For companies that do business in a localized region, local search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of establishing an online presence. For some companies, however, this is a difficult and confusing process. Fortunately, we're here to help.

Read on for some simple tips about how you can boost your local search ranking and get started winning at local SEO.

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO is the process of consciously optimizing your website in order to appear prominently in local search results. Local search queries generally include a geographical place term like "Richmond" and a keyword like "family doctor."

Local SEO has undergone some changes recently, specifically in the form of Google's 2014 "Pigeon" algorithm update, and it is more important than ever for small businesses to rank well in local SEO.

How visible is your business online for local searches?

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What Kinds of Businesses Benefit From Local Search Engine Optimization?

Here are a few types of businesses that can benefit from local SEO.

  • Physicians and specialty medical practices
  • Law offices
  • Pest control and household services companies
  • Builders and construction companies
  • Architects
  • IT, networking and computer repair companies
  • Companies that serve customers in a small, localized area
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Brick and mortar retailers

These are just a few. If your business needs to be found when they Google a keyword and the name of your city or town, then you should consider local SEO.

How to Improve Local Search Ranking

Include your name, address, and phone number on each page of your website.

Commonly called NAP in our industry, your company's name, address and phone number need to be listed on your website. If you're using an 800- number, consider listing a local number on your website to ensure that search engines recognize and rank your site as local.

Make sure your website is mobile friendly.

A responsive website will mean that your potential customers can find your business on their computers or mobile devices. Google now factors in if your website is mobile friendly and ranks your website accordingly.

List multiple locations.

If your business has multiple locations, create a locations page on your website that lists the location name, address and local phone number of each office.

Ensure that each page of your website features unique, well-written content.

This content should describe your products, goods, or services for your service area in detail.

List your site in local directories.

You can use Moz's free Local tool or Yahoo/Yext Power Listings to check and update your directory listings across the web. When you check and update these listings, be sure to use the same name, address and phone number you list on your website.

Get plenty of high-quality Google and Yelp reviews.

To get high-quality local reviews, consider offering your customers an incentive to leave reviews, or feature a "review us" page on your website. You might also consider using marketing automation software to email customers asking them for a review.

Get several high-quality links from other sites.

When it comes to ranking well for local SEO, inbound links are an important piece of the equation. To get good links from other reputable sites, consider offering a guest post or asking another company to review your product. A good place to get local links would be on the websites of chambers of commerce, local business journals, or local trade associations.

While local SEO may seem intimidating, these simple steps can help you rank better in local search and build a more prominent online presence.

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