Local Search Engine Optimization Knowledge for Small Business

Over the past few years, I have dealt with many business owners who are confused about local seo and the process involved.  It takes time to rank organically in Google for many competitive location based searches.  I have seen first page rankings take anywhere from 2-14 months, depending on the industry, competitiveness, and strategies used.


I decided to create this helpful local seo guide to assist fellow marketers and small business owners in improving their local search strategy.  This is also a good guide to forward to your online marketing agency, to ensure that they are using the proper tactics in your organic campaigns.  I split it into two sections for now, On-Page, Local SEO Business Directories.  It is imperative to your campaign that you maintain a consistent Name, Address, and Phone Number.  For the website submissions, be sure to fill out your profiles with good unique descriptions and as much information about your business as you can provide, to give it a respectable and full presence.


Google Local Search results for "san diego doctor"

Google Local Search results for “san diego doctor”



On Page Local SEO Optimizations


My Geo Sitemap is
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<h2><span itemprop=”name”>KickinKnowledge Web Productions</span></h2>
<span itemprop=”description”>Contact {name} owner Justin Murray at any time directly 415-237-3932 Meetings and Office by Appointment Only.</span>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>4629 Cass St. #165</span>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>San Diego</span>,
<span itemprop=”addressRegion”>CA</span>
Phone: <span itemprop=”telephone”>415-237-3932</span>

and this html code contains seo friendly markup data from the specifications at http://Schema.org, specifically the LocalBusiness markup.


  • Add your Name, Address and Phone number to every page on your website.  Make sure the address and phone number are click-able on mobile devices.  Nobody likes going to a website on a cell phone and not being able to call them by pressing the phone number (usually it is mistakenly hidden in an image of the phone number, while it should be html/text, preferably with tel: – read more at http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1164004/how-to-mark-up-phone-numbers)


  • Mention your business city, state, and surrounding areas once or twice in your content.  DO NOT keyword stuff.  If you mention the same place within two paragraphs more than twice, you’re getting stuffy.  Don’t get stuffy.  Make your content natural and use ALT tags on your images.  Google has an older but still relative post on Alt tags – http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/using-alt-attributes-smartly.html


  • In a prominent area of your website (top right sidebar?), have a contact form or Live Chat module with call-to-action text.


  • Ensure that your website is mobile and tablet friendly.  Preferably responsive design.  I make all my clients websites in responsive wordpress themes/frameworks.  These websites respond to the device width of whatever size device is viewing it.


  • Your website should be fast.  At least under 3 seconds load time.  Compress your images, get your jquery from Google libraries, use caching and minification if possible.  Check your website speed at Pingdom Tools – http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/


  • Track your results.  Use the free data from Google Analytics and Google/Bing Webmaster tools.  Improve your conversion on pages by modifying your titles and meta descriptions for under-performing pages.


Local SEO Business Directories

Google Places This is an important one! Make sure to actually Verify your profile with Google. Search Engine Land has some great information on the new Google Places management at http://searchengineland.com/10-things-seos-smbs-should-know-about-new-google-places-dashboard-154686
Yellow Pages
White Pages
Super Pages
City Search
Yahoo Local
Dex Knows
Service Magic
Angie’s List
Area Connect
Biz Journals
American Towns
Local Guides
Insider Pages
Magic Yellow
Best of the Web Local
Chamber of Commerce
Zip Local
City Squares
Local Database
Yellow Pages

Speed to the Top of the Ranks

This website www.kickinknowledge.com, which I have done quite a bit of optimizations for, averages a score of 90 out of 100 on Google Page Speed Rank. CNN.com only scores a 81 out of 100. Google and Facebook are two of the fastest at 99 out of 100. Google and other search engines use your website speed in calculating your rank in the search engine. With over 200 different ranking factors, it is a small piece of the pie but a piece of a very profitable pie. Website speed optimization is a very broad topic with some very nerdy internals. Compression and deferring of javascript, minifying of javascript and css, image compression, and many other proper configurations can boost a websites speed. It is also important to get the right hosting from a proper hosting service. I can help you choose the right server and configurations for your specific website needs. I can also fully optimize your website and help you out-rank your competitors by leaving them in the dust!

The Top 5 Free Resources to Help Speed up Your Website

SEOMoz wrote a great article that covers much more – 15 Tips to Speed Up Your Website