7 Concrete Steps to Improve Your Local Search Results
It’s old news that 84% of buyer’s start there search online [wink wink, nudge nudge], that offline advertising places are losing revenue that, that real estate blogging is hot as ever.
All of this begs the question of managing your online presence, winning the local search engine results war.
But it requires a proactive strategy.
What exactly is your marketing strategy for local search?
What Is Local Real Estate Search? And Why Should I Care?
If you live in Nashua, New Hampshire, for instance, and someone types in “Real estate Nashua New Hampshire,” that’s a local search.It doesn’t matter if they live in South Florida or West Washington or smack dab in Nashua. You want to dominate the search engine results page for those “local” keywords.
Here are seven concrete steps you can take to improve your local organic search results.
1. Make sure that you have a crawler friendly web site
The first step in improving your business performance in local search engines is to make sure that the search engines can easily crawl your site, and identify your business keywords.
This means you minimize the use of tables, and avoid deeply nested tables. Make sure that your business name and address are featured prominently on the page as text [in fact, make sure your business appears twice on every page] and not hidden from the crawlers in an image file.
Your page title should include your business name, address and key words. Place an “H1” header near the top of the page that also has your business name, address, and key words.
2. Add 10 pages of content to your website.
Any website that adds 10 pages of relevant content will get a boost in search engine visibility. It’s one of the easiest steps in an SEO campaign. Search engines love content. The more tightly focused, keyword rich [read: focused on your local market or markets] content you have on your website, the easier it is for search engines to understand what your website is about and categorize it appropriately.
A blog is a great way to add content to your site.
3. Use videos to supplement your search engine rankings
Great to see agents already seeing real world success with this strategy.
4. Take charge of your local listings
Yahoo! local search will give you a free 5-page Web site just for listing your company with their service.
Google’s local search service is more like a classified directory, but you still have direct control over how your listing appears.
5. Check out your competition
Do a local search for your business keywords (for example: houses, San Francisco, CA) and see who your competition is.
Find out who is linking to your competitors and investigate whether you can get the same sites to link to your business.
The links can be determined by going to Yahoo and typing “linkdomain:” and then your competitor’s web site (i.e. linkdomain:www.yourcompetitorssite.com). Click on “inlinks” in the results page.
Check inlinks for your site as well, and see who is linking to you. Make sure that the information on those sites is correct, and contact them if it isn’t.
6. Get your business rated
Ask your satisfied customers to write reviews and rate your business at Google, Yahoo, and MSN. More importantly, try to get them to use the same keywords that you use in the business description and on your web site as part of their review. Don’t add too many reviews over a short period of time, and make sure that the reviews are unique.
7. Solicit local links
Find the web directories that are local to your area, and ask them to link to your web site. Contact your local chambers of commerce and ask them to link to your business from their web site.
Of course there is much more you can do. And this only includes your organic search: I didn’t touch on paid online searches. But this is a great way to boost your local rankings if you haven’t done so yet.
I’d love to hear what you think.