There’s a common misconception among business owners and entrepreneurs that search engine optimization (SEO) is good for reaching national markets, but not local ones. With recent advances in SEO, it’s easier than ever to get your business in front of local customers. Many local businesses, especially service providers and brick and mortar shops, rely on a flow of new customers to keep profits up. Employing local SEO strategies for your business can increase the number of leads coming through your door and make it easier for you to attract new customers. Here are the four essential pieces of any local SEO strategy.
Understand Local Keyword Strategies
Keyword strategies help you connect your website’s performance to the way that potential customers search for your business. For example, if you’re targeting customers in Boston for a roofing business, it’s important to think about how prospects perform online searches. Your terms may including roofing, Boston, Massachusetts, and the names of individual neighborhoods and surrounding towns. By getting a handle on the different terms and how much search volume each one receives, you’ll be better positioned to invest your energy marketing for the right search terms.
Localize Your Site’s Content
Take a closer look at the copy on your site. Does it clearly state where you’re located and feature your target keywords? Your site titles, body copy, and various parts of your programming such as the metatags are great opportunities to optimize your onsite text. If your copy is generic, start by improving your page titles and making sure that your location is included at least twice on each page in a natural way. For example, instead of saying “We provide roofing services for residential and commercial customers,” you can easily say: “We provide roofing services for residential and commercial customers in the Boston and Cambridge metro areas.”
Pay Attention to Your Reviews
Sites like Yelp and Google Reviews are becoming ever increasingly popular with customers. Many people check reviews before they visit a store or hire a service provider. These sites also have a big impact on your local SEO. Check the major sites and claim your listings, enabling you to update information, add pictures, and respond to reviews. Encourage your customers – especially the happy ones! – to leave you a review on the appropriate site.
Make The Most of Local Listings
According to Chitika, a 2012 study found that for the three major search engines, local online searches for goods and services ranged between 24.2% and 28.81%. Add to that the fact that Smartphone searches were up 26% that same year, according to Neustar Localeze and others. And these numbers, especially for mobile, are expected to keep rising as more and more people transition to Smartphone technology. Google reports over 5 billion searches on its search engine alone so roughly 25% means there are nearly 1.3 billion local Google searches daily!
The potential traffic your business can attract is enormous and most people choose a provider, retailer, or restaurant based on proximity. Your business can immediately get more exposure by ensuring that it’s listed on Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Yahoo Maps. There are also a number of local directories in major cities and by specific industry that businesses should be listed in. Investing the time to verify that you’re listed and ensuring that all contact information is correct can yield an immediate return in leads and customers by improving the real estate you attain in prominent online search locations.
For many small businesses, making the most of local SEO is a challenge. Time, human resources, and the need for advanced expertise may not allow you to spend as much time as you want to optimize your website and online presence. If that’s the case, consider partnering with a local search engine marketing or SEO firm that can help you upgrade your online presence. Many small businesses find this investment offers a tremendous ROI in a short period of time.