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Who This Is For:

This is for businesses that operate locally, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to have a physical store / location that people come into. There are lot of service based businesses that are run out of a house, which is totally fine. You don’t need a physical store to do local SEO, at least not on your main site.
A physical address is required for Google Local Pages – If you want to show up in the 7-pack / map listings, you do need to have a physical address.
3 Types of Local Assets:

Doing local SEO involves taking control of and ranking 3 types of properties. These include:
1) Your Website
2) Your Google Local Page
3) Your Alternative Properties

Let’s break each down and how to rank each one:

1) Your Website
This is your main property, and it’s your chance to do whatever you want with it. For instance, with your Google Local page, you need to have a physical address for each location you want to rank. But for your website, you can make as many landing pages / locations as you want.
You’ll want to build out landing pages for any city, suburb, etc you want to target, and put all your keywords on them.
For instance:
yourwebsite.com/chicago/
yourwebsite.com/naperville/
yourwebsite.com/glendale/
etc.

In terms of ranking, ranking your main site isn’t any different than ranking any other site. Do your local keyword research, optimize your on-page, and then do your awesome link building. Get natural links from great directories, local organizations, social, etc. (more on that in a bit…)

2) Your Google Local Page

Google has changed the name about a bazillion times (Google Local, Google Places, Google-My-Business, Google Plus+ etc), but now it’s called “Google My Business” but we’ll just refer to it at the moment as your Google Local page.

This is the page that will come up in maps and show up in maps and the local 7 pack.

You need to either create or claim this page and you can do that here at the Google My Business center. Usually what happens is you will need to confirm that you own the business by either phone or a post card that they will mail to you.

This is ranked by blended mix of organic signals + NAP citations. This means your ranking is determined by both how good the SEO is on your website & how many citations you have + the quality of them.

Citations are super super duper important, and when we talk about citations, we mean places on the internet where you name, address, and phone number combination appear (NAP / Citations = Name, Address, Phone Number). You can get “citations” and links by submitting to the following places:

The Big Ego Citation Directories (Yelp, Yellowpages, etc)
Local Directories
Niche Directories
Social Citations
Rich Media Citations
Now, it’s important that you get really quality directory citations and you don’t just go blasting your site. This all has to be done manually and yes its time consuming. If you want us to do all your  directory citations contact us.

3) Your Alternative Properties

Alternative properties are all the other properties that you can rank that are not your main website or Google Local page. You don’t have to just count on your website to rank, you can rank tons of properties!

This is awesome, because it’s like pouring gasoline on the fire – it gives you an unfair advantage. You can rank multiple listings for your keywords. Most people forget about these or don’t use them so if you do, you’ll be totally ahead of everyone else.

These alternative properties include: Yelp Pages, Facebook Pages, Youtube Videos, LinkedIn etc.

You can rank these the same way you would anything else – put your keywords in the title tags and h1s, and send links to them. The thing is currently about these sites is that they all have huge domain authority, so you can be more aggressive / a bit looser with the links that you send at them. Sometimes they will just rank right away, other times you’ll need to throw some high DA links at them.

The double-whammy about this is that you can also link to your website from these – and that link juice will transfer to your site, creating a big circle of link juice!

All in all your local SEO set up should look something like this, with all 3 main elements: Your main website with all your landing pages, you Google Local page set up and optimized, and your alternative properties.

Here’s a diagram:

local-seo-diagram