Businesses are operating in a competitive market which makes it difficult for small businesses to favourably compete with limited resources.
So how do you ensure people get to see or know about your business? You will have to do more if you want to get your business in front of potential local customers.
Local search marketing is one of the best means of getting people to see your business. It is arguably the easiest means to get your business in front of your potential local customers.
As a local business, your primary catchment area is your neighbourhood. This is because you wouldn’t expect people that live miles away from your business to patronise you.
Even if they do, the cost of delivering your services or products to them may be too high for you. This is why your primary target should be your immediate environment and this is where local search marketing becomes a necessity.
Search engines and how to leverage local search marketing
As the internet continues to be a primary source of information, increasing online visibility remains an important objective for every business.
The fact is that search engines have witnessed unparalleled levels of improvement.
Today’s search engine results are highly personalised to show exact information tailored to a user’s specific location.
This makes it highly valuable for local businesses to provide accurate and easily accessible information to consumers. Below are some of the best ways you can improve your business’s local search marketing efforts:
#1]. Market (target) segmentation is important
As a local business owner, the first thing to do is to segment your market. You have to define your target and catchment area if you truly want to get more from local search marketing. If you don’t know, this is what will enable you to segment your paid search campaigns.
Many businesses operate at a local level as well as a regional, national, or even an international level. If your business has an interest in attracting customers locally, keep your paid search campaigns local.
Also, if you want to go regional and on a large scale, it is advisable to keep paid search campaigns separate. This means you shouldn’t try to be too smart by using one paid search campaign to attract customers on different market segments. And don’t forget to show physical location, phone number, and map links on your ads.
#2]. Keywords matter, try to make them work for you
A keyword is one of the most important aspects of search engine marketing. This is why you should ensure that the keywords used on your business website are included on review pages, local listing profiles, social media profiles and any other sites on which your business has a presence.
This will help you to reinforce your SEO efforts and keep information about your business consistent across the web, and this will help to easily make keywords work for you.
Also, website content for local businesses should also be optimised for location-specific keywords and phrases.
Add specific long-tail key phrases that include details about the business’s location and location-specific branded key phrases to the website and any shared content.
#3]. Let the search engines know where you are
When we talk about local search marketing, it’s important to let the search engines understand and know your business’s physical location. This is going to be taken into consideration by the search engines when people search for you.
You should try to take every possible opportunity to inform search engines where your local business is located and what areas it serves.
If your business website doesn’t have one already, create a footer that includes the business name, address, and coverage areas at the bottom of every webpage.
This signals to search engines that the site should be served as a result to users searching for or within those specific areas. Use “schema markup” to ensure that it’s recognised properly by engines.
A local business name and address should also be specified on the business’s social media profiles or pages. The more detail you can provide about the business, the better.
Properly optimised images should be added to profiles that allow them. Also, information about hours, closings, and speciality should be available on all profiles associated with the location.
#4]. Put your contact details on local listings
Local businesses are often featured, with or without the business’s consent, on local listing pages or third-party sites such as Yelp or Google Reviews.
The URL on such pages should point back to a contact or other page specific to the location being reviewed to reinforce relevance.
For businesses with multiple locations, this can help mitigate potential confusion and guard against one location suffering because of another location’s poor reviews.
Take some time to search for duplicate profiles across third-party websites, as sometimes listings or profiles are generated because they are associated with a particular email address or another identifying element.
If possible, remove duplicate profiles and ensure that consumers are being directed to the profiles you own and manage.
And if your business or client is not featured on local listings or other sites that offer information about local businesses, create a presence that includes all the correct details.
It’s important to have a presence on such sites and to make sure the details are accurate, as search engines frequently crawl such sites to collect information — accuracy and consistency in these areas can help boost SEO.
#5]. Online reviews also matter
It’s important to encourage customers to leave reviews for your business so that when prospects are looking for information, it is presented in a positive light. According to Google, customers and businesses both benefit when a business is reviewed.
Online reviews are often the first sources consumers come across when searching for information about a local business, especially service-based industries.
Even if people leave bad (negative) reviews about your business, never attempt to delete them. What you should do instead is to respond positively to bad reviews in order to be able to win the reviewers back.