Why Every SEO Strategy Should include Local Search Marketing:
Online Internet Advertising - Internet Advertising for Local Business
Most Retail and Service Businesses draw customers from a radius around their locations. To effectively attract customers, in our age of mobile search, internet advertising for local business can be accomplished using several online marketing techniques.
The first concept of internet advertising today is “engagement” and encouraging a prospect to engage with your company as resource, it’s not advertising as it used to be. Local Search Marketing is about “proximity” and Optimizing Business Listings Online so searchers find and consider what you offer. That’s true whether you have a single location serving just one neighborhood or a franchise with hundreds of locations across the nation.
Why? Since the 2012 Google algorithm updated named “Venice,” the company has served up results based on your location – whether it’s included in the query or not. That means that someone in New Jersey will get entirely different results from someone in California – even though they searched for the exact same terms.
If you run a national or regional business, you want to ensure that your business appears on that first page regardless of where people are searching. And, of course, if you serve a smaller geographic area, your business needs to dominate the search results for those locations.
The 3 Most Effective Strategies for Local Search Marketing
Local Listings and Maps
Many customers aren’t using traditional search engines to find local businesses. They’re on directory and review sites trying to locate those businesses with the best reputations. There are hundreds of these sites, and some are also industry-specific. Each site has different requirements, features, and other ways to enhance your listing, such as including photos, videos, and product listings. You can also expand your reach and convert more leads through announcements, deals, limited time offers, and other promotions.
But it’s also important that you’re monitoring your reputation on the sites that allow for customer feedback. Just a few bad reviews can drop your rating and drive customers into the arms of your competitors. Google itself allows for reviews, but it also links to other review sites. So even if you have a stellar rating on Google, your reputation on other less important directories may still impact your ability to convert a lead.
Not staying on top of these maps and listing sites can mean inaccurate or outdated information about your business, and that can cost you sales. You can learn more about how your specific business is listed with this free scan.
Also, each of these listings is a “citation” that confirms your business name, address, and phone number, and even if they don’t actually link back to your website, these citations are as valuable (or maybe more valuable) than other inbound links when it comes to Google’s ranking algorithm for geo-targeted searches. That means the more your business is listed with the same (exact) business name, address, and phone number, the more likely you are to achieve a higher ranking in search results, which brings us to the next local SEO marketing strategy…
Local Organic Search Results
Hyper-local searches are more likely to produce results, driving foot traffic to your store or converting into an online sale. The difference is the intent of the searcher. For example, someone searching for “personal injury” may just be looking for general research on the topic, but a search for “personal injury attorney in New Jersey” is much more likely to actually be seeking to hire someone. These geo-target keyword searches are more likely to bring action-oriented searchers to your website.
Let’s take a look at how different the search results can look for a branded search versus a local search.
Just using the term “In-N-Out” brings up the main corporate site at the top, an attention-grabbing information box with the logo (from Google's Knowledge Graph), and multiple locations near the Austin area.
But if you add local keywords to the inquiry, you get a very different result. The corporate website doesn’t appear until the third result, no locations are listed, and there’s no prominent display of the company logo.
Local Paid Click Ads
Building a solid local SEO strategy takes time, but there’s one way to reach that coveted first page immediately: a pay-per-click ad campaign. Your ad will appear higher than the organic search results, and 40% of consumers aren’t even aware it’s an ad.
The localization of all search results also means that single-location and regional businesses are now facing stiffer competition from national chains getting in on the game. After all, that 10-pack only showcases 10 businesses, even if there are dozens of competitors in your area.
The good news is that you may actually have a leg up on these corporations if you’ve already built a strong presence for local keywords. But even if you’re just getting in the game, a PPC campaign can help level the field and ensure you’re still achieving visibility in your community.
But it’s not just enough to target local keywords. You also need to optimize the ad itself for local searchers with AdWords’ Location Extension. It dynamically adds your business’s name, address, phone number, and a link to a map. It’s just a click away for them to get directions and appear at your doorstep.
If you have multiple locations, you can set it up to display those closest to the searcher.
Shepard Morrow is the head of Location Traffic, an internet marketing and business consulting company in Pennington, New Jersey. He has helped many businesses increase their sales through improved retail marketing online. Learn more at LocationTraffic.com or call 609-737-8667.
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