How to Get SEO for Local Markets: Your SEO strategy
You’re a local business; a consultant, a specialist, a firm, or an enterprise. Most of your business comes from your corner of the city or county or state. However you define your idea of “local,” you want to use your website to sell or promote locally. What do you do? Do you know how to get SEO for local customers?
When local customers do a Google local search for your business, you want them to be able to find you, your location, and pertinent information. You don’t necessarily want to do SEO for global traffic. Perhaps you don’t want to spend a lot of time every day on your Web life, because you have a real life. Regardless, there are a few solid techniques to put into practice in order to optimize your Web presence for local traffic.
Creating your SEO strategy to rank as a local business on Google differs from more general Web SEO. When marketing your products or services, three considerations factor in: Target Market, Framing Your Value, and Implementation.
One post isn’t going to give you a secret formula. Some alchemical arcana that’s going to unlock the full potential of your SEO and business presence on the Web. That’s up to you. But hopefully the tips here on ranking as a local business on Google will spark your SEO strategy.
1. Target Market
If you had one magic word for local marketing, what would it be?
SEO? Walk-in traffic? Reviews? Advertising?
The word you’re probably searching for is: Referrals. Local specialists and entrepreneurs have generally touted referrals from satisfied clients, as a primary method for gaining new business. This is one reason why your best ally in local success is time.
Other than word of mouth referrals – which you are soliciting from your clients and customers, perhaps in exchange for discounts or coupons – what are some other ways to generate interest? Beat the grass?
Local yellow pages, directories and listings, review sites; geolocation services. Have you pinned your office on local business maps? If you have walk-ins, have you registered with Foursquare type services?
Segmenting the Local Pie
Four primary methods divide a target market into segments: Behavioral, Psychographic, Demographic and Geographic. Since you’re focused on how to get SEO locally, you should be mostly concerned with the latter two: demographic and geographic information about your primary customers. You want to understand where your SEO hits, and where your customers and competitors dwell. You want to conduct a customer and competitor analysis; sites like Free World Academy and Score can help you here.
Small to medium businesses may simplify their market in the form of a marketing persona. Quite simply, imagine a cardboard cutout of your primary customer. Who is it? What are their problems? What is their scope of solution? Get to know them, and you’ll always have friends in the office.
2. Framing Your Value
Based on what you know about the geographic and demographic traits of your marketing persona, it’s time to create a website that targets, reaches, attracts and converts them. Not sure how to get SEO right here? Try answering these questions:
- What questions or queries are your customers entering into search engines?
This will help to inform your content keyword strategy. Think like your customer, and conduct a Google local search of your own.
- How do I show them the value of my solutions? How do I establish my business’ credibility on a website?
Now you’re looking at content and design strategies.
- Will they respond more to a generic, polished site; or a low-tech, homegrown site?
Depends – is your product or service value-priced? Or competitively priced? In other words – are you marketing quality or quantity? Are you going for polish or personal?
- How can I interface with them from the website?
Studies indicate an unwillingness of customers using a contact form for a consultation. You need to sweeten the pot.
Alternatively, you might consider adding interactivity to your website. Web 2.0 applications enhance site interaction, which may include: giving clients access to a scheduler; screening forms that can pre-qualify client types or needs; or lead them to an information page, video, discount coupons and the like. Other content can include email, chat, audio or video, and even conferences with multiple people.
Get creative framing your business value and marketing strategy. Use sound design principles to convey your organization’s optimal image. If you don’t know what I mean by this – you need a design consultant. Unless, of course, you want to be the only local business sending mixed messages to the market. Keep in mind the laws of false economy – cheaper now can be costlier later.
Should you have a static website, or a dynamic blog? What if you don’t know how to get SEO for either?
If you’re a cheerleader for your business, by all means blog and use social media to your fullest extent. If this sounds like a problem for you, there are alternatives. For medium to large enterprises, hire an agency; for small to large enterprises, a consultant may suffice (they may be skilled at sourcing large jobs, too). You can run a dynamic site for almost any scale of fee.
For those who prefer a static website – a mere shingle to present your name and location – then you’ll have to concentrate on obtaining referral traffic through more conventional channels: client requests, networking exchanges, eye-catching banners, and contact boxes.
Considering the ubiquity of Web and mobile devices – what opportunity costs are you willing to pay for not expanding your SEO referral energy online?
More About Local Keyword Strategies
Always include your area, address, location and zip codes in your keyword strategies. Having this information appear repeatedly is another way to boost the chances of locals finding you. Conduct a Keyword or Insights search to get a handle on the most common search terms people use for your location. Do they search by city? Zip code? County? Municipal area? Favor the popular search queries. Remember to register on local business maps on local and global Web services.
While you’re at it, search related keywords. Use any prominent ones in your strategy. Alternatively, a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign may be warranted. This will allow your business to come up when people search local business on Google.
Domain Marketing: Use the Right Tool for the Job
You might consider using a domain name strategy. Use a domain analyzer to determine if there are available domains that combine your service with location; see if they already draw search traffic. For example, look at this screenshot of a domain analysis targeted for local markets:
Conduct a local domain analysis
Once finding available domains, you might analyze their keywords in Google to see if any pop out with traffic. For more information about domain marketing, see the domain essentials category, or check out my latest post Domain SEO: Keyword vs Branded Domain.
How to Get SEO for Local Markets: Final Thoughts
This article only scratches the surface. For other ideas about local SEO, check out Target Your Local Market via SEO at Teeky.org. They list a few other good suggestions.
Remember that for any SEO strategy to work, it has to work in conjunction with best marketing practices on the Web. Ranking locally can be an easy task; but it can also prove damaging if mishandled.
Implement these strategies, create your own, and you’re well on your way to becoming a local hero. Good luck! Have an idea or comment? Chime in!