Some customers are still more likely to buy goods and services in person rather than over the Internet, which is why local search optimization is integral to a company’s ability to attract new, local customers and increase profits. Using the proper strategies when optimizing a site for local search will help these customers find your business first.
The following are five tips to reach customers who might be looking for your business online. For the sake of brevity, I won’t go too in-depth, but if you have questions, please, post comments!
- Get listed in local directories. Listing a business alongside its local competitors on free sites that its competitors are already listed on is a great way to increase visibility and make a business equally as accessible as its local competitors. Check out the regional directories at sites like Google Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and DMOZ.
- Get reviewed and stay familiar with your customers’ opinions. Don’t underestimate the power of local business review sites, like Google (and other search engine) local review pages, Yelp.com (which can help your search rank on Yahoo and Bing as well). There’s two things you’ll want to focus on with reviews – monitoring what customers are saying about you, good and bad, and getting customers to submit positive reviews of your business. I personally don’t condone paying for positive reviews, but posting on your Facebook fan page or tweeting on Twitter asking for this kind of feedback would be okay. (Just don’t spam your fans!)
- Make sure customers know where you’re located. I’m sure this sounds like common sense, but make sure your address – along with city, state, and zip – is posted on your website! Bonus points if you can somehow get it listed on every page. Look into using the
HTML tag as well, which (according to w3schools.com) “defines the contact information for the author or owner of a document” and “is usually added to the header or footer of a webpage”.
- Get to know your local competition. Find out who your local competition is, and for what terms they rank highly for. Reach out to your competition and other local businesses to build a relationship where you can share links. For the best SEO benefit for both businesses, finding a way to incorporate the link in a contextually relevant way will go a long way boost your local search rank.
- Make sure you’re monitoring your traffic, too. Do not underestimate the power of analytics. Google Analytics is completely free and they will pretty much hold your hand through the installation process, so unless you have a really complicated site, it should be quick and painless. Once you’ve done this, make sure you’re looking at the right analytics. Run a local campaign? Create a landing page for that campaign, and track the traffic to that page. Look beyond the raw visits. How many return? What’s the bounce rate? What’s the conversion rate? Where do they live? (This is really important if you’re seeking to attract local customers!) This is not an all-inclusive list, but it’s definitely one way to get started on competing with other local businesses in your industry. For more tips, see the related reading section.
Online business will not seem so difficult if the above points are followed and adhered to carefully as you will get to learn new things at every step of what online portals actually are and how to handle them as per your convenience with topics ranging from entertainment to economics. A good base will help you in coming into contact with reputed marketing services who are on the lookout for a portal so as to brand their products.