Getting your website optimized for search and generating traffic is only one part of successfully marketing your site or your product online. While link building and sharing content is always necessary and a good strategy to increase traffic, often your main target audience and most likely customers are in a much more narrow demographic: local.
Getting your business in front of this key demographic involves many of the same techniques as getting traffic elsewhere on the Internet, but with a few minor adjustments. Here are three valuable ways to help get a little bit more of that local base on your site or in your store.
Stats say that 20 percent of all searches on desktops are local searches. More importantly, 50 percent of mobile searches are local! Don’t lose out on these customers!
Search Engine Local Listings
Everyone knows the importance of Google when it comes to search. What not eveyone knows is just how important they can be for local businesses. Having your company listed on Google Places can be an amazing way to get more people to see your business. Go on over to Google Places and you will be able to add your business if it isn’t already on there, including your address, hours, and category.
What this does is allow for your business to show up when people search for what you offer in your area. If you are a local flower shop, you will have the opportunity to shop up and be on the map when people search for flowers in your area. Google Local results are very different than simple search results as Google looks to connect shoppers or customers with companies that offer what they are searching for in their immediate area.
Be sure to fill out any and all information when creating these profiles. Google will show your business on the map and show your address when people in the immediate area search for you. Be sure to put the right category on your business so you can be found more easily also.
You can also sign up for Google Places and show up in local search results without a website. Just an address or service area and a phone number will get you listed. Think of this as being a free entry into the most populated and used yellow pages ever.
For the price of free and the chance to be seen by so many potential customers, there is no good reason to not have a Google Places page filled out.
Don’t forget to visit Bing Places while you are at it. Bing is carving out a nice little share of the search market and there is no reason to ignore another opportunity to be found.
Same goes for Yahoo! Local. Get yourself on there!
Have a look at getlsited.org’s Local Search Ecosystem chart to get an idea of just how many options there are to be found.
Locally Focused SEO
Search engine optimization can be summed up as an effort to point people searching for specific things towards your website, and trying to rank as highly as possible in search results for what people are looking for. Often, so much effort is put on the major keywords of a business that regional descriptions are taken for granted.
You may be the best guitar store in all of your city, but if all of your SEO focuses are on keywords such as guitars, strings, Fender, Les Paul, etc., but not much effort is put into focusing on the location of your store, you might not be drawing the best visitors. Of course it is always good to have web traffic, but I would bet most companies would take less traffic and more customers if given the chance.
Be sure when creating content on your website to mention where you are now and then. If you are blogging about your company and your product, be sure to include the locational phrases that your customers may be searching for or searching from.
As always when talking about SEO, put your emphasis on writing for your customers and not the search engines. Having said that, remember that the search engines are there and that they are looking to you for help knowing what your site and each page is about. Write for the customers, but don’t be afraid to remind the search engines just where those customers are.
Be sure to look for local blogs and directories to list your site. Getting inbound links to your site is always good and connecting with other local businesses is as well. Double win.
Pay Per Click
There are times when you will want to use CPM (pay for impressions) and times you will want to use PPC (pay per click). This is one of the times you want to use the pay-per-click. Targeting your campaigns towards people in specific areas and within a specific demographic will target your search to near pinpoint precision. Restricting your budget to “per click” allows you to bid for people in your market searching for what you are offering. Create multiple landing pages and multiple ads to try to find the best conversion rate to sales and you will have a good idea as to how much you should be budgeting on your campaigns.
Nothing wrong with doing CPM marketing, of course. Either way, be sure to target specific targets and demographics to get your message and your ad in front of the right eyes. Having a blog and a great website is wonderful, but having good, meaningful, targeted traffic is even better.
As with any advertising online, experiment with different ads and formats and see what is working. Thin out the herd as things show themselves to be successful and you will end up creating very effective ads.
Local Social Media Marketing
As a part of your social media marketing, local businesses have sites that they can use more effectively than non-local businesses. Are you watching your Yelp reviews and responding to them? If you are a restaurant, is your profile in your control on Urban Spoon. Be sure to pay attention to the social media sites that are available to you as a local business and be active on them. Run Foursquare promotions when it is applicable and get involved with the local online community. Being active immediately gives you the edge over your competitors that choose to not be active. Take any advantage you can get.
Moral of the Story
When it comes to having a local business, the point of your website is often to get local potential customers to your store or on your webpage. Targeting them through ads and offering your business information in local search results will better help you connect your local business with real local customers.