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With the latest moves by Google to penalize over optimised sites and the ever increasing reliance on a more social, local experience for the web user, it is quite apparent that local, targeted SEO is eventually going to take over the world of search engine optimization. In fact, a local SEO strategy is one of the most effective modern SEO techniques available to the small business owner.

Whenever individuals do a keyword search followed by a local area modifier, some of the results which take up the top of the list will include businesses which are listed within Google places. With this observation, it would be such a great opportunity for business owners and internet marketers alike to incorporate local SEO techniques to their campaigns.

Knowing several effective strategies in increasing traffic through local SEO could somewhat be of a great help towards any linkbuilding campaign. But the question is, how will you be able to do such thing? There are already lots of businesses which have implemented local SEO strategies in their campaigns. This is because it allows them to focus on a more targeted range of prospects and gain access to those markets which have less competition but are highly responsive.

If you are considering local SEO techniques as part of your promotional strategy, then here are some of the most effective means that will help you in increasing traffic through local SEO for your business.

1. Look for the ideal local keywords for your business

Keywords are the ones which determine the overall ranking of your business in the SERPs. By thorough evaluation and some comprehensive keyword research and selection, it will be possible to come up with the ideal local keywords for your business. Typically, go for the long tailed ones which have a fair enough amount of traffic and is less competitive. Also, you have to take note that the arrangement of the wordings of a particular keyword returns different results in the SERPs.

For example, Maidstone local SEO differs from local SEO Maidstone. That is why, you have to be careful with the keywords you choose or else you will find yourself ending up in the worst situation possible, putting in lots of effort but not getting the visitors in return.

2. Get listed in Google places and other local business directories

Business directories such as Google places play a vital role towards any local SEO promotional activity. Establishing a business presence through local business directories ensures greater visibility towards potential customers and enhances a business’ rankings in the local searches.

To get started with Google places, you simply have to claim your business listing and fill in all of the necessary information needed. Also, don’t forget to include a brief but appealing description of your business along with a link towards your website. Apart from Google places, some of the local business directories which you should take advantage include Yelp, InsiderPages, FourSquare and YellowPages.

3. Take advantage of image SEO for your business photos

People love to see sites having quality images as compared to those which don’t. Also, images give them the opportunity to have a sneak peek of your business and what it looks like even before they even get there. Due to this, it is a great thing to upload photos of your business in the listings as well as working to incorporate an image SEO strategy.

Photos incorporate an impressive effect towards any SEO strategy if done right. An effective image optimization technique includes incorporating your main keyword inside your images by way of image alt tags. The good thing is, only a few implement such trick and tend to disregard the impressive results that an image SEO technique could bring.

4. Encourage user reviews – good or bad

User reviews not only build up the reputation of a local online business. It also helps in improving its rankings in the local searches as well. It is by reviews that potential clients could know how well the services or products the business had offered as well as how it met the expectations of its clients.

So, what does local search means to local businesses?

Google has understood the need of several users for detailed local search results whenever they are looking for some great products or services within their own vicinity. That is the reason why local business listings always show up whenever someone performs a search tagged along with a local area modifier. Also, statistics have shown that local searches account for up to 20% of all the searches found within the search engines.

The answer is quite simple. Local searches give each of the small local businesses the opportunity to grow and have their own decent place in the market away from their huge online rivals. And by increasing traffic through local SEO, such feat can be done easily and effectively.

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Posted by Steve Rendell

This guest blog post was contributed by Steve Rendell, Director of Paper Free Billing, one of the leading invoice software providers. You can connect with Steve Rendell on Google+.

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