Local SEO is important for a lot of clients I work with and talk to, I thought I would cover some useful tips which might help your website rank locally for a range of search terms.

SEO is becoming one of the biggest growing industries in 2012 and will continue to grow for a number of years but for those people who have small companies and can’t spend a huge amount on marketing don’t worry there are still things you can do.

A good source of local SEO would work well for people like “Childminder Stratford upon Avon” or even “Personal Training Cotswold’s” these sorts of terms are very local and probably won’t be overloaded with competition allowing you to potentially spend a little but gain a lot.

If you believe you could benefit from using local SEO to help your business grow then be sure to check out the below tips which will help you kick start your local marketing campaign.  The SEO industry is very tight and spammy links and comments all over the place will do nothing but bring your site down so please only post relevant stuff if you can add value if you cant move onto the next step.

1)      Become Active & Known

No I don’t mean go and slap vinyl all over your car although this could work, I mean look for local events like breakfast events or local forums for your area and get stuck in.

This is a great way to get your business known locally as well as swap business cards with people who might want or need your services in the future. The online aspect will also help Google understand the location of your business and associate it with a specific location.

To name a good local Business event would be 4Networking which is a huge online community with breakfast meetings all around the country.

To find local forums or boards simply do a small search in Google like – Business Forum Stratford upon Avon.

2)      Take Advantage of Google Places

Google has a range of services to help your business online and one tool you should take advantage of if your looking to promote locally is Google Places. The idea behind Places is simple it allows users to find your business when searching the main Google Index or by searching for a service within the Maps section.

Google Places allows a lot of information all of which will help return you higher for those all important serps. Including a website address users can also leave reviews depending on your business and then industry and services it offers.

Places uses an algorithm just like everything else in SEO so your not going to be number one in places unless your work hard and ensure you add relevant data about your business and the location those 2 combined will help see a steady increase in the search.

Mention Google Places everywhere and get happy customers to leave reviews about your busienss again this will help with the final results. The main thing behind places is it works like any other SEO campaign the more links you have pointing to your listing page the better.

Tip – Build a small network of local companies who will all link to your local listing, again use relevant anchor text for your link

3)      WHOIS

No we are not playing a game, although I havent seen any real results of this some people do belive it does work. When registering your domain make sure you assicoate it with your business addrerss.

The process takes less than 5 minutes and could help you see your website rank higher for more local and relevant SEO terms. Updating your WHOIS information can be done very easily by either contacting your host or making chages in your registrat account.

4)      Be Diffirent

Every other company is putting 100% effort in to promoting to Google, why not do something diffirent and look into other search engines. Google might be the biggests till but other engines are being used and you could gain some new and valuable customers by branching out.

A range of other engines also have local products for companies to use to promote them so it is worth looking into even if it becomes a small part of your marketing plan.

5)      Encourage & Reward

Like most things people need a reason to review your company so give them one offer fantastic customer services and outstanding work man ship or products and your be doing fine.

Its becoming more and more difficult to hide from people you might have annoyed or given a bad experience to. Try and encourage good service and encourage people to review your local pages and you will have more of a chance to land local business.

6)      Multiple Domains

I don’t really like this tactic as I feel it can cost more money than it can bring in but for some people it might be worth having a go. If your looking to rank for a range of counties then look into buying a range of domain names and make them all unique and local to that county.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure you have unique content and the time to update all of these sites if you don’t have time then don’t take the task on.

Tip: Remember you can set up GEO Targeting within Google Web Master Tools

7)       Join the Square

Sites like foursquare are brilliant for local companies so make sure your on there and make sure your checking in when ever you can. A lot of people still good old directories so again give this a try sites like free index are becoming more and more popular.

Try finding local business directories where you can list your company in the county or town this will again help tell Google where you are based and in turn help increase your local SEO results.

8)      Expose your Address

Like any SEO keyword if you want to be ranked well for a local term you need to show it and you need to have it listed throughout your website. Try and ensure your address has a permanent fixture throughout all of your website, a good place for this could be the footer.

Mix the location and keyword into the main body of the website and other parts of the website naturally this means make sure you don’t make it look like spam and make sure its all relevant to the page.

9)      Stay Social

So you have made your website and made it local that’s brill but how will people find you on social media sites? Ensure you add locations to all social media sites and highlight when posting updates this again will help ensure Google knows about your profile and knows its local again helping within SEO

10)  Don’t limit your customer database

A lot of companies I speak to operate worldwide or within the UK but are looking to promote locally to boost business this is fine and will work well but be sure not to alienate customers, what ever you talk about mention you do it nationwide as well or you might struggle to make bigger sales which in the long term could help your business.

This will heavily depend on the type of service or product you offer and might not be relevant to some industries just be sure to take this into account if it is.

Thanks for reading :) I am Kevin Wiles an SEO consultant based in Coventry