Much like the larger category of search engine optimization (SEO), the rules for local SEO (aka LSEO) continue to change, which can turn the determination of a starting point into a daunting task. There are, however, several steps that you can take now that will fortify your local SEO results regardless of the changes that may take place with the search engines’ ranking algorithms. These steps include:
- Setting up business pages on Google, Yahoo and Bing – While it’s true that Google still dominates search, setting up your business pages on Yahoo and Bing can round out your presence on the three big search engines, which can prevent searches for your business from coming up empty. For example, Yahoo offers a search box on its email pages that allows people to search their emails or the web for queries. For Yahoo email users (the most recent stats show over 80 million accounts in the U.S.) this allows web searches without leaving the email page, but if you haven’t set up a Yahoo business page even searches for the specific name of your business will not return information about your company. Be sure to optimize these mini-sites with pictures and relevant information, specifically the name address and phone number (aka NAP), as well as the business categories that accurately describe your operations.
- Optimizing your website’s pages for local search – Defining your location for searches that specify your geographic area is as simple as adding NAP information to each page on your site. Location-based images on your site’s pages can add even more clout to your local listings.
- Going with responsive design for your website – The number of searches for local businesses using mobile devices ranging from smartphones to tablets is escalating each year. Rather than displaying your website in a single format designed for desktop computers, responsive design tailors the viewing experience to the size of each device’s viewport to deliver content that is easier to read, displays of larger images, and an easier navigation process.
- Getting social – Establishing social media pages can help with your local SEO efforts while also getting your business in front of local customers. Look for pages on these networks that have been set up as local resources and affiliate with them by friending, following, etc.
The search engines are in a constant state of changing the game in terms of local SEO. Regardless of the changes that the search engines may implement, however, these steps can increase your company’s visibility as well as its presence in your local market.