Online Marketing Strategies for Local Businesses Part 1: SEO
Local SEO Strategy
When it comes to PPC and SEO optimization, local businesses are their own animal. Online marketing strategies for your website, ads, landing pages and keywords must be aligned with the focus of getting local customers into your store. There are many elements that can put you leagues ahead of the competition. Today, we are going go over the most essential steps in optimizing for Local SEO.
Make Sure Your Site and Your Google My Business Page Are 100% Synced
Completing your Google My Business page to 100% and making sure all the information is completely accurate is paramount. Google’s Business Guidelines give you a good road-map of what they expect from your My Business page and from your website.
It’s VERY critical that the information on your website and landing pages MUST match all the information on your My Business page. Business hours, address and phone number on your My Business page should be prominent on your website and most importantly, formatted in text so that Google can crawl the information.
Site Structure Needs to Put Local SEO First
Structure your site through a local search perspective. Does the business have one location or multiple locations? Are there different pages for each product? Are multiple cities being targeted for the same keyword? The answers to these questions can completely change your local SEO strategy.
For instance, if the business has one location then the homepage may need to be the hub for all important information (address, hour, phone number, etc.) with sub-pages for each product or service offered. Businesses with multiple locations may need to have a “locations” page with a /location-name URL structure. Always keep in mind how your local customer will get the information they need out of your site.
People like to see what others think about the place they’re considering purchasing from. These days, local customers have plenty of options and the ability to research extensively before stepping foot into your store. Allow these local customers to trust you. Including a few well-written, legitimate reviews on your landing pages is a great way to let customers know that they can trust you. Google also rewards businesses that are well-reviewed in their ranking algorithm.
Google+ reviews are the most important. Achieving the coveted “5 Gold-Star” review for your search result has been directly correlated with ranking boosts and higher click-through rates (and it just looks nice). It’s a good idea for you to include links to Review Profiles for the other popular sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook etc.
Relevant Local Links
We all understand how important obtaining authoritative links to your site are for SEO. The same applies for local sites but there are other factors to consider besides getting backlinks from “big name” sites. Links from local sites are links that local customers are likely to click on. Buildings local links can be easier than getting links from companies that have a PR team, and there are several ways to go about it.
- Getting links from list or directory pages can be a great way to start. Every city will have these pages for a particular business type or for a particular location, for example, “best North Charleston restaurants”.
- Reaching out to local blogs that are relevant to your business or reaching out to a local figure that you can write about on your site can be a great way to build your local relevancy.
- Use the relationships you have with other organizations in your area and the local network. It will be easier to get links from those you know personally.
Check out the Local Competition
There’s no shame in taking a closer look at what your competitors are doing on their site and taking what you can from an SEO perspective. Look at how competitors are getting their organic traffic, which keywords they rank for, see what people say in the reviews about them and who’s linking to them. All of the factors previously mentioned play a role in how your competition is performing against you. Use this knowledge to your advantage in your own online marketing strategies.
Applying local business schema markups to your page will definitely help you stand out from the competition. This code directly tells search engines the important details of your business and displays the information in a prominent way in search results. Schema.org contains outlines of several types of schema that you can implement on your page to give it that extra advantage in search results.
- Review markup allows Google to recognize testimonials on your page and connect them to your business.
- Event markup is another good local SEO markup that can display important dates and descriptions directly underneath your business’s search result.
A Look Ahead at Online Marketing Strategies
Many brick-and-mortor stores feel overwhelmed when first dipping their toes into SEO. If you are just getting into the digital marketing world, check out our Digital Marketing Checklist for a head start. Next week we will look at how a local business can gain a competitive edge with paid advertising.