Marketing your business online involves a never-ending list of tasks, so why not start small and target your local area first?
Let’s start by explaining what we mean by ‘local’. We’re talking about businesses with a shop such as a bike shop or art gallery. But this doesn’t exclude businesses with a service area that go out to meet their customers, such as a plumber.
These are businesses that sell their products or services to people who live nearby and even people that are visiting from further afield. For example, a potential customer might live far away but is in your town on holiday looking to hire a bike from a shop during her stay.
Local SEO is a targeted and effective way of marketing your business online. It helps businesses to promote their products and services to local customers by generating traffic from location-based search. It allows you to be seen by customers on their terms.
One of the top reasons for local search is finding a specific business, the second most common reason is finding a product or service. Whilst some search for a specific business’ name, others don’t have one in mind when they start typing into that search bar. There is no better time to connect with a potential customer through local SEO than when they really need you.
Someone looking to buy in a specific location is usually ready to pull out their wallet – this sets you up to be their go-to shop if easily found in search results. Local directory marketing has a high conversion rate too, you’re likely to convert 1 in 2 leads into a customer. How amazing does that sound?
How do I do it?
It helps to have your website optimised to appear in search results for your specific products and services already.
Now, make sure your website contains your location details. If you have a shop you should include your address and maybe even an interactive map so customers can get directions to you. Also, include your telephone number and accurate working hours. If you have a service area business, make sure your website explains the areas you serve and how people can best get in touch with you.
Businesses need to be ready to be seen by searchers using any device, so make sure your website is optimised for mobile as well as desktop. Customers are often on the go when looking for local services, using there mobile to access your site. Having a clear, easy to read site is great for mobile users and the search engines that crawl your site looking for information.
List your business on local search listings such as Google My Business and Bing Places. These are nice and simple to set up and, depending on the browser you customer uses, will show up when a customer searches for your business.
The key to local directories and search is consistency. Make sure the same details and business name is published each time. You can update your listing at any time. There are so many directories you can sign up to, it’s worth keeping track of which you are part of with a spreadsheet or list so you don’t lose track when it comes to updating them.
Want to improve your websites chance of ranking in local search? Content is key. Write some articles about your services or products, include local aspects where you can. For example, if you run a camping business, write an article of the best camping spots in your area.
With more local information added to your website, search engines will start to recognise its relevance to local searchers. Your chances of appearing in the local results may start to increase.
Next thing to note is local advertising. On search engines you can bid to show your ad when people type in specific search terms. You can then limit these ads to people in certain locations or within specific distances from your business. The same is possible with targeting ads on social media platforms.