Crush the competition and take control of your niche market through safe and effective local search strategies. Whether you’re trying to make a name for yourself on the web or you want a stronger presence in your community, the information below will help you gain the visibility you deserve in your area. Check out the ultimate guide for local search domination to see how you can make your mark on the world.
Why Local Search Matters So Much
What’s the big deal with local search? Does it really matter if you rank well for target keywords in your area? Google recently discovered that over 80% of consumers use search engines to find local information (88% of smartphone users, 84% of computer and tablet users). 50% of smartphone users visit a store within one day of their search, and 33% of mobile consumers search for a business right before visiting it. With the right local search strategies, you can:
Tremendously Boost Your Lead Generation
Increase Your Sales Conversion Rates And Earn More Money For Your Business
Build Your Brand And Make A Name For Yourself In Your Community
Connect With Real Customers Who Are Actively Looking For Your Business Right Now
Reach Out To Online-Only Consumers Who Wouldn’t Find Your Business Without Local Search
Enhance Your Offline Marketing Strategies With Strong Online Visibility
No matter how big or small your business may be, you can benefit from focusing on local search strategies. Google reports that 18% of local smartphone searches lead to a purchase within the same day – that’s nearly 1 in 5 customers. Think of the endless possibilities to come from your local SEO efforts, and you’ll quickly see why local search matters so much.
Local Search Optimization On Your Website
There are two sides to every internet marketing campaign: on the website and off the website. Both areas play a major role in the visibility of your brand online, so you need to conquer both in your local search strategies. Listed below are some ways you can enhance your website to boost your local search rankings.
Invest In High-Quality Website Content
One of the easiest, most effective, and longest lasting ways to improve your local search rankings is through high-quality content on your website. Every page on your website is indexed by search engines, which means that creating new pages gives you even more visibility in search results. There are many different forms of web content you can add to your website, including:
Service Pages: Explain each of the services you offer on individual webpages, all linked to your home page and navigation menu.
Location Pages: Create pages targeted for specific areas you service, like “Roof Repair Detroit MI” and “New Roof Installation Troy MI”. Link these pages back to the service page they support (“Roof Repair Detroit MI” would have a link for the “Roof Repair” service page).
Blog Posts: Provide tips, tricks, and tutorials for your customers to read over. You may use these to target specific keywords while simultaneously improving the authority your business has on a certain subject.
Case Studies: Show potential customers what you have done to help others so they are more inclined to work with you. You may turn these case studies into blog posts, or you may link them in a gallery or similar area on your website.
Promotional Pages: If you are running a special promotion for a limited time, create a new webpage on your site that you can remove or update in the future.
News Articles: You may have a section of your website dedicated to local news and important regulations for your industry. Once again, these news articles could simply be posted in your blog if you do not want to create an entire area for them.
As long as your content is well-optimized with your target keywords, you should be able to naturally boost your local search position. This content should be 100% original and free of grammar and spelling errors. If you are writing the content on your own, you may want to have an editor look it over before posting it on the web. If you are paying for professional copywriting, make sure you work with someone who is experienced in search engine optimization.
Use SEO Silos
An SEO silo is an organization tool used in cutting edge digital marketing strategies. Simply put, you will organize your content so that pages within a certain category all link to one another, not any other pages on your website. The best example of this would be a service page that has a series of location pages to supplement it. Link the location pages back to the main service page, as well as the other location pages. The silo structure builds your authority on a subject by showing Google you have a whole category of information about a specific term or subject. You can read our SEO silo guide to learn more about how to use this strategy for local search domination.
Make Sure Your Website Is Optimized For Mobile Devices
Mobile devices play a key role in local search. Google reports that 56% of smartphone searches on the go have local intent. If your website is not properly designed to accommodate smartphones and tablets, you could be missing out on hundreds of customers in your local area. With responsive web design, you can ensure that your customers are able to clearly view your website no matter where they are so they can reach out to you accordingly.
Put Your Contact Information On Clear Display
Your business name, phone number, and address need to be clearly visible on your website. Place this information in the header of your site, above the navigation menu, as well as on the home page, the contact page, and any other pages you see fit. At minimum, you should have your phone number in a call to action at the bottom of every webpage (not blog post).
Target Long-Tail Keywords
A good SEO strategy will include a keyword pyramid consisting of primary, secondary, and long-tail keywords. If you have been focusing on just primary keywords and secondary keywords, you may explore long-tail variations of those. For instance, “marriage counseling” may turn into “family and marriage counseling and therapy”. This gives you even more keywords to be indexed for in search engines.
Local Search Optimization Off Your Website
Now that you know how to optimize your website for local search, you can explore ways to improve your local search ranking off your website. Here are some steps you can take in your internet marketing without doing any more work to your site itself.
Create A Google My Business Account
If your business is not currently listed on Google Maps, it needs to be. The way to do that is to create a Google My Business page, which may also be referred to as a Google Local Page, A Google+ Business Page, a Google Maps business listing, etc. This is one of the first things we do for our clients because it is a quick and easy way to gain tremendous visibility online. You’re essentially putting your business in Google’s phone book. Your listing, along with listings for similar businesses in your area, will appear at the top of any Google local search result, bringing in a ton of potential traffic for the future.
Submit Or Claim Local Directories Listings
In addition to Google My Business, you can get your company’s contact information on websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Manta, Home Advisor, etc. The types of directories you submit to will depend on the industry you work in. If there are already listings for your business on those directories, claim them so you can edit or update your information as needed.
Check For Consistency On Your Local Listings
Whatever profiles you may have online need to contain the same information – phone number, business name (spelled and written exactly the same way every time), address, email address, website, etc. This consistency will help your search ranking because Google and other search engines rely on those directories to update their records. Updating old contact information will also ensure that your customers know how to reach you when they need your help.
Use The Power Of Social Media
Social media marketing can be hugely influential for local businesses. At minimum, you should have a Facebook page for your business, as well as a Google+ Business page that you actively post on. This gives you another outlet to connect with people in your area, and it gives you a secondary option for promoting your website and your brand as a whole.
Encourage Customers To Leave Reviews
Did you know that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as if they were personal recommendations? Having positive reviews about your business online gives potential customers more confidence about choosing you over your competitors. This is yet another reason why it is important to have your business listed on local directories, because it provides satisfied customers with a way to leave good feedback for you online. Put a sign on your window promoting your Yelp or Google profile, and include links to your reviews on your website, emails, business cards, etc.
Connect With Other Local Businesses
Networking is a great marketing tool both online and offline. Connect with local businesses in your area who service similar clients, and agree to mutually promote each other’s businesses in the future. For instance, if you run a roofing company, you may connect with gutter installers or masonry workers to exchange leads and business propositions. With the right efforts in place from start to finish, there is nothing stopping you from dominating local search results.
Christopher Bower is a Member and Marketing Director of Detroit Internet Marketing, LLC and brings over 20 years' experience in marketing and online marketing. His education includes Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Marketing, and has been involved in both national and local marketing in Chicago, South Florida and Michigan.