Local search engine optimization – the art of using Google and the other engines to draw in buyers from your own city, state, or neighborhood – has become so important that it’s now a cornerstone of any Internet marketing plan. Google itself reports that more than 40% of all searches are for local businesses are products, and search has replaced the Yellow Pages and other print directories as a primary source of information for local buyers.
Despite all of this, we regularly come across new clients who haven’t gotten started with local SEO just yet. In many cases, these are business owners who can tell that buyers are going online to find local businesses, but just haven’t been sure how to get started.
Today, we want to share a few simple steps you can take with your web design team to help you get started and ensure your most important prospects can find you, both online and down the street…
Decide Where Your Customers Are
Before you can get started with local search engine optimization, you have to decide what “local” means to you. Are your customers concentrated in one part of town, across the county, or throughout a wider area? Also, consider how far you can cast your marketing net before you run into your closest competitors. The better you can define your neighborhood, as it relates to your business, the easier it will be to optimize your website.
Let Google (and Buyers) Know Where You Are
Speaking of optimizing your website, it’s very easy to add geographic information keywords to your pages. Start by using your city and state. Make sure you include your ZIP Code and street address somewhere, along with your phone number. Google and the other search engines can use this information to understand where you are and when to show your website during user searches. Adding just a few location-based search terms can make a huge difference.
Make Your Business Easy to Find
You can further assist your local search engine optimization efforts by including driving directions, phone numbers, landmarks, and pictures of your location on your business website. These give more clues to search engines about your location, but also make it easy for buyers in the neighborhood (and especially those on mobile phones) to find you in the real world. And really, that’s the whole point of local SEO in the first place.
Don’t Stop With Search Engines
Although search engines are now the main source of information for local buyers, that doesn’t mean you should stop with them. You can do a lot to improve your profile with neighborhood buyers by filling out profiles on Yelp and Google +, not to mention any local industry directories. These help to improve your search visibility, but they also give customers more places to find you while improving the odds that you’ll get some valuable online reviews at the same time.
Search engine optimization, as a whole, can sometimes feel technical, complicated, and time-consuming. Being found online in your local markets is relatively quick and easy, however. So, don’t wait any longer to get started. There are customers out there looking for businesses just like yours right now!