For many small or local businesses, geographic boundaries play a factor on the customers they can serve. So, to ensure your business is reaching the right audience on the web within your target city, county or state it’s important to have a solid strategy in place for local search engine optimization (SEO).

There’s obviously the on-page aspects of optimizing for local search, which includes consistent usage of geographic search phrases/local terms within your on-page meta data and page content, including your ongoing blogging efforts. But another crucial area that will aid your domination of local search are all the things you can optimize for off of your website.

Here’s a look at 5 easy ways to start improving your local organic search presence today!

1. Register With Google Places

The staple for local search for any business is securing a presence on Google Places. It’s free to create an account and easily takes under 15 minutes of your time. For step-by-step instructions on creating an optimized listing read Tips On Using Google Places For Advanced Search Engine Optimization.

2. Claim Your Listing With Yahoo! & Bing

In addition to registering your business with Google Places, take the time to also secure your listing with Yahoo! Local and Bing Business Portal. Both offer free listing options and are another opportunity to be found in search and gain an additional inbound link to your site.

3. Submit Your Site To Other Local Directories

There’s a boatload of local directories on the web these days that can be valuable to your position in local search rankings, but it can be hard to determine which ones are worth the time to complete a listing with. Our good friends over at HubSpot wrote a very helpful post on the Top 50 Business Directories for Local Marketing which even includes a link to a handy Autofill Forms Add-on for your Firefox browser to cut down some of the set-up time.

4. Join Local Review Sites

Search engines place a lot of weight on customer reviews, and so do prospective customers. In fact, 77% of online shoppers use online reviews to make a purchasing decision. So, embrace the local review sites that make sense for your business and encourage your customers to share their experience on how well you served them with your product or service.

5. Leverage Social Media

Social signals & cues continue to hold weight with Google and other search engines on how you perform in search. Although Google+ may not be right for every business there’s proof that Google+ business pages are starting to appear in Google Places search results. Foursquare can also be a valuable platform, especially for local retailers and restaurants.

With any local SEO strategy, it’s important to first take the time to conduct the proper keyword research and evaluate the competitive landscape, and then tackle the on-page components to properly optimize your website. But as you start to address the off-page factors this list will get you started in the right direction.

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