Ok, I totally Messed up at Local SEO, so don't make the same mistakes that I did..... Something a little different here, Im going to show you my failed attempt at local SEO! I know most of the stuff you see is about ‘what you should be doing’, how to guides, tutorials and the rest of it. But people usually shy away if they fail. Although the best way to learn is from your mistakes, apparently!! Why am I telling you this? Making a complete hash of things has taught me a lot, and the fact that I failed on my first attempt allowed me to figure out exactly what I was doing wrong. I also figured out what I should have been doing and for that reason I am now able to rank a local site without any problems. So if you have been struggling to rank for a local search term then save your self a ton of time and don’t make the mistakes I made right here!! How I was going to make a Fortune ! My grand idea was to make a number of local sites and get them ranked number 1, id then sell listings and target local businesses and make a tidy profit every month!! It’s by no means a new method but there are still a lot of niches to target and I figured that If I could rank a site for a local business, e.g ‘carpet fitter in (cityname) then I could rent the site to local carpet fitters for about £150-£300 per month. Now there are tons of businesses and tons of cities! Just think of the profits if I could rank 5 sites in 10 different cities!!! Mistake Number 1 Having not done any local SEO before and at the time I was still quite rusty on SEO in general, I did something stupid, and that was to dive in at the deep end. I went and registered a number of domain names and started to create a few different sites at the same time for a number of different local businesses. I just presumed that it would be easy to rank them. I spent ages creating content, setting up the sites and then doing SEO on them, it was a bit overwhelming to say the least. Trying to rank several sites before I had even done 1 successfully was a big mistake! If my SEO strategy was to fail, all of my sites would fail. Lesson learned – Take on 1 project at a time, only move on to the next project once completed and you have achieved results! This is a good lesson not only for local SEO but anything in life. Mistake Number 2 At the time Google was making some significant algorithm changes (Not that I new this). I looked at the sites already ranking for my keyword. They had very little content a very few backlinks. My initial thoughts were…. ‘Create better content, more words and more backlinks than they have’ that should do the trick! Wrong. My biggest mistake was this… The first bit of link building I did was to get a spun article and submit it to article directories; the anchor text I used was my main keyword and a few variations of it. I also created links using blog comments and a few directories. Now I have a site that has better content than my competitors and more back links with my keyword anchor! Sit back and watch it fly up the rankings!! Not so fast, I found that my sites were stuck around page 3-5 on Google. Was my keyword density to high? It sure was, at 52%!!. so I built more links but this time I diversified my back link profile with more generic anchors to lower my main keyword percentage. What happened? Nothing! Was I being penalized by the big G? Lesson Learned – Don’t build backlinks with exact match anchors! Especially when you have the EMD. Mistake Number 3 Not using my common sense. I was so worked up into building more back links and producing more content that I completely lost track on what Google actually displayed in a local search result and what factors might affect this. I didn’t use any local directories, I didn’t register with google places! See’s quite obvious now but if you want to rank a local site, build links only from local sources. Having back links from all around the world is not natural if you are trying to rank a site in Leeds. Lesson learned – Concentrate on building a back link profile from local directories and sites only!! So there are a few of the mistakes that I made. I have only touched on the subject here but I actually did a full analysis of the site ranked number 1 for the keyword I was targeting and it threw up some pretty interesting results! I'll try to post more when I get time. So what exactly does rank a local SEO site? There are many things that I would do differently and SEO is evolving all of the time, so here are a few pointers: Make sure your local telephone number and address are on the home page Make sure citations are consistent; Address format should always be the same on your site and local directories. Scrape a list of local directories and submit your site to all of them! Check the back link profile of your competitors and emulate a couple of their best links Get Google+ with your business details and use Google places Get reviews for your product/business DO NOT over do your back linking These are the most significant ranking factors. I hope you have learned something from this post, I know it’s getting quite long now so I’ll leave it there, and please share your top ranking factors for local SEO!!