According to Google, almost three quarters (73%) of online activity is related to “local” content and 97% of consumers (that’s pretty close to all) search for local businesses online.
Do these statistics surprise you? It’s true—when it comes to daily searches for information, the majority of people are looking for local products or services that will solve or at least ease their everyday problems.
So, is your company and online content meeting the needs of local customers? Whether it’s on your website, your blog, your social media accounts or anywhere on the Web, if your content isn’t optimized for local search, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to capture your share of this lucrative market.
Let’s look at a short list of some of the ways you can optimize your local SEO, both “on-site” and “off-site:”
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On-Site Local SEO
The content on your site itself, and the SEO techniques that you use to categorize it with search engines, have a big effect on your visibility with local customers. A few points to consider—
- Long tail local keywords—start with a good selection of highly targeted local keywords and phrases. For example, Denver business owners are far more likely to search for the term “internet inbound marketing service Denver” than just “internet marketing service”—which could take them anywhere. Insert these geo-targeted keywords into each page of your site, at a density (frequency) that reads naturally for humans.
- Optimize for each location—if your company has multiple locations, create pages optimized for each one. For example, your Aurora store will not show up under keywords and meta-tags designated for Greenwood Village or Denver. Each location and its page should have unique meta data and content that refers specifically to that geo-location. It’s like having a home page for each location (only better from Google’s perspective), and it’s good for your inbound marketing efforts.
- Use rich snippets—Once Google understands what your content is about, you can add a feature called rich snippets. These are short lines of text that appear under search results that describe to users what the page is about. This is a great tool for local users who want to know information such as customer reviews, a restaurant rating or a piece of interesting news from the company.
“Off-Site” Local SEO
Apart from your site, there are many ways that you can optimize your content for local search. Utilizing third-party sites and services, for example, can give your content a real boost by helping you to categorize and distribute it so that interested consumers can find it:
Google Places (now being migrated to Google+ Local) —Google offers this free service as a type of online Yellow Pages (you remember those, don’t you?) Claiming your Places/Local listing gives you an opportunity to get found by the local market.
Just like a Yellow Pages ad, you can include relevant information about your business such its category, hours of operation, payment options, reviews, etc. It adds keyword-rich content to your company’s online content library and gives you visibility for your keywords, to improve organic search rankings.
Google Plus Business Page—If you don’t have a Google Plus business page, get one. With the advent of “social search”, and search engine algorithms designed to give it a more prominent role in rankings, social media content that is optimized for local search gives you a powerful edge in your local inbound marketing efforts.
Social content is shared, and, it has a lot of clout with search engines. You can create an entire network of connections with your page and market it on your site, your blog, etc.
A Great Local Search Tool
A great site to use to ensure you are signed up with all the local search directories is www.getlisted.org. This is a free service that looks at the local search directories to verify that your business is listed there. It also provides a link to each directory so you can claim your company’s listing if you are not already on it. (Note: we do not have any connection to this service.)
Link building—Having others link to your webpage, blog or other content, especially from other local businesses, strengthens your local presence on the Web. Links usually come to you when someone discovers your content and finds it compelling enough to share with others. Links can come from other social media accounts, related blogs and reviews of your business on other sites.
Do the above suggestions sound a little too technical for your taste? Contact an inbound marketing specialist to give you a hand. While the concepts are pretty straight forward, they won’t do you any good unless you implement them.