Although there are a lot of articles on the subject, local search marketing can be quite tricky. What I would like to share in this article are 4 things that while fairly simple, tend to be overlooked by many business owners or their search engine marketing team.
1. Local Data Aggregators
TripAdvisor, Google +, Yelp. Are you optimizing your business listings correctly?
No? You should!
Yes? You shouldn’t stop there!
With Google + having a strong influence in the search engines, I don’t think I even have to say why your listing there should be optimized (okay fine, I just did!). People use Yelp and TripAdvisor all the time, so search crawlers are hanging out there too to see what’s up with your business.
However, some businesses just stop here – and they shouldn’t! Google doesn’t take into account citations from just these 3 places! It crawls 1000s of websites to do so!
Why bother? Well, here is a good way to think of it: If your business is in it for the long-run and is “legit”, you will want it to be found in as many places as possible. This includes offline and online spots. A “dodgy” overnight “business” might run a few PPC or CPM ads, but a legitimate business will take the time to build increase its presence in other ways too. And if 100s of local aggregators mention you, chances are, your business is legit and valuable.
2. 10 Stores = 10 Pages, or Something Like That
This is advice straight from Matt Cutts. Literally, he has a post on his blog titled: “SEO Advice: Make a web page for each store location”.
It’s not a long article, but for those of you who just want the main takeaway, here it is:
Don’t hind your store location information behind a form or a POST. Create a unique, easily crawlable URL for each store. Also have an HTML sitemap of the stores’ web pages if you can. He also acknowledges that this might not be ideal for ALL businesses, so he proposes this solution as well:
“If you have a relatively small number of stores, you could have a single page that links to all your stores. If you have a lot of stores, you could have a web page for each (say) state that links to all stores in that state.”
Oh, and if you really want to maximize your chances of getting ranked higher, then by all means, optimize these pages for mobile too. It should not be a surprise that people are very likely to look for your store location on the go.
3. Localized Content
We all know about using keywords in our meta keyword tags and content. What a lot of us fail to realize is that local keywords are keywords too. How about adding a zip code on your page and in your description? Or the name of the neighborhood? Or maybe a nearby attraction?
Oh, and I’m not only talking about your ‘About’ or ‘Contact’ page. Consider adding these on your important pages as well. A tip would be to have that information present at all times in the header, a sidebar or in the footer.
These can really make a difference when it comes to local searches, especially the ones that are quite specific.
4. People Love Talking
People talk about businesses all the time, whether it’s on review sites like TripAdvisor or their own business pages (on Facebook or Google+ for example).
Some business owners just smile at positive reviews and ignore (or worse, delete!) negative reviews.
It’s an opportunity to engage with your customers and show to potential customers (and the search engines!) that you care.
“Thank you for your kind words. We are glad that you’ve had a pleasant experience with us.” is a great response to someone who took the time to write something nice about your service or business.
Got a negative review? Respond to it as well. Here is a good way to do it: “I am really sorry to hear that! What we can do is make sure that…” and then address their concern.
The things shared here are pretty simple to execute, and if you do, will bring you results that will be totally worth it, for the little amount of work and time involved to do them.