Here’s a list of the most important factors to look at when optimizing for local search. Focusing on these factors will help you rank higher in both the Geo-Targeted searches and in regular search results.

1. Do extensive keyword research to be sure you’re targeting terms that get searches every day. Incorporate long tail keywords and optimize your lesser pages for terms that get only 1 or 2 searches a day. Build more pages if you have terms that get quite a few searches but you don’t currently have a page that is relevant.

2. Do competitive research. Outranking competitors often means doing what they’re doing, only better. Research your competitors and see what they’re doing on their pages and with incoming links to make sure you’re doing the same.

3. Optimize your pages for geo-targeted search. Use the keywords mentioned in step one in your page title, meta description, H1 tag and in links pointing to that page. Make sure you use the phrase on the page a few times and mix it up a bit. Use synonyms. For example, Personal Injury Attorney could also be written as Attorney for Personal Injury, Personal Injury Lawyer, Accident Injury Lawyer and so on…

4. Login and claim your listings in Yahoo Local and Google Maps. I also suggest spending some time updating your listings at Microsoft Live Local and some of the Internet Yellow Pages sites if you’re seeing traffic or interest from them.

5. Put your physical address and local phone number in text format on every page of your site. You can do this in the footer of the page if you like, here’s an effective example where they also give some simple GPS coordinates…

6. Get local links. Find service or product partners that you support and that support your business. Ask them to link to you and don’t be afraid to link back. Reciprocal linking penalties are reserved for sites that go out and spam people for reciprocal links that are irrelevant to their site offerings.

Your links will be relevant and supported within the context of your site. The best way to set these links up is in a paragraph of text, not just as a list of links on a page.

7. Utilize User Generated Content. Reviews have quite a bit of pull in most geo-targeted and local platforms. Yahoo Local allows sorting by highest review and other platforms do as well. We also saw how the top 10-Box results in Google showed quite a few reviews.

8. Accommodate Nearcasting and Farcasting by using regional colloquialisms in your text. Someone who is looking for a plumber on the Outer Banks of North Carolina might search for OBX plumber instead of Outer Banks plumber This is an example of nearcasting with regional colloquialisms.