We’ve recently had the opportunity and privilege to work with several local companies here in the Portland Metro area to help improve their local SEO results. In our 3+ years of business, the opportunity to work with truly local companies has only presented itself a handful of times. Local SEO has similarities to the ‘general’ SEO play but also has some very distinct differences.  Here are 5 strategies we’re implementing for each of our clients right out of the gate.

1. Create and target a location based keyword list, which in our case includes phrasing utilizing Portland, Beaverton, Tigard, etc. We’ll include these in titles, content, metadata, and site interlinking in as natural and organic a way as possible. We want to target keywords for better Google ranking but we want to write our content for our users. It’s a fine balancing act.

2. Create location based landing pages within our client’s site for each unique physical address where our clients are doing business. Making sure that NAP (name, address, phone) are listed exactly the same across all location pages is very important. We’ll use our location based keyword list to rewrite metadata, content, titles, alt attributes, and links.

3. Make sure our clients have Google+ Pages that link to their location pages. If you want to be recognized by Google what better way than to use their tools and social networks? This is a very important step…but more importantly we’re linking back to our location pages from our Google+ Page.

4. Find relevant local directories and make sure our clients are listed there. Are there associations, chambers, reviews sites (claim your business), that we can be listed on? The key here is to try to get LOCAL, same city address, as our client’s locations. Basically, this is local link building. We’ll also see if we can get links from our client’s local customers and partners, keeping in mind that a link from a Portland based site to our Portland location page is best.

5. Add local images and testimonials on each location based landing page that we create. Include an image of the office, the staff, and the work environment. Use location based keywords in the alt attributes for each image. Include testimonials that are from customers that are specific to that location, and give a link, if possible, to that customer. Maybe they will reciprocate the link.

Bonus Local SEO strategy:

6. “Geo-tagging, check-in.” We plan to setup our clients so their locations will be geo-tagged on social networks. This might come in the form of incentives to customers who check-in. “Be entered to win a cool prize by checking in at our location.” This will create social buzz and activity lending more authority to your local presence.

These are just a sample of the activities we’ll be doing to start our local search engine optimization effort for our clients. Are you a local business that has experience in ranking well in local search? What strategies worked best for you? We’d love to hear from you.