Does your business cater to local customers? If so, you need to implement various search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to ensure that local customers can find your website when they search online for the types of products and services you offer.
Not having a website that’s optimized for local search today is the 1990s equivalent of not being listed in the Yellow Pages.
According to the Kelsey Group, 74% of Internet users perform local searches, and according to a study by TMP and Comscore, 82% of local searchers followp offline with an in-store visit, phone call or purchase.
So, if you want to boost your bottom line and make the most of your online marketing efforts, make sure that your website is found wherever possible by local consumers.
Use Local Keywords
In order to drive local traffic to your website, incorporate local keywords into your website’s content, title tags, and meta tags. Perform keyword research to determine what keywords local customers are using to find websites like yours. Local keywords typically include the type of business and your city and state.
For example, if you’re a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, keywords you might target include “Personal injury attorney Philadelphia” or “Personal injury lawyer Philadelphia PA.”
Add Your Address and Phone Number to Every Page of Your Website
Make it clear to search engines and users where your business is based by adding your physical address and phone number with a local area code to every page of your website. Doing this also improves your website’s user experience because it makes it easier for people to find your contact information and get in touch with you.
Claim Your Listing on Local Search Platforms
One easy way to increase your local business’s exposure is by claiming your listing on major local search platforms, like Google Places, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local. These local search platforms require you to verify your phone number and address. Maximize the effectiveness of your listings on local search platforms by adding photos and videos, writing compelling copy, incorporating target keywords, adding coupons, and keeping your listing up-to-date.
Get Listed in Local Directories
If your business is not listed in multiple local directories, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to show up in local searches. Some directories where you can get your local business listed include Yelp, YellowPages.com, Merchant Circle, LinkedIn, CitySearch, and Foursquare. Making sure your business has a presence anywhere potential customers could find you is vital to the success of your local marketing plan.
Ask for Reviews
Encourage customers to review your business on local business directories, as long as it’s not against their terms of service. Most local directories, besides Yelp, allow businesses to solicit reviews. Reviews, both positive and negative, help to build trust and add credibility. You can ask customers to review your business via social media, on printed receipts, in your email signature or on invoices.
Not only should you focus on getting found locally, but you should also strive to provide top-notch customer service at every step. In this era, information about your business, both good and bad, has the potential to spread at breakneck speed across the web. Treat your customers extremely well both online and offline to ensure that your business is represented in a positive light online.
Edward Kundahl, Ph.D., M.B.A.