Expanding your business online is a great idea especially on this age where almost everyone is connected online – scratch that, it’s necessary for you to do so. When setting up your site however, you must never forget one of the most important aspect – SEO. Search Engine Optimization is what directs people to you site, turning them into potential clients. But before you opt your site for SEO, you need to ask yourself this – who are your target audiences?
If you’re aiming on getting your site known to people in and outside your country, then go for SEO. If you’re going to take it one step at a time and target the local demographic, then pick the other one, Local SEO. The two differ at some points, and it’s good for you to know these differences in order to carry out a well organized marketing strategy.
Local SEO is not a new strategy – it’s been implemented for quite some time already. That can only mean good since all you need to do is follow the tracks of the people who have successfully carried out their Local SEO strategy. Here are some tips from them.
1. A Creative Domain Name
To put your site under Google’s radar, you need to optimize it for Local SEO. The first thing you could do is choose a proper name as the domain name of your site. The name has to be relevant with your business and where it’s located as much as possible. An example would be marysorchidshopla.com – it’s basically telling everyone about your orchid shop in L.A.
2. Your NAP
The next part is your NAP – name, address and phone of your company. These three variables must, and I mean must, be arranged in that order and placed somewhere in your main web page where anyone can see it without any difficulty. Your NAP must also be placed in all other pages as well – you could place it in the footer. This is pretty important for your future citations.
3. Keyword Research
You should already have a good idea as to what keywords are and what they do to your search results. Researching on possible local keyword terms would give you an idea as to what keywords to focus on for your site. You can use Google Adwords for this one.
4. Local Keywords
Don’t make your chosen keywords so general or Google won’t be able to mark it for Local SEO. Put an indicator, a local area for instance, right next to your keyword. Google can then track it down will include your business on a keyword search in that area.
5. Show Everyone the Way
Aside from showing everyone where your company address is, you also need to show it to them visually. Use some photos of the vicinities near your shop and label them as landmarks. You could also put in a Google Map in your site. This makes it easier for everyone to spot your shop – the actual one.
6. 3rd Party Directories
Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yelp have something that you call a business directory. And as you guessed it, this is also important for your Local SEO plan. You need to have your business listed down here – NAP rules apply. These are called citations and they can greatly boost your local SEO.
In these directories, you need to provide information about your company – make it as detailed as possible and if you could, add some pictures. And of course, the more the better so make sure you list down your site in as many directories as you can. Every little bit helps so make sure you go through all them.
If your company already has some branches in other locations, then you can make another separate citation for them. This is so that your branches can also be exposed to your local audience. And one last thing – make sure you have categorized your company correctly in those directories to make sure it reaches the right people.
7. Spread Your Business on the Social Network
Get a Google+ page, Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIN accounts, etc. for your company – also make sure that you interconnect them with each other and preferably put your Google+ page as your main social media account. Put in all the details like your NAP on them. Also, you can register on Google Places to have Google collect your company information officially. Your company details will be shown on the search window along with a digital map where its address has been pinned down.
8. Effective Link Building Strategy
Link building is not dead. And of course, you can still benefit from them – if used right that is. Here’s what you need to do.
Use social media to your advantage. Share links about your website your Facebook, Twitter accounts and more. And of course, persuade anyone reading those posts to share them to others as well.
Make sure that your inbound links come from credible sites that are relevant to your business. Never, at any point, do any link spamming schemes as it will only get you penalized by Google.
Make a name for yourself and your company locally. You can do that by hosting events and afterwards ask local organizations and businesses to link back when they’re talking about the said events on their sites.
9. Reply to Guest Reviews
For a business company, reviews are always welcome no matter how bad or good it is – it shows the flaws and give you an idea as to what you can do to further improve your services. And guess what – it’s also very useful for Local SEO. So make sure that encourage your visitors to leave a review about your site and the services that you offer.
And don’t forget to give a reply in a prompt manner. If they praised you, thank them – and if otherwise, then ask them about the problem or take note of it if they specified it and then fix it. And never rig your reviews – Google has a very good eye and can easily detect self-made ones. If they caught you, then you’ll lose the visibility you wanted.
10. More Social Media Application
Social media is here and it’ll be here for good. That’s why, you must also learn to use your social media accounts more and use it to spread information about your site to others. Constant social media interaction with everyone can also increase your standings in the search rankings. You can also posts the events you’re holding on your social account pages so that everyone can easily take note of it.
11. Press Releases
Press releases are also an effective form of marketing. Employ it and have your business listed on credible PR websites or in local newspapers. You can, again, use these to invite everyone to your business events.
You can form a bond with the local bloggers by giving them special offers on your services and they, in turn, will pitch in for you their blogs. Interacting with them can greatly widen your target audience reach.