The last few years, Google SEO has placed a lot of importance on improving their local ranking factors with the goal of populating local results with actual local businesses, and not websites that just happened to be targeting those local keywords. For years searches that contained city related keywords was troublesome, because you would have general informational or international businesses showing up in the search results when you were primarily looking for a local company, but the recent measures that Google has implemented have greatly improved local searches for users. This means that local keywords, or city-related keywords, are going take a variety of factors into account that would not normally be considered for general keywords. A few of the factors that you should be taking into account when attempting to secure local rankings include;
One of the easiest measures that Google has implemented to better target their local results is the use of a physical address as a prerequisite for local listings. You absolutely have to have a physical address in the vicinity of the city-related terms that you are attempting to rank for. Make sure that you address is located on several pages throughout your website and in local business listings to make it as easy as possible for Google to identify. Typically, Google will attempt to compare the physical address of your business to the location of the center of town to get a general idea of your vicinity to the city.
Categories and Classification
One major problem that Google had when implementing business listings was websites and business incorrectly listing their category in favor of categories that would help them to receive more traffic. The correct category helps Google to better match your business and website with relevant search terms and deliver customers to you. Listing an incorrect category is not only confusing for users, but confusing for the search engine itself.
It’s in Google’s best interest to return trusted, established businesses when users search for local results. This places additional stress on the importance of your domain name. How long has your domain name been registered? Google avoids recommending local businesses that have not been around very long, and uses the domain name registration date as a way to gauge the age of a business. Other factors related to the domain name include incoming and outgoing links, and how many of those links contain anchor text, or are surrounded by content that is related to the cities in which you would like your page to show up on the search results for.
Google has a directory, Google Places, which you should certainly attempt to get your business into as that can have a huge influence in the amount of traffic that Google sends toward your business. However, you should also attempt to place your business in as many local directory listing sites as possible. Remember, Google crawls these websites as well, and the more often that it runs into your business throughout crawling, the more relevant your site will be in the local search phrases.
The page title of your website can have a great effect on your ability to rank for certain city related keywords. If you are in the Seattle area, have “Seattle,” in the title of your page can help you to increase relevance and rank for Seattle related terms. Even if your business serves a wide variety of cities in a given region, including the main major city that you provide your services to can provide benefits.
There are many things to take into consideration as you look at ranking for local, city-based keywords. Much more than most search engine optimization experts are forced to take into consideration for keywords that do not include cities and locations. However, with a keen eye for detail and due diligence, ranking for local phrases can be quite easy with limited competition.