Although most business owners understand the differences between marketing at local and national levels in the real world, they may not necessarily know how local SEO efforts differ from any other type of search engine optimization for a small business website. You’ve probably heard that it’s important to engage in local SEO if you have a real-world business that you want to encourage customers to visit, but won’t regular SEO do the trick?
In truth, your average SEO efforts will almost certainly have an impact on your business at the local level, raising awareness of your brand, increasing your loyal consumer base, and so on.
But if you’re interested in forming the bond that can only come from in-person interactions with your customers, you don’t necessarily want your locals shopping online. This is where local SEO can really help. And here are just a few effective local seo tips that can help to encourage community members to visit your real-world location.
- Create local profiles. You’ve no doubt set up professional pages on Facebook, Twitter, and so on, but you also need to create local profile pages that will bring business to you. This means setting up pages on platforms that are geared towards locals, such as Yelp, Foursquare, and Google+, just to name a few possibilities. Even your Pinterest account can feature a local flair if you set up neighborhood pinboards that highlight community happenings. The point is that you need to let people in your area know where you are, and creating local profiles allows you to do just that, as well as opening up additional opportunities for optimization.
- Claim listings. Many local business sites probably have you listed already – you simply have to check in and claim your listing so that you can add your business information (location, hours, etc.), post pictures, and begin to garner reviews. If you don’t claim these dormant listings you’re missing out on a chance to interact with potential customers, raise visibility, and expand your SEO efforts.
- Encourage reviews. One of the best things about local profiles is the platform they provide for user reviews, and you should encourage satisfied patrons to leave reviews that will not only influence other prospective customers, but also help with your overall rankings, especially for local searches.
- Format your NAP. No, we’re not talking about the mid-afternoon siesta you wish you could take during your work day. NAP, as it pertains to local SEO, represents your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number. And if your goal is to get people from your local environs into your brick-and-mortar location, you need to make sure that you post this information frequently. It should appear on every page of your website somewhere (top, bottom, wherever). It doesn’t have to be obtrusive, but it should be consistent and easy to find. You also need to include your NAP data on every local profile you create, and you should use whatever format you’ve chosen for your website. So if you list your address as “First Street” on your website, don’t make it “1st St.” on your social profiles. Formatting this citation in the same way across platforms makes you more easily recognizable to search engines, which can only aid in your local SEO efforts.
- Engage in geomarketing. If yourlocal SEO strategies don’t include geomarketing you’re missing out on a major opportunity to improve traffic (both virtual and real-world) and sales. This includes utilizing geolocation as part of your marketing strategy, but it mainly revolves around gathering data related to local demographics, as well as the results of local marketing efforts in order to see what’s working and what isn’t so that you can achieve greater efficiency and success in the future. No matter what other local SEO tips you take advantage of, you should definitely consider what you stand to gain by making geomarketing part of your local SEO package.