There are many aspects that come together to form a strong SEO strategy to improve your local search rankings. Here are some of the main areas that you should be optimizing with respect to getting your business highly ranked on local search results:

1. Proper category associations: When you submit your business and website to Google+ and Google Places, you have an opportunity to select your “category” of business. Be sure to select the category that best reflects the nature of the services you offer.

2. Domain authority of website: Many factors impact your domain’s authority, e.g., number and quality of inbound links, age of your website, and the quality of your site’s content.

3. Quantity of structured citations: This refers to the local search directories where your company may be listed, such as Yelp and Yellow Pages.

4. Having an owner-verified Google+ Local page: If you haven’t claimed your Google+ Local page for your business, do it today!

5. Number of followers and native Google+ and Places reviews: The number of reviews by Google+ Local users is a major factor in your local rankings.

6. Quality/authority of inbound links to website domain: Inbound links (i.e., when another website links to your website) play a critical role in your ability to rank in local search results. Ensure they are relevant, of good quality and from reputable sites.

7. The number of inbound links to a website: Inbound links generated from local vendors, suppliers, business partners, and other local community organizations should play a key role in your search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing strategy.

8. Name and address consistency: Business information should be consistent – your website, Google+ and Google places pages should all have the same information. If there is a discrepancy in your name or phone number, Google will take note of it and your local page ranking will be harmed.

9. Phone number consistency: make sure to get a number with an area code that you put up on all webpages and platforms. Local numbers show more quality and trustworthiness than toll-free ones.

10. Quality website and blog content: Having an up-to-date blog with relevant and interesting content that people will find interesting will help maintain your rankings.

Now is the time to take advantage of the improvements Google has brought to its local search algorithms. The playing field has been leveled for small businesses, and with proper local SEO techniques, staying ahead of the competition more efficiently is well within reach.

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