Continue to Part II: Google Local Rank»
IntroductionOptimizing a website for a local audience is done much in the same way that any site is optimized. Link building, content, and meta and alt tags are all ways to insure that a site can be crawled by search engines' spiders and rank highly. The higher a website ranks, the more traffic and sales typically result. Optimization is always an ongoing process and one that always needs to be monitored and adjusted.
CostsIf done in-house or by yourself, the costs of local search engine optimization are negligible. A site that is just starting may want to invest in some links from other sites, which can be purchased for perhaps $100 for a month or two's use. Professional SEO can cost more, running a few hundred dollars initially, and monthly payments of perhaps $20 and up, depending on the service.
TimeframeThe time to properly optimize a site depends on the size of the site, but for a site with 10 pages, local SEO could take a few hours for the content to be rewritten and some code installed. Local SEO is an ongoing process and time should be spent each month to manage accounts and check links. The link building part of the process takes much longer, and is in fact an ongoing process.
Action PlanThe first step in local SEO is making sure the content of the site is fresh and relevant. Including keywords, meta tags, and alt-image tags are great ways to move up the local search rankings. The keywords should be added in a natural way so that the text is easy to read and doesn't end up sounding like 'SEO' text. Joining a link exchange is a great way webmasters use to trade links between each other, boosting each other's sites in the process. Many highly rated sites also sell links from their sites for monthly fees. This can be a quick way to get ranked for sites just starting out. You can use these for a few months until you build up a bigger network of links, then cancel your contract.
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