With big businesses taking control of virtually every market, it is more important than ever for local businesses to expand their reach and increase their visibility. If the local hardware shop wants to continue attracting business, despite a Home Depot and Lowes being in the nearby vicinity, the owner of the hardware shop really has to step up his marketing game. One way that local businesses can boost their exposure and visibility and keep business coming to them is with Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)
What exactly is Local SEO?
Local SEO refers to local online marketing. This type of search engine optimization allows local businesses to advertise their services to customers who reside or shop in a local area. This type of SEO combines the use of search engines, as well as local business directories to get the word out about local businesses to local consumers.
Why is Local SEO Beneficial?
If you own a bakery in Los Angeles, it won’t really help your business much if your website shows up in the search results of a person who is looking for a bakery in Toronto, right? The main benefit of local SEO is that it will make your website more visible to people who are actually looking for the type of products or services you offer within a specific area. Being more visible to a local audience will help to increase your success.
So, now that you know what local SEO is and how it can benefit a business, let’s take a look at what local SEO entails.
Local Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis
Local keyword research allows you to determine what keywords or keyword phrase your local audience is using to search for your particular products or services. Competitive analysis allows you to gauge which of these keywords your competition is focusing on, letting you hone in on keywords that your competition isn’t focusing on. Ideally, you do not want to focus all of your resources on keywords that have a high level of competition, making it difficult to rank highly for searches using those terms. Finding keywords with a low level of competition and good or even high traffic levels will help to boost the exposure of your business.
Google + Business Page Optimization
A Google + page is a web marketing service that allows local businesses to describe their business on the web, including contact information, as well as products and services. If you want to make the most of your Google + page, you are going to want to optimize it in order to increase its visibility. This optimization includes using local keywords in your business description, maintaining updated content, using attractive images, soliciting customer reviews, and creating a page for all of your business locations as well as listing them in online directories.
In order to really stand out for local search results, you are going to have to optimize your website. This includes using the local keywords you have uncovered in your research and analysis in website content (blog posts, articles, etc). See our article on OnSite SEO for further optimization strategies.
Citations refer to any mentioning of your business on local business directories, such as Yelp, Yahoo Local and Google Places. The name of your business, your address your phone number and your website (for those all-important links) should be listed in these citations. You should also create a description of the services or products that your business offers, making sure to incorporate your Unique Selling Proposition in the narrative. Citation building will not only help with your overall Search Engine ranking, but will also help to increase your map rankings (Google Maps), which will further increase the visibility of your business.
People rely on the customer reviews of the products and services a company offers before they decide to do business with them. Positive reviews can help turn potential customers into definite customers. Ensure that you offer exceptional products and services in order to ensure positive reviews. Also, encouraging your customers to write a review should be part of your local marketing campaign.
Local Link Building
The more links you have to your business on the Internet, the more business you stand to attract. In regard to local business, the more links you have on websites in your local area, the more likely you will increase your local business. To build local links, network with other local businesses that are in a similar niche as you, or that relate to your business in some way – a local craft store may have a link to a local fabric store, for example. Local business directories and organizations are additional sources for local link building.
Taking advantage of local SEO can have an astounding impact on the success of your local business. Want to learn more about Local SEO or need assistance with your Local SEO campaign? Give us a call today for a free 30 minute phone consultation.