Does your business leverage a white hat search engine optimization strategy to target consumers in your area? Does your website have customized content that is location-relevant to your target audience?

For those of you new to SEO, white hat optimization is a method of gaining organic ranking by focusing on the audience through content and authenticity, instead of trying to “beat the system” by exploiting specific areas of Google’s SEO algorithm (referred to as a black hat SEO strategy.)

Local search engine optimization (SEO) has attracted considerable attention since Google’s Pigeon update went live in 2014, altering their search engine algorithm to increase the significance of distance and location in ranking parameters. Although that may appear as a complicated hurdle for small businesses, the truth is that Google’s intentions were to help businesses that are active members of the communities they service by diminishing the position of those who disobey SEO guidelines.

So how does this translate into real-world tactics that you can use to help your business? Here are a few tips on creating a localized white hat SEO strategy:

1.  Customers want to shop locally but also crave the efficiency from online research, and many businesses that are bridging that gap are thriving because they are building their customers by focusing on what information their target audience is actively pursuing. There have been multiple studies recently that have found that shoppers strongly prefer to support local business with their purchases, and a 2014 study found that online research strongly encourages in-store shopping.  How can your business make the most from these two predominant consumer preferences?

Area specific content may be the ideal solution for you business to gain SEO rank by defining your geographical reach as well as facilitating customer education, and this can be done easily with localized landing pages. If you’re not making localized landing pages customized for your area (or for each of your business’ locations), then your business is not only missing an opportunity to gain visibility with potential customers but also falling behind a trend that is here to stay.

Interested in seeing the anatomy of an optimal customized landing page? Funny that you should ask….  Would you like quick guide to localized landing pages? Moz just so happens to have one for you.

2. Content will always be king when it comes to Google SEO rankings so if your business wants to ever be on the first page of a Google search, it is essential that you generate content that is is recent, accurate, consistent and relevant to what your customers are searching for. But what kind of content can your business create easily and authentically?

Relevant Citations are especially useful for this purpose, and can be derived from creating profiles on the sites that your customers use to gather information on the products or services your business sells. For example, relevant citations for a restaurant would come from Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, etc… where as a Dentist’s Office may use Angie’s List, Yellow Pages, or a dental industry specific referral page.

Creating relevant citations will increase your SEO ranking in general but key to using this tool is to maintain consistency throughout all site profiles. You want to make sure that the information on each site is current and accurate because if the Google algorithm finds differences between these site profiles associated to your business, your website will be penalized in the rankings (which may potentially take years to recover from.)

These are just a few methods your business can use to target customers using a white hat SEO strategy. If you would like to learn more about creating a localized SEO strategy to climb Google’s rankings in your city, contact us to learn about how your business can partner with Local Work Marketing to increase your online presence.