The Internet is constantly getting more competitive and high, non-local organic search engine rankings are harder to achieve.

The new “3-pack” from Google has made things even more competitive. There are even less screen real estate in the local Google maps than before. (It used to be the 7-pack, not too long ago).

But for many businesses, especially small businesses that target their local markets, the most relevant forms of traffic come from local search.

What can you do?

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1. Use keywords to target local areas

Targeting a local market can make Google local SEO go a long way, especially since high rankings in local search are much less competitive.

For example, contractors targeting keyword phrases such as “general contractor” will have to compete with virtually every other English-speaking general contractor in the world, while businesses targeting “elkhart general contractor” will only have to compete with general contractors in Elkhart who happen to own a website and are actively trying to SEO optimize their websites.

TIP: Adding location & local phone numbers modifiers that describe your keywords and pages better, tend to have a higher conversion rate as well.

2. Get listed in directories

One of the first steps toward getting local traffic is to try to get listed in all of the free local directories. There is no reason to not be listed in Google My Business (Google Places) or Bing Local.

Many users will go to these locations first when trying to find a local business.

Most likely, you’ll see references to your business already, but the information may be wrong. It’s time to do an audit and updates these listings for consistency to the information on your website.  Check out more information via our local SEO consultant agency in Los Angeles.

3. Focus on other search engines

Most businesses try to focus their efforts on reaching high Google search engine results. And, when aiming for local targeted markets, focusing efforts on other local search engines, such as Bing (Local) Maps, can also be helpful, and is recommended.

However, we continue to see that Google Local SEO tends to have the fastest and potential best return, and we recommend starting there.

4. Register the domain name with the business

Another important thing that businesses might want to do is register their domain names with their current business addresses. Some evidence suggests that Google uses the address that the website is registered under as a way to rank local search results.

The location of the business in the map “centroid” is another indicator of relevance.

5. Create multiple domain names?

Businesses that are offering services in more than one country might want to create domain names for each country or state that they operate in. (No spamming or tricking Google).

Google looks at the top-level domain in order to determine whether a particular URL is relevant to search results in a particular country.

This can be a good and necessary strategy for international and local businesses.

However, some businesses try to spam with multi-location websites for keywords.

We recommend treading carefully, and consolidation with a helpful and logical navigational architecture is a better choice.

Note: If you start attracting a bad/poor link neighborhood profile from these domains, and it bleeds over and into your main corporate site, they can and will eventually lower your signals, and rankings can drop.

6. Remain clear on your target

Some businesses are entirely focused on a local market, while other businesses are nationwide, but wish to target a specific location.

This can be difficult because the SEO efforts needed to obtain traffic from a specific area might undermine the company’s efforts to receive traffic from other locations, including internationally.

Businesses must emphasize that they offer services for those in other parts of the country as well. With many offices, i.e. a franchise network, you can manage listings in a bulk fashion.

7. Claim your business

Businesses can often be listed with NAP (name, address, phone) and related information by those other than business itself.

When a business discovers that it is already listed, it should try to claim the business listing and update the records appropriately.

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Jon Rognerud is known as the most sought-after SEO, Digital Marketing Consultant and Online Advisor for Finance, Technology, Real-Estate and Health industries. He is famous for building business strategies, mobile websites and integrated marketing solutions that brings process, profits and brand loyalty…without wasting time. Jon Rognerud is the author of the best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur Press) and is the Founder of Chaosmap. Get more information about the company here.