage is the most likely to rank when showing up on Google, so that’s the first page you want to optimize.
Use keywords such as your service and location(s) within your URL, headings and conversationally within the body of your content. Be very careful not to keyword stuff. This will actually hurt your website. The more natural the language, the more likely it is that Google will help you rank for the right keywords.
You can create other pages on your site that are specific to the locations you serve, and although they might not rank, they will give your homepage a massive boost (as long as you make the navigation logical).
Another tactic is to write blog articles that are specific to the location(s) you serve. It doesn’t need to be promotional, just informational. This will not only help your users learn something new about their location but it helps Google understand what locations you specialize in.
It also helps to embed a Google Map on your homepage or even within your interior pages, such as blogs or about pages.
Case Study: South Florida Personal Injury Law Firm
By utilizing the blog, creating a series of articles on how to avoid car accidents in specific cities proved to be a valuable strategy for this client.
We measured their SEO performance immediately following the publication of each article. We also published case studies for each of their focus locations.
One article focused on Hollywood Florida and how to avoid car accidents in that city. Within three months we saw a significant lift in their Google rankings for all of their Hollywood keywords.
Their average position for their Hollywood keywords went up 15 spots. That’s an average lift of a page and a half on Google.
We forged ahead using the same tactic for Miami, specifically a case study that used all the right keywords (personal injury, car accident, etc.) in a conversational manner.
The results, after only one month, were staggering.
All of their Miami keywords shot up by a net of 1,184 positions. Considering how much of a long game local SEO is, to see such a sharp boost in only a month was very encouraging.
Keep in mind, within the same timeframe, we were creating and publishing several articles focused on each of these locations. Don’t put all your eggs into one article and hope that it catches. Make sure you are executing multiple content efforts until you hit the sweet spot.
When following this tactic of location-specific blogs, make sure you link them within your site appropriately.
You should also have a page for each location you serve (if you serve more than one location). On this page, include the map, related articles (blogs), case studies for that area, etc. Anything that makes sense.
And Last, But Not Least...
This is a no-brainer these days, but please make sure your site is mobile-friendly. People aren’t carrying their laptops around when they are looking for your restaurant.
Hearing about growth-driven design for the first time? Learn more about the three pillars of GDD and how this methodology can help you solve your greatest marketing challenges.