Getting to the top is hard work. It doesn’t seem like it sometimes when you start a new venture that is in a realm that you’ve already mastered. But we forget that it seems easier because we’ve mastered the parts that seemed so hard before.
Take the WordPress site I made recently for JOEY | Hair Salon Tacoma, my hair stylist in Tacoma, WA. I’ve worked pretty intently on WordPress sites for about a year, so the speed at which I was able to plan, construct, and optimize JOEY’s site surprised me.
The first thing I did was look at who was ranking for keywords I wanted to go after. The same websites tended to show up in several searches; not surprising. I extracted keywords from all of them and used Rank Tracker to see how they ranked comparatively.
More surprising is how quickly I’m able to get niche sites like this to rank for specific terms. I have a formula of sorts, but every site is unique so there’s no real formula you can apply everywhere.
But there are certain things you must do to optimize for local search. Google Places and Bing Local Listings are indispensible. You’re not going to rank well locally if you don’t set up AND optimize those two accounts.
Google now has the Magnificent Seven. The organic rankings are getting pushed farther down the page when you search on a keyword phrase that includes location. You have three sponsored listings at the top and then seven local listings before you get to the organics.
Of course, the local listings are organic but they’re optimized for local search. They have Google Places or Bing Local accounts and if the space is competitive, they’ve gotten happy customers to leave reviews.
If you’re optimizing a Google Places or Bing Local account, don’t forget to use images and as many categories as there is space.
JOEY is already ranking well for some of her keywords and her Yelp reviews are positioned well too. She’s extremely good at hair color such as bleaching and is well known for this. This is a very fun exercise in local search.