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Get Your SEO In The Right Neighborhood

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I don’t have to tell you that the local search industry is growing like crazy.  The competition for ranking in Google and other search engines is getting particularly fierce as more and more entrants take the field.  And with the growth of smartphones, you now have to worry about your mobile rankings too.  While it sounds scary, there are still plenty of opportunities for smart marketers to use data to outfox their competition when it comes to local SEO.

In local, most companies are still playing with cities and states as the base of their main keywords.  For example, every yellow pages site out there has a URL called “New York City Restaurants” but not nearly as many are targeting neighborhood-specific queries.  If you search Google right now, you’ll see about 1.2MM URLs in its index that target “New York City Restaurants”, but only about 4,000 that target “Tribeca Restaurants”.  And if you looked for URLs that targeted similar queries for zip codes or nearby landmarks, you would see similar small numbers.

So what does this mean to you?  One of the keys to playing the long-tail local SEO game is to expand your “keyword footprint” by providing URLs on your site that target niche queries such as neighborhood and zip code searches.  And the fewer sites that target these queries, the easier it is to rank well for them.  Now it can be tricky to add that much content to your site and get it indexed and ranked properly, but if you do not have the content, you have no chance of ranking.

In mobile, we are seeing Google in particular showing results in tighter and tighter clusters around the location of the mobile browser.  This means that to rank well for mobile queries your website/URL needs to be showing signals to Google that it is in fact close to the location of the person with the phone.  One way to do this is to use highly specific keywords that reference the desired location such as a neighborhood.

While SEO is an ever-evolving game, if you don’t have the data, you’re not even in the ballpark.

LocalSEOGuide is Andrew Shotland’s blog about local search engine optimization and local marketing trends.  Andrew provides “national” and local seo services to enterprise-level sites, startups and small businesses around the world.