10 Steps to Select Local Keywords & Optimize a Local Website

by on May 23, 2010 · 10 comments

I’ve asked friend and SEO expert Jeff Howard to do a series of blog posts for Expand2Web on optimizing your website for local search results. Jeff has created some great content for small business owners and consultants that I’d like to share with everyone here. Here is the first post of the series:

local map results

The goal of the next several posts is to demonstrate an organized approach for optimization of a local website. While other facets of local SEO are important such as content development, link building, and optimizing map listing, this series will strictly focus on the complete process of improving a website’s ability to capture locally targeted traffic through organic searches.

Before thinking about the state of your website, or what keywords will represent your business, here are a two items to consider:

  1. Do you have Analytics installed? Since the likelihood is that during this process you will be making changes to your website, now is an opportune time to install analytics. Or, if analytics is already installed, now is a good time to take notes on the past few month’s traffic levels. Especially search traffic. The end game of this series is to stimulate business through your website, without analytics or knowledge of your current web traffic it is difficult to prove if the local optimization changes made an impact. Google Analytics is the marquee provider at this point in time.
  2. Can you update your website? Decide how website changes will be made. If you do not make website changes yourself, determine sooner than later who is going to adjust your website pages for SEO. This series will demonstrate how to structure optimization changes so that it is straight forward for a web developer implement. Most SEO changes are not going to require heavy coding. For the most part changes can be made to the existing website structure. Tell prospective web developers you will have a list of SEO changes in about 1-2 weeks that consist of meta data, and content changes. Worst case you will be adding a few extra pages. Best part is you now have a deadline for creating a list of optimization changes in 1-2 weeks.

Here is a list of topics that will be covered in this post series:

  1. 10 Steps to Select Local Keywords & Optimize a Local Website
  2. The Elements of Keyword Research for Local Based Websites
  3. How to Draft a List of Local Keywords for a Small Business
  4. Tips for Using Google’s Keyword Research Tool in a Local Context
  5. Measuring Local Search Keyword Competition
  6. The Importance of Mapping Website Pages for Local Optimization
  7. Connecting a Small Business Website with Localized Keywords
  8. Auditing Individual Website Pages for Local Search Optimization
  9. Making Sure All Website Copy Supports Local SEO
  10. Local SEO Tips for Site-Wide Elements of a Website

About the Author

This is a guest post by Jeff Howard. Jeff has delivered SEO results for major consumer oriented websites all the way down to local businesses, and writes a column for Search Engine Guide.

Learn how to create, customize and optimize WordPress Websites for your small business in the Expand2Web Expert Course.

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Jeff has written 21 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelsey Weir May 27, 2010 at 9:46 am

Does website content need to be updated? We are adding blogs but does Google recognize active changes of content on the website? Or does that erase all the history Google has created with our website?


Harmony May 31, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Hi Kelsey,

I notice you have not received a reply and since I was checking out the article and I am in the SEO biz, I thought to reply…YES. Websites certainly are indexed by Google and the gang and they would be more often if they did update content.


Don Campbell June 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Hi Kelsey,
Whenever you update your blog it will “ping” the search engines, such as Google and they will at some point come back and crawl your site. It does not erase any history.

Once it discovers your website, the Google crawler will establish a “schedule” for crawling your site based on how frequently you update it, and some other factors.

It’s a good idea to verify your site in Google Webmaster Tools to let Google know about your site.


Don Campbell June 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

@Harmony – thanks for jumping in with your advice!


Harmony June 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Yours was much detailed much better! 🙂


scott June 30, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Why are they doing this? Clearly pay per click isn’t bringing in cash for the local business and they are trying something else. Will they start to charge for local listings? More interesting though-how will they charge? Surely local businesses wont want to be paying too much?


Don Campbell September 3, 2010 at 11:53 am

@Scott – I don’t think Google plans to charge the business for a local listing (also called Places Page) but they are experimenting with add-ons that they will charge for, like the Enhanced Business Center Listings.


Jason June 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

Well the title of the Article us “10 Steps to Select Local Keywords & Optimize a Local Website” but I don’t see any 10 steps here. Can anyone help me about how to optimize in local listing for different keywords like we do for websites by creating landing pages etc. I will be grateful.


Don Campbell June 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Hi Jason,
There are 10 different blog posts to this series, each of them covering a different element of selecting your local keywords and optimizing your site. This article is just the intro and contains links to the other articles.


Craig Thomas December 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

Its really a useful article for local seo. I think – Connecting a Small Business Website with Localized Keywords – will be best points for local seo. Yhank you Jeff for sharing this article.


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