Most smart local business marketers understand the necessity of not only attracting local customers, but also cultivating a positive local reputation to succeed. In today’s digital age, the first stop for many consumers is Google search. Ensuring that your business is well-positioned in the Google local search results is essential to attract new customers, establish an online reputation, and leverage a local competitive advantage.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your business’ web presence in local search results. While not all of these strategies are focal to local SEO, each of these strategies can help increase your company’s search visibility
Keyword Optimize Your Site
For those experienced in local SEO best practices, keyword optimization is a no-brainer. If you want to attract customers in your local area, you should be sure to optimize your website with geographic modifiers based on your business’ location.
For example if you operate a small business that offers local search marketing services in Atlanta, GA, you might optimize your website for the keyword phrase “Atlanta SEO Agency” to establish proper keyword and geographic relevancy.
Analyze Your Local SEO Competition
Conduct a thorough assessment of your local marketplace as well as an evaluation of what keywords (if any) your local competitors are optimizing their websites for. Assessing your competitors’ local SEO strategies can provide invaluable insights into how you better optimize your site. Analyzing your local competition can also provide a barometer of what NOT to do when optimizing your website for local organic SEO.
Create Local Business Listings
Google, Bing, and Yahoo! offer free local business listings that you can establish (and optimize) for the benefit of local search SEO. Your local business listings contribute to greater visibility in local searches on specific keyword targets associated with your company.
In addition to creating local business listing for search engine visibility, getting listed aids in building an array of online citations for your business, which are also Google local ranking factors in the 3-pack. We suggest creating profiles on sites like Yelp, YP, Merchant Circle, Superpages, Manta, etc. to help validate your business and boost your company’s search rankings.
Earn Positive Reviews on Local Business Listings
Particularly with respect to your business’s Google listing, earning customer reviews influence both SEO and your the local online reputation of your brand. In addition to Google, pointing happy customers to your Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo! listings offer greater credibility with the search engines.
Getting your customers to leave reviews can be as easy as just asking, but don’t be afraid to get creative and establish certain discounts in return – their effort can be worth incentives for some business looking to employ a review generation program. In the example of above, review generation can be a pivotal strategy for Google Maps marketing, especially when your business ranks under your competitors.
Leverage Local PPC Advertising
Local Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising using Google AdWords and Bing AdCenter is one of the most effective and efficient means of driving highly-qualified search traffic. Local PPC ads can be precisely-targeted to only local search engine users in your area. Because local PPC advertising only reaches people you’re targeting, it provides a high success rate and return on investment.
Engage Local Users on Social Media
Social media platforms are a great tool that can help increase the brand impressions for your small business. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can help your web content go viral and in turn increase the link popularity of your website and your business.
Establishing a social media presence and actively engaging with users is easy, and creating accounts is 100% free on most of these platforms. Like all social media outlets, staying active and engaging other users is key to a successful strategy that will help fuel local SEO and search marketing as a whole.
These local SEO strategies can provide a great starting point for your local search marketing strategy and can greatly benefit the overall success of your organic search optimization efforts.