Local Search in 2013 – Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of 3 of our New Years blog series on local search. We hope you enjoyed part 1 focusing on citations, schema and 2012’s Venice update. Today we’ll move on to some of the other components of  Mike Ramsay’s mozinar and talk through duplication and link building for local search.

Avoid…Duplication when localizing your site
Easier said than done! Imagine for example, you have a website for an online estate agent; they have twenty offices located throughout England and Wales. Each office offers the same services and there is a company blog page but no means or resource to have an individual blog for each branch, everything about each branch is the same…apart from the address. It’s easy for duplication issues to arise.

So what’s Matt Cutts’ take on this?

Well, someone asked him – and he responded in kind: In addition to having the address and phone number different for each branch, something so small as 2-3 sentences of copy about what is unique to that specific location should suffice just fine.

This is still a pain in the backside for bigger companies with hundreds of offices…however it’s not too onerous and nearly as bad as it could be.

Matt Cutts has a horrible habit of er…backtracking though and well, omitting information shall we say so to be on the safe side other methods you can employ to really make your local landing pages different and avoid duplication are:

– Add in directions to that specific branch location
– Add a staff list (if applicable) to each location and individual staff bios
– Any local news items specific to that location on to the webpage
– Insert an image of the branch, labeled appropriately with the location (alt tag)
– Add testimonials from customers specific to that area
– Add in recent sales, “bragging rights” or prospect/expansion details specific to that branch

So it is possible to build individual landing pages, giving anatomy and trust symbols relative to each branch and relevancy for each type of customer.

Link SEO TechniquesManage your…Link building when localizing your site
So we got to this part of the mozinar and Mike was like – “yeah, link building for your local site is hard… (story of any SEO’s life 😉 ) So the options are to get over with it or moan about it”. I therefore decided to do a bit of both….link building is SUCH an absolute b***h!!! There, done. Glad I got that out of my system.

A lot of the methods are similar to the usual; they just require some slight adaptation to really get the most out of them.

– Guest blogging (just don’t overdo it, look for a high page and domain authorityon your target site and the site itself should be a highly relevant one too)
– Content expansion (linking your sites internally – as well as being great for navigation this also helps Google to find each page and service of your site, helping the wider as well as the local SEO campaign)
– Citation directories (look out for directories specific to your location, be sure to keep your business name and NAP (link) information consistent across all sites too, local directories are likely to be more specific and so a higher quality also making this less of a spammy option than it would be normally)
– Press releases (local press releases with local news specific to your page can be easier to obtain than ones from wider organizations, in this way they can be very effective too)
– Blogging (link bait)

That’s it! Tune in for part 3 next week where the focus will be on reviews and the future of local – bring on 2013!