Consumers often search for products and services online. Geographic proximity is important to many consumers, so search engines like Google deliver results that are close by.

For example, if a user in Oro Valley searches for a plumber, the results will tend to favor plumbers who service the Oro Valley area. This is only possible because Google knows the general location of the person searching and the plumber has observed local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) guidelines. The local SEO guidelines differ slightly for companies who provide services at the customer’s location, as opposed to businesses where the customers come to the business for products and services.

SCORE spoke with Johnny Wyatt, CEO of The J3 Effect, to get some important information business owners need to know about local SEO.

Wyatt recommends you start with your website. Make sure your “title tags” for each page of your website begin with the keyword customers use to find the services featured on that page. Then add a title tag for your business name and geographic location, in that order. For example: Leak Detection | Best Plumber in Tucson | Oro Valley. No two title tags should be the same.

Be sure all links, to internal and off site locations work. Broken links hurt SEO. Look at the structure of your website. Is it logical, easy to navigate with information visitors need? Adding fresh content helps your SEO, too. Once your website is complete, add new content by writing new blog pages.

Your website must be mobile device friendly, and it must load fast, on both mobile devices and desktops. Google offers a free online analyzer.

Your Google My Business listing and other local listings matter. Online reviews are important too. Get reviews on multiple sites including Google+, Facebook, Better Business Bureau and Yelp.

For more information on local SEO, contact Wyatt at 404-1087.

Bill Nordbrock is vice president of community relations for SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment. For information, go to southernarizona.score.org, send an email to mentoring@scoresouthernaz.org or call 505-3636.