Optimizing your site for search engines can be very hard, considering that you are competing with big companies from around the world. The answer: stop competing with the world and start your SEO locally. Any seasoned veteran will tell you that is the answer for starting your SEO campaign. Also, Google tells us that almost all consumers online want to look for local brands or services. With that said, how can you target your SEO for local rankings?

Here are some of our tips and tricks:

Create Or Claim Your Local Directory Listing

If you want to start anywhere, you should start with Google Places. It’s free to simply go and create your business profile there and put yourself in Google maps. After that, go do the same thing for the Bing and Yahoo listing counterparts as well as with other major search engines and listings (Yelp counterparts).

Don’t stop with just claiming them; make sure you fill up all the necessary info especially in your profile: your name, services, products, address, etc. There are also many other listings out there that scrape up info automatically. Claim all of them and make sure all the info in those page listing are correct. Simply Google your business name and you will see all these listings that may or may not have your correct information (phone number, website address, etc.).

Now, don’t leave just yet. You already claimed these listings, but you have to manage them too. Once you actually login to these in a regular manner, they will gain more juice and authority. It’s also a way to address those who comment questions or issues in these profile pages. The more you answer customer comments, the more you get a better standing in search engines.

Build Links For Local Listing

There are some tricks for building links that would especially get you relevance for local keyword search rankings. Here are some of our suggestions

Create Testimonial for Local Brands

Of course local brands want positive reviews from other companies. This is big help for them. Just look for the ones that you actually like and give them some love. Doctors, Roofers, and even Restaurants are all good candidates. They don’t have to be directly related to your business. Offer them a positive testimonial or review and have them link to your website.

Sponsor Local Groups

Local groups such as charitable organizations, religious groups, or even student clubs are all things you could sponsor with an affordable amount. If you can sponsor a real school organization, then you can get links from a .edu or .org website from their locale. This is a very powerful way of getting locally relevant links that will surely boost your local rankings.

As a last piece of advice before we end, just remember that all SEO should operate from the same principle that Google originally intended for it: it should be genuine marketing. If you, for example, want to sponsor a group or another brand, make sure you actually like them. Just be genuine and keep those listings up to date with your information and you should see results with your local rankings.