Go Global! We’ve all heard it before, but when it comes to starting out a business operation, the first major move is to secure and reach out to your customers near the base of your operations.
For example, in the first few months of its operation, owners of a newly opened restaurant may approach neighbours, employees of nearby businesses, students of nearby universities, and other people to offer their menu and their place. Even before they opened their restaurant, they may have planned to strategically establish their business near their target market. A fine dining restaurant, for instance, may open in the middle of a city’s business district to cater to their market—VIPs, executives, and socialites who work there. Even after years of operating, the majority of a company’s core and loyal customers still come from immediate and nearby areas.
The same principle happens when it comes to digital marketing. People generally search for local solution providers in search engines before considering faraway entities. In fact, many viewers simply give up their search if they can’t find a local business that can cater to their needs.
LOCAL SEARCH = LOCAL CUSTOMERS
To draw most of your local audience to your business, you need to have an effective local SEO campaign. Local search refers to a set of search engine marketing (SEM) techniques that allow viewers to input geographically limited searches against a database of local businesses. In a nutshell, the queries not just include what the site visitor is looking for but also where to find it. Thus, rather than searching for “fine dining restaurants,” a user may type in “fine dining restaurants in Sydney” to search for first-class restaurants in Australia’s biggest city.
Handy Tips to Maximise Local Search
Search engines actually establish special algorithms that determine which local businesses should be placed on top in a local search. The following useful pointers can help you get the top spot in a SERP whenever people look for something they need that you can potentially provide:
Keywords – Get the right words in
Since people search engines using keywords, your content should contain the right keywords. Through diligent keyword research using online tools or by hiring a specialist to do the study for you, you can precisely identify the keywords that people are typing in search engine fields to look for businesses like yours. Make sure your keywords are geo-targeted; this means, they should include your town, address, city, or country. For example, don’t just include the keyword “travel agency” in your content. Affix it with “travel agency in London” or “London travel agency.”
When researching for keywords, try to filter the results by geographic regions (e.g., country, province, city, etc.) so you would have a feel of the regional demand of such keywords. In addition, you will also have an idea of how competitive those keywords are in a local search.
Google Maps – Where are you?
This popular web mapping application provides your market the way to your business. Create an account and pin your business’s address. You can include a few photos and videos or short descriptions and product offers. You can also set up accounts in similar applications such as Yahoo Local or Bing Local.
Google Maps is also available on mobile devices. Thus, by putting your business in Google Maps, viewers on the go will always find you whenever they perform a mobile geo-targeted keyword search.
About Us and Contact Us Pages – Who are you?
Users go to your About Us and Contact Us pages not just to know about your business and what you can offer but also how to get in touch with you. Deny them of a way to communicate with you and you’ll end up losing customers and opportunities.
Thus, do not forget to put in your contact info which includes your street address, phone and fax numbers, website URL, Instant Messaging username, and other details. You may also wish to include your business’s operating schedule in these pages.
Social Media Marketing – What’s your status?
In the recent years, social media marketing has been a crucial factor in local SERP rankings. Thus, do not dismiss having a Facebook page and Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn accounts. Social media sites are gateways to get intimate with your target market. They are effective and direct ways to interact, obtain direct information and suggestions, advertise your offers, and address concerns with your market. You can take advantage of social media sites to build relationships and foster a community, so they are your partners in optimising for local searches.
Different landing pages for different locations – Branch out to the world
If your business has branches and satellite offices in several locations, consider making a landing page for each location. Once the content and page layout for each location is finalised, start optimising the page using the appropriate geo-targeted keywords.
Schema – Codes to Work for You
Schema, or structured data, is a simple, universally accepted HTML code that allows search engines to better classify and identify some essential information on your website. That information includes your contact details and location.
Ask a programmer (or you can do this yourself if you have the skills) to replace the Schema code in your website with your location and contact information. Then insert the Schema in your web page.
Footer – Never neglect what’s at the Bottom
The bottom of your website is often overlooked and underused. However, it actually holds immense SEO value. You can move validation codes to your footer; doing so reduces the quantity of HTML coding that search engines need to read. And as you well know, a fast-loading website is a boon to both search engines and users. Remember that loading speed is an important SEO element which affects ranking.
Link to complementary businesses – Get connected
Boost your online local visibility by linking to related local businesses. For instance, if your business is involved in selling rock climbing equipment, reach out to related enterprises such as climbing gyms, rock climbing clubs, outdoor shops, and adventure tour operators. Exchanging links with them allows you to capture a shared market.
As you can see, going local isn’t all that bad. In fact, it’s what you need in your website. Going global is the ultimate goal but first, getting your feet wet on local ground is the first step! You’ll soon see the benefits of optimising your website for local searches!
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.