The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) arena is highly competitive. While it may not be economical for most small businesses to pursue SEO with the goal of having their website rank among the top results globally, perusing search engine traffic on a more local level can be very rewarding. Localized SEO can be a great equalizer. This article contains tips for optimizing your local search engine rankings. Blue Ridge, Georgia based businesses are used as examples.
Create Local, SEO-Friendly Content
As we discussed in the Content is King page, the top search engines, including Google, Yahoo and MSN place a high value on unique content when ranking search results. Your website should have content that’s specifically tailored to local customers. A Bed and Breakfast in Blue Ridge, Georgia, for example, could write articles on attractions in the surrounding areas of North Georgia. Even if you’re writing articles on topics that aren’t specific to your area, work references to your area into your examples, as this article does. Make sure your content is search engine friendly. It should be primarily text based to maximize the SEO benefits.
Get Listed in Local Directories and Search Engines
Submit your website to directories and search engines that are relevant to both your business’s industry, and location. Here’s a list of recommended directories that are relevant to most businesses. When appropriate, Blue Ridge, Georgia is used an as example location. If you’re not Blue Ridge, Georgia, substitute in your own locality.
Top Free Online Directories
Google, Yahoo and MSN should be your first three stops when submitting your website to SEO friendly directories and search engines. These are the top three search engines by market share, and receive the majority of search engine traffic.
- Google Local Business Center - Google is the most widely used search engine, and has the fastest listing time, so it’s a good place to start.
- Yahoo! Local
- MSN City Guides - MSN actually obtains their listings from localeze.
DMOZ and SEO
- DMOZ Open Directory Project - Websites that are listed in the DMOZ directory are favored by Google, and mirrored on many sites throughout the web, including Google’s Directory, so submission to DMOZ should be a part of most websites’ Search Engine Optimization strategies. Getting listed in DMOZ is hit and miss, and it can take months for a listing to be approved, but the potential payback in increased search engine rankings is worth the time invested during submission. Check out DMOZ’s submission guidelines to learn about what directories to submit to. Many websites are eligible for inclusion twice - once in the area that covers their topic, and a second time in the appropriate regional category. A Blue Ridge, Georgia based business, for example would find to the correct category with DMOZ’s Regional Blue Ridge Category, and submit to both it, and the correct DMOZ category outside of the Regional section.
SEO-Friendly Online Yellow Pages
The following online yellow pages services offer both free and paid listings. Free listings are typically limited to your locality (for example, Blue Ridge, Georgia), so don’t expect them to drive much traffic to your website directly. However, there are SEO benefits to be had by obtaining the free listings. Search engines crawling these online yellow pages will see what sites are being linked to, including the geographically advantageous backlink to your website.