Local SEO is short for localized search engine optimization. In other words, it’s the process of optimizing your website so that people can find you when they search for local businesses or news. Local SEO is extremely important for people who have physical locations or offer services only in a local area. Local SEO is imperative to driving traffic to your business location, while standard SEO is all about driving traffic to your website.

There are several important factors that go into local search engine optimization. These include both on-site and off-site techniques. Let’s look at a couple of important pieces to the local SEO puzzle.

Local Keyword Research

When working on local SEO, you need to know what search terms people are using when they look for businesses like yours. Google offers keyword tools to help you discover what phrases are most often used by searchers. You need to make sure that your keywords not only use the right terms, but also include your specific location. In big cities, you may have to use more specific locations that include your neighborhood or district of the city.

Local Directories

Do some digging online and find out what sites your competition uses to promote their business. Google Places is an absolute must, but depending on the area of the country in which you live, you may need to use other directories such as Yelp, Kudzu, Yahoo!, and the like. Encourage your current customers to leave you reviews on these sites after you have your listings live. Often, offering incentives or discounts for reviews is the best way to generate these important ratings on popular local sites.

Social Media and Mobile Marketing

Utilize Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter for an extra boost to your local SEO. Make sure that your profile on these sites includes all of the localized keywords people may search for. Also take the time to set up accounts for popular mobile-based applications such as FourSquare. All of this links your business to your location in search results, thus boosting your local search rankings and driving business to your physical location.