When it comes to searching for a local business, more and more people are turning to the Internet. Gone are the days of reaching for the Yellow Pages to find the nearest dry cleaner or plumber. These days, you need customers to be able to find your business online.
Over half of the customers reaching your website come from search engines, which makes local search engine optimization (SEO) that much more important. While algorithms are regularly updated and SEO undergoes several changes, there are a few fundamental ideas you can apply to your website to achieve local success.
Attractive Web Design
Getting customers to your website is one thing, but once they land on your page, you want to keep them there. The best place to start with your digital marketing efforts is with the website itself.
Remember, you aren't just trying to sell a product or service here; you are trying to convince these customers to buy from your company specifically. That is why you want to make sure that once they land on your homepage, they will have a positive visual experience.
Of course, it's not all about looks. Customers should be able to quickly find what they are looking for with intuitive navigation. Users expect clear navigation nowadays and don't have the time to waste in trying to figure out how your website works.
One of the reasons that people search for local businesses online is that it is so convenient. Even if you are on the go, you simply take out your phone and type in what you are looking for.
With so many people using their mobile devices to search for your business, the last thing you want is to have an outdated website that is not mobile-friendly. It's not just about being mobile friendly, but it's also about being consumer friendly.
Not only are customers more likely to abandon your website in favor of a mobile-friendly alternative, but since it is one of Google's search placement factors in their algorithm, it will also help you from an SEO perspective.
When you are optimizing your website for SEO purposes, you need to go that one step further for a local business. You need to ensure that your landing pages are optimized specifically for local search.
If you serve more than one geographic, then you need to take this into consideration. The last thing you want to do is lose out on customers because you didn’t cater to that specific localized audience. These pages also need to be easily found by the search engines, so think about content and things like title tags and XML sitemaps.
An SEO expert will be able to provide you with the right keywords, tag descriptions, links to relevant niches and websites, and other factors that will help your website to get found more easily.
Relevant Content Strategy
Local SEO requires a different content strategy than your average SEO marketing campaign. Remember, you are not competing against the whole world here; your aim is to stand out from the local competition.
That is why your content strategy needs to be focused on local SEO. If you are a single location brick and mortar business, then you may be best off creating a page for each service or product you have available.
On the other hand, if you are a multi-location service area business, then you will probably also want to create a page for each physical location or each zone you serve outside of your hometown.
Having a separate landing page for each location may be the best option to ensure that customers from every part can locate your business. You don't want to simply replicate the same page over and over again with a different location. Content marketing rules still apply, and you should aim for unique content on each page.
Your individual content strategy will depend on a number of different factors, including your business model. Additional local content could include things like testimonials, local news updates, blog posts with tips for specific geographic audiences, or locally optimized videos and images.
Following Google's Pigeon update, citations have become that much more important for a local business. Getting listed on an external listing service is an excellent way to help boost local SEO performance for your website.
Just like backlinks are important for traditional SEO, citations are vital for local businesses. They contribute to strengthening the connection between your business and the area in which you operate or serve.
Aside from using the popular external listing services, such as Yahoo! Local, Yellow Pages, and Manta, you should also keep an eye out for local directories and those relevant to your niche.
Using citations is a great way of helping to build credibility within the search engines. Of course, consistency is crucial in this case, and you will also want to make sure that each citation is properly optimized. You don't want to forget about keywords and diversifying the content for each of your citations.
Get the Help of an Expert
When it comes to local SEO, there are many things you need to get right. While some things may appear relatively straightforward, you don’t want to lose out on key opportunities by missing out vital steps.
Everything you do should be optimized in order to attract the right audience. A local SEO expert will be able to help you set up your online properties in a way that will maximize return on investment.
Even the smallest details, such as how you format your address on a citation, can affect the ranking of your business. These small issues are what make SEO that much more complicated than it often appears.
Online marketing firms will have the most up to date knowledge on any changes in Google’s algorithm, so you don’t have to worry about staying in the know. Simply leave it to the professionals, so that you can turn your attention to other equally important aspects of your business.