A few things that matter now in local SEO.

Curious what makes Google serve up your website to someone searching for what you have to offer in your city?

I recently went to a seminar on SEO for local businesses hosted by Anvil Media here in Portland and got some helpful insights, and I thought I’d share the highlights with you. Here they are:

Consistency is SO important.

Especially when it comes to these three things: your business name, your physical address, and your phone numbers. As much as possible, you want those to appear the exact same way across the web.

For example, when you are setting up online listings and profiles, decide in advance whether you want to write your business name as The Cleanse Collective, or Cleanse Collective, or The Cleanse Collective LLC – pick one way and stick with it.

Create a solid Google+ presence.

If you want Google+ to give your site attention, you can’t ignore it’s baby. That baby is still pretty messy in some ways, but also growing strong. You want to set up a Page for your business and a personal profile for yourself as the business owner and verify that. You don’t have to share much personal info at all on that profile. Fill in the info on your business page as completely as possible, with a description, photos, office hours etc.

Your website & its ecosystem = visibility

A lot of factors for search rankings these days come from outside your own website, for example from social media and review sites. From the perspective of someone searching, that makes a lot of sense. It lowers the chances that you’re presented with a bunch of optimized (maybe too optimized) sites, and instead takes into consideration whether other people on the internet think you’re worth referring to.

Your website still matters, too, especially the landing page. If your business has a local focus, you want your city and state to appear in the right spots there.

It’s a process, and it’s becoming more human-friendly

SEO is an ever-changing field, and because of that you’ll have to keep tending to it if you want consistent results.

What’s positive is that Google+ truly wants to make search great and is getting very smart about not falling for tricks. Having relevant and helpful content on your website and sharing it freely online seems to be the best long-term strategy.

A good starting place for taking the pulse of your site and seeing how you show up online right now seems to be Moz Local – you can head over there and click on Check Your Listing Score. Let me know what you find!

{Photo by Stew Dean on Flickr.}

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