This trend has given way to the “near me” search query – Google “coffee shop near me” while in Queens, and Google will fetch coffee shops in your local area.According to digital marketing expert Jordan Kasteler, 1 in 3 of all Google searches has local intent.This means users search for and expect local information in SERPs, and now more than ever, priority should be given to optimizing on-site and off-site strategies for local SEO.

Below are a few things to note when optimizing for local SEO in Year.

1:Title tags and meta descriptions still work
Title tags and meta descriptions are on-site HTML elements which reflect the content of your page, and are shown in SERPs and browser tabs as text.With Google increasing the width of the SERP to 600px, the length of title tags falls between 40 and 50 characters (best practices) while meta descriptions should be a maximum of 160 characters.Titles display what your page is about to both visitors and search engine crawlers, while meta descriptions summarize the content of your page.Your title tags and meta descriptions must include the keywords you are trying to rank for, for example, “cheap hotels in Las Vegas” (title tag includes a keyword and locality).Titles and meta descriptions must be unique, compelling and descriptive, as this can affect click-through rates from search results to your page.

2:Keyword research
Keyword research represents the very foundation of your SEO campaign and when done properly, keywords can drive traffic and rankings for your web pages.Keywords represent terms and phrases people type as search queries to find local businesses.Keyword research for local SEO involves optimizing your web pages for keywords with geo-modifiers – i.e. place names and locations.For a furniture making business, a generic, non-local keyword might be “furniture makers” but for businesses optimizing for local SEO, an acceptable keyphrase would be “furniture makers Portland” or “furniture makers Portland Oregon”.To optimize your keyword research for local SEO,brainstorm keywords or phrases with a geo-modifier that customers might use when searching for a business like yours.Run generated phrases or words through Google Keyword Planner or to get keyword ideas together with monthly search traffic stats.

3:Optimize for Google My Business and Bing Places for Business
Google My Business, formerly known as Google Places, allows you to display your business hours, phone number and directions to your office on Google Search and Maps.This service is free and will aid your SEO efforts, as your business is listed when customers search for your services.When optimizing your Google My Business page,remember to upload your business logo and photos of your business (staff,office building, etc.).For an online business with no physical location, you can hide your address, but be sure to fill in and validate every other piece of information entered.A misplaced phone number or wrong address can result in you losing customers and revenue.

4:Local structured data
Structured data, sometimes referred to as schema markup, are codes which are added to websites toprovide search engines with in-depth information about your products, your business offering, prices of your products,location-based offerings and much more.There are various options for businesses when implementing Schema markup, you can optimize your website according to your business type (dentist, travel agency,etc.),events (business listing in upcoming events) and location (location markup).Google is forcing marketers to use schema markup and is rewarding websites who use this feature as structured data helps crawlers understand your web pages and the content in it.

The above points are a drop in the ocean for optimizing for local SEO, but implementing the points above will have you generating results and better conversion rates.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.