Four tips for local search is a new, solid article by one of SES Denver's . She discusses listing your website, promoting your address, and some other techniques.
My thoughts on the article?
First, the fact that the tips focus on being listed shows the basic level at which local search engine optimization is at. It would be interesting to see how to actually improve rankings, rather than simply be listed.
Second, while local search is growing, many more people just use a regular search engine and add their city name to the keywords in their search. For example, many people search for "used cars Canada," rather than go to a local engine and search for "used cars."
My constant reading's brought some SEO and SMO resources to light recently. First, is an excellent piece by Tyler Banfield (of Digital Point) about how to set up one way links across a network of sites. Second, I've found a series of posts on Social Media Optimization, or SMO, which you'll recall I heard about exactly one week ago today.
Tyler's derived a very simple mathematical formula to find out exactly how many one-way links you can generate across a network of websites. One-way links are those links that aren't reciprocal; their appeal is that search engines weight them more highly than reciprocal links.
The long and short of it is that
"the first half of the sites link to exactly half the amount of sites, while the last half links to exactly half the amount of sites minus one."
The other great resource (or resources, rather) is a series of blog posts on Social Media Optimization, or SMO. SMO means (re-)designing a site to be more linkable and social media friendly, with the goal of obtaining attention from social media websites.
Social media comprises those websites that involve a high degree of networking, relationships, and interaction. For example, Digg is a social media website where users can vote and comment on cool news items (often from those fellow social media websites that are blogs); the most popular items get front-page attention.
My point is that SMO is a nice complement to SEO. Making a site more attractive to what Rand Fishkin terms the "linkerati" (i.e. social media users) is a good technique to improve rankings. Linking is a social activity after all.
Everybody loves one-way links (also called non-reciprocal links). Search engines give them more weight, and they mean you don't need to send traffic back to the source, but can keep it on your site or network. So here's a little encouragement on submitting to directories and other places you can get one-way links from.
First, I'm adding this to Technorati. I had a link here to Technorati, but have since removed it. The link was necessary to have Technorati list City SEO. Once they verify it, I can delete the link and have a one-way from Technorati. Next, I evaluate what type of site I'm running. There are blog indexes, forum indexes, and even directories of directories! Doing a quick Google search for 'your type of site" + "directory" will usually return some good things. Technorati is a "blog directory." Further to that, I search for directories on my topic. I do the same thing as in the previous point, but change the type of website I'm running to the type of content (i.e. keywords) I have. Finally, and this is actually a trick I picked up from Ralph Wilson, who himself got it from Bill Hartzer, search for "your topic" + "add URL." Then search for "your topic" + "submit site," and other variations. This will help you find the little places off the beaten path.