I have been busy lately and have not found the time to blog so much; something I intend to rectify. One of the thinks I have been busy with is optimising for local search. Here a a few basic tips:
Country Specific Local SEO Tips
For webmasters, country specific SEO can be a headache. Given the fact that Google’s country specific searches offer diverse rankings when compared to Google.com, it is essential to know how to optimise your websites and increase your SERPs to benefit form local search traffic.
The following tips can enhance your online visibility and SERP performance for country specific search engines such as www.google.co.uk.
Local TLD: Using a local TLD can help in improving SEPS for geo-targeted key words and phrases as Google et al will often rank what appears to be locally generated higher than more generic content. The ease of registering local TLDs varies from country to country, for example it is easy to get a domain name of .co.nz or .com however, an Australian domain registration of .com.au means establishing a business in Australia.
Country specification in Google Webmaster Tools: With the help of Google Webmaster Tools you can specify geo-targeting at directory level, sub domain level and domain level. Check out more details at Google Webmaster Tools.
Contact information: Include your business name, address, and contact numbers clearly on your website.
Local hosting: Ensure your host your site in the same country that you are primarily targeting. It might be possible that .co.uk, .com.au and .co.nz hosted on US based servers benefit from high search engine rankings with local versions of Google. Yet, having a local hosting is far better than an offshore domain hosting as it offers high download speed and numerous other benefits. If you do not know the country location of your server, you can use IP Lookup tool.
Language and spelling: With local optimisation, you should be careful about regional language as there is difference between “optimsation” and “optimization”; and you have to understand the importance of local vernacular as it is an integral part of local search. For instance, if you are optimising a US based travel portal, you will use “vacation”. However, searchers from UK, Australia and New Zealand use “holiday” instead of “vacation”.
Tone: When completing local optimisation, you have to take a local approache. For instance, the USA sales language is more direct in comparison to tone adopted in Australia, UK and New Zealand. If possible take advantage of a local copywriting service.
Inbound Links: Inbound links from local TLDs will help your SERP performance for local search engines. Try and gain links from business partners, chambers of commerce, government agencies, suppliers etc.
Local Directories: Ensure you have links form local directories for example in the UK www.yell.com. Also tak advantage of global directories that offer regional listings such as BestOfTheWeb, Yahoo etc.
Press Releases: Submission of news items with local angle can increase brand visibility as well as enhancing your SERPs.