Local SEO – How to Dominate Your Neighborhood
17 October 2017
As a local business owner, you don’t need to conquer the whole world or even the whole country. You just want people in your city to know you exist. Many small businesses operate within a specific area. This presents unique challenges but also a lot of great opportunities when it comes to optimizing your online presence. Here are some top tips for improving and localizing your search engine optimization efforts, which will help Google and other search engines (but mostly Google) put your website in front of the local customers you want.
Define Your Range
Before you get to work implementing the next tips, start with a plan. The most important part of your local SEO plan is to define the geographic area you want to reach. If you are a plumber, for example, think of all the areas you would be willing to provide service. If you live in Poway, you’d probably be willing to drive up to Escondido but maybe not Temecula.
You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by focusing too small, but if you expand too far, you could be wasting resources. For example, it’s unlikely that most people in Ramona will drive all the way to Encinitas to eat at your restaurant. You’re better off focusing on residents of Carlsbad, Solana Beach, San Marcos, and Poway.
Update Your Website
Embrace the NAP – your company’s name, address, and phone number. Without a doubt, this information should be on your contact page. Consider adding it in the footer of all of your pages. Google scans your website and will take notice of your address, making it more likely to show up in localized searches.
Don’t be shy about mentioning the nearby cities and towns you serve on your About page and Contact page. You’ll also bump up your SEO by adding a Google Map to your contact page. (Your web designer can do this is you don’t know how).
It’s a good idea to mention your location where appropriate on your website, but don’t go overboard. Google isn’t fond of websites overstuffed with keywords. It’s great to mention that you are “Escondido’s favorite plumber,” but not that you are “Escondido’s favorite plumber located in Escondido that is proud to serve the Escondido community.”
Optimize Tags and Descriptions
Every single page of your website should include a title tag and meta description that mentions your city. For example, change “Bob’s Plumbing,” to “Bob’s Plumbing in Escondido.” Your regular website visitors won’t see these tags when they are on your site. They will, however, see them in the search result pages, so be creative and use your unique selling proposition to enhance this data.
Your web pages aren’t the only things that needs to be optimized. Check all the videos and pictures on your site and see if it makes sense to add locations in the description, tag, or caption.
Write Blogs About Local Topics
Writing a blog is just good SEO practice on its own. Search engines like to see that your site is alive and growing. Blogs also serve as a great way for you to connect and educate your website visitors (just like this blog is hopefully doing) and to position yourself as an industry expert. They can also boost your local SEO efforts.
If you can, write about local topics. For example, a client of ours, Kaminskiy Design & Remodeling, recently wrote a blog post about how to winter-ready your San Diego home. This post was educational and also highly relevant to homeowners in and around San Diego – Kaminskiy’s customer base.
Optimize Your Social Media
- One key to local search engine optimization is to make it as easy as possible to find your business. One great way to do this is to take advantage of social media by creating accounts on at least few of the major platforms. (The biggies are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.) On each account, create a business profile and include your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number). This is just one more chance to be found and to reiterate your local address.Tip: These accounts won’t do you much good if you just set them up and forget about them. Make an effort to post on a regular basis, especially about local events. If you know that you aren’t going to be able to juggle a dozen different accounts, just pick one or two that you can handle.Extra Tip: Try to get your social media accounts verified for more authenticity.
- If you were to Google “Plumbers, Escondido,” the first listing you’d see (that wasn’t an ad) won’t be a specific plumber. It’ll almost certainly be a Google map listing, probably followed by a Yelp! listing.Directory and review sites have tons of SEO juju, and you can use their power to elevate your own status by making sure your company is listed on their sites. Take just a few hours to submit your listing or claim your existing listing on the major review and directory sites, including:
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
- Merchant Circle
Tip: Once you get listed, encourage your customers to give you honest reviews. By far, the place to steer your happiest customers is Google My Business. This listing will always be the first that will show up when someone does a Google search for your type of business in your area.
Guest Blog for Local Outlets
Another key search engine optimization strategy is known as “link building.” When a high-quality website links to your site, your website achieves a higher level of “authority.” Google takes into consideration your authority when it decides which sites to list at the top of its search engine rankings.
A great way to build links is to write guest blogs and articles for other sites. The local newspapers, radio stations, and news stations in your area constantly need new material for their readers, and they always appreciate content from local business owners as long as it’s interesting and useful to their readership.
Go ahead and pitch a strong local story idea to the San Diego Union Tribune, the North County Times, or CBS News 8 in San Diego. Not only will you get a great link to your website, but you’ll also expand your visibility and promote yourself in the community as an industry expert.
The great thing about performing localized SEO is that it naturally feeds into and enhances your other marketing endeavors. Taken together, these tips may seem like a lot of work, but many of them require a small amount of upfront effort for a big payoff. For the more work-intensive suggestions, like writing blogs, keeping up on social media, and pitching local media outlets, you may want to consider hiring a marketing agency.
Strongly consider hiring a local marketing agency. Local agencies already deeply understand your target market (after all, they live in the area too), as well as the local media. They can take local pictures, make local videos, and brainstorm great topics that will resonate with your audience.
If you want to attract customers in the San Diego area, choose a San Diego-based marketing agency like cThru Media to help!