How To Leverage Local Search Marketing For Small Businesses

I spend a lot of time talking to people about how they market their businesses, and over time, I’ve been asked the two biggest questions about local search over and over again:

  • How can businesses leverage local search?
  • How can analysts and marketers track local search performance?

With the advent of Google Places, geolocation-based sharing, and a surge of growth in the mobile Internet sector, local search marketing is booming, and if you haven’t taken the plunge into local search marketing for your location based service (LBS), you could be missing out on a sizable chunk of browsers.


What is Local Search Marketing?

Local search marketing isn’t one single action, nor is it relegated to any department – it’s the intentional and sustained effort to push optimized web content, business listings, and social media profiles to bring in local search traffic.

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“But, Alex,” you’re thinking. “What is local search traffic?”

A local search is performed online in order to ascertain information from the internet with the intention of ultimately making an offline transaction from a business or service in a certain geographical area.

Local search marketing is vital for location based services because users are beginning to figure out that when you type “accident attorney” into the Google search bar, the results you receive may not necessarily be helpful to you. Why? Because if you were just in a car accident and you need an attorney, you don’t need just any accident attorney – you need one who provides services in your area.

The goal of local search marketing practices is to get those browsers who are seeking geographically-specific services to the solicitors who provide them. 30% of all search queries include a city or region, so if you are not integrating geo-specific keywords into your SEO strategy, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic.

Leverage the Power of Local Search Marketing for Your Business

Local search marketing is a high-octane fusion of geographically optimized web content and social media profiles, registering your company with business directories that cater to locally-based search, and claiming your listings at major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

To ramp up the potency of your local search marketing efforts, be sure you do each of the following:

  • Claim your listings and put a focus on data integrity. What I mean by that is don’t allow any of your business registry listings to fall into disrepair by becoming outdated. Ensure that any contact information provided in your listings is up to date and accurate. Google, Yahoo, and Bing are great places to start. You might also consider Yelp, Citysearch, Kudzu, and the Yellow Pages online directory.
  • Track the performance of your local search efforts. Be sure to take your site’s temperature and establish a baseline before you begin any new marketing efforts, local search or otherwise.
  • Encourage happy clients to leave reviews on your listings. We’re used to seeing customer reviews on websites, but skeptical shoppers know those could be manufactured. A review on Yelp, Google Places, Facebook, or any other social search engine establishes trust – not only in your brand, but in the authenticity of the review itself.

Tracking Local Search Marketing Performance Metrics

In my mind, there’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken, so don’t worry that you’ll have to switch analytics platforms to incorporate tracking your local search marketing. Google Analytics, among others, incorporates local search traffic metrics right alongside the rest of your web analytics, and Blast has a great post about how to do that.

In addition, HootSuite and other familiar social media tools are beginning to realize the full potential of local search campaigns. HootSuite recently acquired Geotoko, a metrics service that not only runs but tracks location-based campaigns across platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, and Gowalla.

What service you choose to track your analytics is up to you, but ensure that you establish clear objectives and track those objectives through your traffic volume analysis.

I’m going to leave you with the only infographic you will ever need to remind you of the true value of effective local search marketing, created by MDG Advertising.

This article originally appeared at We Do Web Content and has been re-posted with permission.

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