Happy New Year! This marks the beginning of our blog series learning how to do local SEO yourself. We hope you find the information valuable!

The term local SEO is becoming more and more popular nowadays.  Reason being, in my opinion, is that small business owners are starting to look at the importance on getting found on the front page of major search engines for certain keywords for the sole purpose to bring in new business.  They are starting to see the true value of ranking well on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and review websites such as Yelp.

This is how I would define local SEO:

The process by which either an individual or agency performs industry standard practices for a local business attempting to rank for certain keywords in Google+ Local and traditional SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages), and other search engines.

Here are a couple screen shots pointing that point out how local results are integrated into Google (you can click on either image to view the larger size):

Google Maps 7 Pack

Local search with local intent

It’s important to look at certain algorithm updates that Google has done in 2012, most notably the Venice update and the merge of Google Places over to Google+ Local.  Google’s Venice update has two main points of focus.  They are quoted below, if you would like to read the entire post, you can read it in its entirety at Google’s official search blog.

 

Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.

 

Improved local results. We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.

 

Simply put, when you perform a search on Google you will see more and more local results for your search query, without having to put in the city you are located in.  Try it for yourself, open up a new window or tab in and do a generic search on Google for automotive repair or personal injury attorney.

There you have it, Google’s Venice update in action.  You should be seeing results that are targeted to the city you are located in.  Prior to the Venice update, large companies dominated traditional SERP’s because they had a ton of traffic, a well established brand name, fresh content consistently, and links galore.  The Venice update helped level the playing field, allowing local companies to get a slice of the pie.

In order to get on the “maps” portion of Google you needed to either claim or submit your Google Places listing for your business.  Recently, Google merged all Google Places listings with Google+ and are now calling it Google+ Local.  As of January 1, 2013, you can still edit and claim listings in Google Places, but it is not recommended as eventually it will all roll over to Google+ Local.

So how do you do local SEO?  That is the aim of this blog series.  I will show you how to do your own local SEO, from start to finish.  I’m not asking for any type of compensation, the only thing I ask is that if you find these resources valuable, then please share them.  Twice a week, every week, there will be new posts with a how-to video, supplanted with a text excerpt of the vidoe, and also a link to screenshots.  The first month of these how-to’s will be discussing the following:

Some of the evolution of local SEO has already been talked about in this post.  The evolution and future of local SEO post will go into greater detail from the beginning of when Google started to incorporate local results into SERP’s, structured microdata, authorship markup, and the future of local SEO.

If you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to the email list on the upper right hand side of the page so that you will be get the latest blog posts first.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask them in the comments section!

Thanks for reading,

Blake