When talking with clients around town, I've been reminded that local niches are incredibly contentious - an issue that I've wanted to address for a while. For many search engine optimizaton consultants, local search terms are a fast and easy way to show results to a client. For many businesses, this is exactly what they need; if you sell widgets in kelowna, chances are, kelowna widgets is a great thing to optimize for. Because national brands usually don't optimize for these terms, there's less competition - bango, the local provider is served. This is actually a win-win situation: the local vendor is rewarded for optimizing, and the search engine surfer finds exactly what they were looking for.
As a local business owner in a major area, things aren't as cut and dry. Large chains and brands may be optimizing for your niche, and certainly the natural competition in your area will be cutting into your rankings. What can you do to maximize your position?
- Make sure you're optimizing for a variety of local terms, not just the first one that comes to mind. While "Kelowna widgets" might be a great term with lots of traffic, "buy kelowna widgets" might have less traffic, but also less competition.
- Target local sites and directories to get listed in your targetted directory. Regional versions of the big three search engines put a lot of emphasis on locality when indexing.
- Make sure that you start a blog, and start posting regularly with relevant local information. This keyword rich source of news can help drive traffic to your site.
- Make sure your listing in Google Local is up to date. Search around for other local search providers that are relevant to your niche
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