How to attract your local clientele.
Local search is already big, accounting for roughly one-fifth of Google’s 2 billion daily hits, and it’s still growing. Here are seven tips to make sure buyers in your area can find you via the major search engines:
1. Research new keywords with geographic elements.
You probably did some hefty keyword researching the beginning of your search engine optimization plan, but now is a good time to revisit your data. Occasionally, customers enter different keyword strings when they’re looking for local businesses, so be sure you’re focusing your efforts in the right direction.
2. Be specific with your location.
Although optimizing your site for your city name is a good start, you might want to move beyond that and include the name of your province or state, suburb, or neighborhood. That’s especially true in crowded areas, where there might be lots of similar vendors around.
3. Start with the obvious.
As with traditional search engine optimization, it pays to cover the obvious bases first. That doesn’t just mean things like page titles and meta-descriptions, but also local business directories and a Google+ business page (this has synced with/replaced Google Places entries).
4. Be consistent from page to page.
Although abbreviations and other geographic terms (like AB for Alberta) might be obvious to human visitors, they aren’t always the best for search engine spiders. For that reason, it’s a good idea to be consistent with spellings, abbreviations, and other details from page to page. For instance, if your home page says “123 South Main Street,” your contact page shouldn’t say “123 S. Main St.”
5. Encourage local customers to stop by.
Nothing you can do in your company’s web page can build trust as quickly as having customers visit your office or retail location. Make sure your website has your phone number, location map, and driving directions in easy-to-find places. There isn’t much point in promoting your site locally if people have a hard time finding you in the real world.
6. Promote local events on your website.
Things like calendars and reminders of upcoming events don’t do much to influence your search engine profile, but they can help bring customers into your location regularly. Isn’t that the point of your search engine optimization campaign in the first place?
7. Try to encourage lots of positive reviews.
Nothing can grow your business as quickly and reliably as good word-of-mouth advertising, online or off. Google picks up reviews from lots of well-known sites (like Yelp), meaning that the kind words people write about your company aren’t just great for business, but also for your search engine rankings.
Local search can be a wonderful source of new business, but only if you take the time and effort needed to make the most of it and stand out in the crowd.
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