Ranking Tactics for Local Search #smx

David Mihm, Designer & Local Search Marketer, davidmihm.com

What local search looks like

  • the 10-pack
  • driven by google.com, yahoo.com, etc.

Organic search ecosystem

  • Google
  • Yahoo/Bing

Local search ecosystem

A little more complicated…

local search engines

Local search ranking factors

  • Verified local business listing
  • Off-page/off-listing criteria
  • Customer reviews
  • Traditional on-page criteria
  • 7/ top 10 are specific to local

Developing your local mindset

  • SEO is about optimizing sites, local is about optimizing location
  • Consistency: name, address, phone number are critical (don’t use tracking phone numbers, don’t stuff keywords into business name)
  • Building out business profile, you’re not creating an ad

Local Search

  • location (verification, claiming, off-site references, categoreies, reviews)
  • website


  • Website (on-page, title tags, link building)

Mike Blumenthal, Owner & Local Marketing Expert, Blumenthals

How Google Ranks your listing

  • Web page totals in Maps (citations)
  • Geo references and reviews
  • Business name
  • Business category
  • content

The “new” PageRank

  • Score of website
  • # links referring to business
  • Highest score of those links

How Google scores your website

  1. In-bound links from documents that mention the business with full or partial name and/or address
  2. in-bound links with business name in anchor text
  3. business name in title tag
  4. all or part of business name in domain


  1. Choose your business name and domain carefully for use in local
  2. Think about gaining inbound links with your business name as anchor text
  3. Be sure your title tags reflect your name
  4. Strike a balance between optimizing your site for local and Google Maps

Mary Bowling, SEO, Director of Search Marketing, seOverflow

  • Sometimes the local 10-pack is a 3-pack
  • 10-pack isn’t exactly the Maps results
  • You cannot be in the 10-pack if you don’t have a Google Local Business Listing

Optimize your Maps listings

  • Use your main keyword phrase and complementary terms in your profile descriptions
  • Grab the long tail by including:
    – your products and services
    – the brands you carry
    – the locations you serve
  • Choose – or create – the right categories (choose two/three existing categories, then create the remaining two/three that apply to your local listing)
  • Create attributes (other information not already included – but DO NOT KEYWORD STUFF)

Create citations

  • AKA web references
  • They don’t have to include a link
  • Mine competitors’ web pages (would that site also be willing to give you a citation?)

Get reviews!

  • Reviews are exactly what people (and Google) are looking for
  • Google pulls reviews from across the web (so it doesn’t matter where your customers leave them)
  • Come up with a system to encourage reviews by happy customers
  • Yahoo has mentioned after a certain number of reviews, they’ll start figuring out whether your reviews are positive or negative

Your website and the 10 pack

  • Use your website to build trust and reinforce you LBL info by:
    – linking to your Maps lisitng
    –  get links from local websites (Center of Commerce,e tc.)

On-page optimization

  • Add location!!
  • Place full street address and phone number on every page of your website
  • Optimizae your Contact/About page for business name/location


  • Use same name, address, phone number everywhere
  • Got to sources of business data and standardize
  • Get listed on local directories

Check for Location Trust

  • Check data providers
  • Search for your business name
  • Search for your phone number
  • Search for your address

How to track the pack – how to track the 10-pack with Google Analytics

Will Scott, President, Search Influence

Barnacle SEO: attaching oneself to a large fixed object, then waiting for customers to float by in the current.

Local search: how?

  • “Web references” = links, Links = trust
    – Yellow Pages
    – Local directories
  • Links aren’t critical – the correlating factors are name, address, and phone

Places to submit:

  • Wire Fan
  • Mixx
  • Yahoo! Local
  • City Search
  • Super Pages
  • Insider Pages
  • Yelp
  • Yellow Pages
  • BrownBook.com

How can you do the same

  • Maximize local listings with SEO
    – Keywords in titles and copy
    – Links to local profiles (even low-quality links will do, leverage social bookmarking/directories)

Andrew Shotland, Proprietor, Local SEO Guide

Top SEO’d IYPs (Internet Yellow Pages)

  1. SuperPages
  2. CitySearch
  3. Yelp
  4. Yahoo Local
  5. InsiderPages
  6. Yellow Pages
  7. Biz Journals
  8. AreaConnect
  9. MagicYellow
  10. Switchboard
  11. Here are more

Rankings by site type

  1. Local Business – 32%
  2. IYP – 27%
  3. Vertical – 17%
  4. Article – 6%
  5. Local Vertical – 5%
  6. LYP – 5%
  7. Natl Chain – 4%
  8. Unrelated – 2%
  9. Gov – 1%
  10. Edu – 1%
  11. Social – <1%
  12. Video – <1%

Which Yellow Pages sites should you use for which categories?


  • Google’s Local Listing bulk upload instructions
  • Choose a certain number of “barnacle” or IYP sites, because you’ll want to continuously update them.
  • Like traditional SEO, keep profiles “fresh”. For example, in Google Maps, update coupons, photos, videos, etc. especially if your customers are used to it.
  • What social media sites are good for local businesses? Twitter for a company like a pizza place, for a company like a plastic surgeon: Facebook. For a more professional company, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the easiest SM site to talk people into, and to ease them into others.
  • Vertical is important for review sites (Urbanspoon and Yelp is mandatory for restaurants, TripAdvisor for hotels)
  • Barnacle sites outrank you: you can get ahead of yourself.
  • Other important sites that will get picked up by a ton of others: Openlist, Zvents, Local.com, Mojopages, Immercifind
  • How to prevent local listings sabotage? Make your listing consistent across every IYP and every submission.