The other day my fellow bloggers and I were talking about what town most of our readers were located. For them, it was their home town; however, my top readers were from Chicago. As a Midwest blogger, I loved knowing the locals were connecting with what I was writing. But I was even more thrilled to see my local SEO working.
Ranking for area-specific terms can be a big boost to your blog. Many people don’t think local SEO makes a big difference, but this isn’t the case at all.
The good thing is it’s usually quicker to rank for local terms than for national terms. This is because you have so little competition. While there might be tons of sites going for the keyword “weight loss,” there are significantly less sites going for the term “Orlando weight loss.”
So how do you get ranked for local terms? Here are four tips to make it happen:
1. Use the keyword in your title and content
This is the most important factor in getting ranked. You should put the keyword at the beginning of your title, as well as in the content a few times. This lets Google know what the page is about. Therefore, it will make it more likely you will get ranked.
So if you’re writing about a regional favorite recipe, then put that in your title. For example, I’m planning on writing about my grandmother’s chili this fall. She was from Texas, and you can bet your boots I’ll be writing about her “Texas chili.”
2. Use anchor text to your advantage
When you do get links to your site, make sure the anchor text (the actual URL link text) includes your main keyword phrase. Google looks closely at the anchor text to let them know what the site being linked to is about. So if you have one hundred links pointing to your site, and seventy of them say “Houston kid activities,” Google will be able to surmise what your page is about.
If you’re a business that has a blog, be careful about making every single link say the same thing. Google likes natural link building. So if 100% of the links say “Houston condos,” they will view this as unnatural and may affect you in a negative way.
3. Get links from quality sites
Every link is not created equal. Google puts more weight on the links from quality sites a lot more. Therefore, be sure to target legitimate sites for your link building efforts.
As a blogger, I started building up my links by participating in linky parties of fellow bloggers. You can see my personal list here. This helped build my recognition with Google and jumped my site from not having a ranking at all to a PR 3 rating. Plus, I now host my own linky every Friday to keep the good blogging karma going.
This is not a new strategy, and it’s been around for a long time. However, many internet marketers and bloggers aren’t familiar with it. This will help you rank for localized searches.
Basically, geo-tagging is where you put metadata in your HTML code. This lets the search engine spiders know where your site is located. You can do the same for pictures you put on your site. f you’re based in Florida and often write about family activities based in that state, then tag the location of one of your photos with the city and state. I write about Chicago museums because we love them so much and go regularly. And I often geo-tag one or two photos to make sure it is ranked as Chicago-based.
The metadata includes your latitude and longitude coordinates, and sometimes other variables like altitude. If somebody is doing a search with geo-tagging enabled, your site might show up. While geo-tagging does work, you can definitely rank without doing it. However, there’s no reason not to use it, as it definitely couldn’t hurt.
At the end of the day, getting ranked for local SEO terms is a great way to get more views of your blog. Implement these four tips and you should see results from your SEO efforts within months.