7 Tips To Improve Local Search Optimization

Scott Lambert

local-search-marketing.jpgCompanies that cater to an entirely online audience or work with a national base of customers from a single, central location have many marketing priorities to juggle. One thing they don't have to worry about so much is catering to geography-specific sets of current and prospective customers. While they might optimize their website content with names of big cities or other general geographical markers, they don't have to target customers block by block.

Companies that cater to specific geographies do have to worry about appealing to and promoting their products and services for a local audience. If your company does the bulk of its business in its own backyard or has a network of local outposts that need to appear distinctive from one another and engaged with their local communities, use these seven tips to improve your local search performance.

1. Use Locally-Targeted Keywords and Content

Locally-targeted keywords and content convey that you're open for business in a particular area and make it more likely that critical geographic markers will appear in your company's search results.

Effective targeted keywords typically include the name of your city, neighborhood or region and a succinct, generic description of your business. Examples might include "hardware store in Cleveland" or "fitness gym in Miami." Use local keywords to highlight your company's name and possibly ownership as well, particularly for businesses with generic names. Such keywords might include "Smith Hardware in Cleveland" or "Manny's Gym in Miami."

The content that surrounds these keywords should be recognizable and engaging for a local audience. If you have a longstanding connection to the community, talk about that in your "About Us" page and supporting blog posts.

If you run multiple locations in different regions, don't duplicate content between them. Moreover, make sure your content makes geographical sense: Don't talk about snow in Miami or hurricanes in Cleveland. Otherwise, people won't click on or link to your material, potentially damaging your position in organic search results.

2. Make Sure Your Physical Address and Contact Information Are Highly Visible

It's amazing how many businesses forget this simple rule of local search optimization: Always include your physical address and contact information on your company's website and in its meta information.

You want people searching for your business to see its physical address, phone number and any other relevant contact details as soon as your site appears in the organic search results. This strategy also works for PPC ads and social media profiles.

3. Use Google My Business

If you haven't done so already, sign up for Google My Business. This helpful tool ensures that your business displays consistent information in several venues: organic search results, Google Maps and Google Plus.

It eliminates worries that you're delivering the wrong set of facts to customers on one particular media. In addition, it's a great help for mobile searchers who might be looking your business up as they approach your store. If they don't know where to find you, you could miss out on a prime selling opportunity.

4. Keep Your Directory Listings Visible and Up to Date

Adding your company to Yelp, online Yellow Pages and other online directories is critical to boosting visibility. Because these listings aren't included in Google My Business, it's your responsibility to keep them updated. Make sure they're comprehensive and descriptive. If you're a restaurant, for instance, ensure that your full menu is displayed on Yelp.

5. Consider Sponsored Directory Listings and PPC Ads

Business directories are intensely popular. If you operate in a competitive niche, it's likely that you have many local competitors gunning for the top few spots on Yelp and other directories. To boost your visibility in these directories, consider paying for sponsored listings. To boost your organic search visibility, consider PPC ads and paid search results that appear above organic results.

6. Attract Positive, High-Quality Reviews

Nothing says quality like great, well-written reviews. While it's seriously frowned upon to pay for reviews or write your own fake reviews, there's no shame in asking customers for positive reviews.

7. Create Pages and Listings for Each Business Location

If your business has more than one branch or physical location, make sure you use a standard template to create listings for each. This is particularly important for businesses that have many stores in a relatively small geographical area.

If you're a casual restaurant franchisee operating 10 shops in a single metro area, you'll need to make sure that each shop's listing is distinctive and clear by including the neighborhood or suburb name in the title and prominently displaying the complete address, phone number, hours and map location.

If you're a multi-shop operator, remember to include a "make this my store" feature on your website to encourage users to "default" to the most convenient location each time they search for your company. For mobile users, equip your website with a tracking system that uses visitors' GPS location, with their permission, to serve them with the most relevant stores and offers.

Learn How to Improve Local Search Performance for Your Business

These seven tips for local search optimization are sure to put your business in a position to attract nearby prospects and seize opportunities to convert them into paying customers. Given the increasing prevalence of mobile devices and the on-the-go nature of modern commerce, there has never been a better time to dive into the inviting waters of local search.

Your business can't optimize itself. If you have questions about how best to position your site to attract local users or want to learn about more strategies to boost your marketing ROI, download a free whitepaper 10 Key Steps for a Successful Website Redesign. Check it out and before you know it, you’ll be a local search optimization guru in no time.

Discover How A Redesign Can Turn Your Website Into An Inbound Marketing Machine

 

Scott Lambert

Written by Scott Lambert

For 35 years, Scott has been at the forefront of digital transformation and how it is effectively applied in businesses and organizations to market, sell, and support customers and members more successfully and cost effectively. Scott is President and Co-Founder of Xcellimark, an award-winning digital marketing agency serving clients throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, and Germany. Xcellimark helps businesses succeed through the implementation of its unique digital marketing and sales approach specifically designed to meet their specific goals and objectives. Scott’s marketing, sales, and operations experience have included key management positions at industry leaders including AT&T, iXL (now SapientRazorfish), eSchool Solutions (now TalentED), and BellSouth, where he led the product development, marketing efforts, and market launch of BellSouth.net, the second public ISP developed in the U.S. Scott is the author of articles highlighted on leading online publishers such as LinkedIn, Business 2 Community, and he was recently featured by LinkedIn in the Entrepreneur magazine article on “No Time for Marketing? Hire a Freelancer.” His engaging personality and wealth of real-world and business experience make Scott a frequently requested speaker. Some of his engagements include being the featured speaker in a series of Orlando Business Journal seminars on Digital Marketing, speaking at the WSI London conference, and at international conferences in Belize. Scott has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s of Science in the Management of Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Scott has been active in global mission efforts and is a board member of Global Teams, a Christian outreach organization. He lives in Winter Springs, FL with his wife Nancy and dog Sadie.

Topics: Local Search

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