Local search marketing is a concerted effort that uses geographically optimized web content, business listings and social media signals to draw local search traffic from your neighbourhood, town or city to your business. Local search puts your company and the products it’s selling in front of your local audience. With the increased use of mobile devices, local search is a mission critical marketing tactic that cannot be ignored. Let’s look at the 5 top hacks for optimizing your local search marketing:
1. Claim Your Place(s)
Claim a place for your business in local listings and display authentic information about your product or service to millions via search engines like Google, Yahoo Local and Bing Places for Business.
If your business is multi-locational, ensure each location has a dedicated page that includes name, phone number address, hours of operation and (if required) directions to the given location. This information helps search engines return the most relevant results based on the location of the user and the keywords they’ve searched.
List your business with a 100% score on Google My Business by completely filling in the 20+ fields. By completely filling in all the different account fields, you’re more likely to earn a place in the first page of Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
2. Spread the Word
Go beyond Google and spread the word about your business in some of the top local information repositories:
• Search Engine Maps (Google, Bing and Yahoo)
• Yellow Page Directories (Insider Pages, Superpages)
• Local Directories (CitySearch, Localeze)
• Review Sites (Yelp, Urban Spoon, Zagat)
• Business Directories (InfoGroup/InfoUSA, Acxiom)
• Niche, Industry Specific Directories (Health Grades)
While submitting your listings, make sure your local search listings are verified, accurate and optimized.
3. Optimize Your Profile
Even if you’ve mentioned your business name, address, phone number and other necessary information in the listings, it won’t be enough as long as you do not optimize your profile and content for the major search engines. How will search engines decide if your listing is more visible on SERPs over that of your competitors? It depends on how well you optimize your listings. Optimization, accuracy and completeness are the three qualities that help steal a march over your competitors.
Make your descriptions keyword rich (using location based keywords), provide maps and details of your physical store or business location and embed brand photos and videos.
4. Distribution Is Key
Your job does not end after claiming and optimizing your listings. Rather, it is half done unless you make an effort to keep reaching out to a wider audience. One of the ways you can do this is by creating and distributing content relevant to your business niche and its location. The content you are distributing in the name of your business must be a fine balancing act between ‘value addition’ and ‘branding’.
A great way to target your content for local search is to orientate your content to have a local focus. This can be easier said than done, but is achieved by including a lot of place name related keywords, information about local issues or promoting your business’ voice in the local community.
5. Track Performance
Local search is a cost-effective marketing strategy; but the problem is that many businesses and online marketers don’t understand it all that well. Because of this, they’re also vague on how to accurately report on their efforts and measure their effectiveness. Use tools like Google Analytics and Hootsuite to realize the full potential of local search and harness its benefits for your business. HootSuite is a great tool because it can track location-based campaigns across social platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter.
How you track your analytics will be specific to your business goals, but make sure these are clear in your mind and you’re able to keep track of them through accurate reporting.
6. Encourage Customer Reviews
Optimize your online business by encouraging good customer reviews. According to a Nielsen study, 70 percent of people trust online consumer opinions. Reviews are also an important ranking signal for Google, and the more the number of reviews your business attracts, the better your ranking on SERPs. Authenticity is a key element here, so make sure you encourage real reviews as Google is very diligent at detecting fake or spammy review practices.
Use the above mentioned six sure-fire tips and tap into the benefits that this local search marketing tactic provides your business. Not only will you more effectively target local consumers in your area, but your rankings on the results pages of Google will improve drastically.
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