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As an exercise, open up your preferred search engine and type in, “pizza restaurants.” What you’ll find are a bunch of restaurants in your city or area.

The reason? Local SEO. This method of garnering higher local search rankings should be an important part of your content marketing efforts. Over a third of all searches in 2014 are expected to be local, according to Business2Community. Factor in non geo-targeted keywords that lead to local results, and that number climbs to 50 percent, Business2Community says.

Google and the other major search engines are trying to gain a better understanding of search intent, even when you type in a keyword that’s not tied to a specific location. That’s why searching for “pizza restaurants” will result in a list of local pizzerias.

So, when working with search engine marketing services in Toronto, make sure they’re on top of local SEO. “The bottom line,” Business2Community says, “if you have a business that can service local customers or has a physical address, you need to be optimizing for local search.”

Website Magazine lists 21 common local SEO mistakes. Below is a snapshot of that list:

1. Create listings on Google, Bing and Yahoo for all locations: Remember the scene from “The Jerk” when Steve Martin’s character found out he was listed in the phone book? Today’s version of that is getting listed by the various search engines. If you have locations in different cities, then each needs a listing.

2. Use location-specific keywords: Easily overlooked, make sure some of your keywords are location-specific. This goes for the content, meta description and even page titles, when appropriate.

3. Be careful with those keywords: When seeking out search engine marketing services in Toronto, ask about their keyword practices. If they talk about flooding your pages with keywords, then you could face a penalty from Google due to what’s called keyword stuffing. Furthermore, your keywords need to flow naturally. Let the quality speak for itself. Make sure, too, that you’re using the right keywords. We covered that in a previous post. Remember, long tail keywords are your friend.

4. Add your location to your images: Website Magazine recommends adding a targeted keyword and target location to both the file name and the alt text of any images you use.

5. Make your address easy to find: Check out some of your competitors’ sites. Chances are, most list their location in only one place, like the “Contact Us” page. This is a mistake. Include your address(es) and relevant contact information on as many pages as possible. This will not only help your lead generation efforts, Website Magazine explains, but it was also provide better local rankings.

6. Keep the content coming: The more content you have, the more indexed pages you create. According to Content+, blogs create 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links. “Creating fresh content is so important because every page you create is another opportunity to earn inbound links and improve your rankings while gaining notoriety and exposure within your niche,” Website Magazine says.

 

meniceJake Rigdon is the executive editor at Nimble Media, a content marketing firm based out of Toronto. You can reach him on FacebookLinkedInGoogle+Twitter or by email at jake@nimblemedia.ca.