Generally, when small business marketing meets the Internet, people talk about the benefits of accessing a national or even global marketplace. While an expanded consumer base can certainly profit a company, local markets remain the bread and butter of most small businesses.
A local business may overlook online searches as a source of consumers, trusting instead the more traditional local forms of advertising. The truth is that local businesses benefit greatly from local internet marketing, which combines local geographic areas with common keywords to create highly specific and targeted search results. According to Google, 73 percent of online activity centers on local content, so an online presence helps even if your business only serves the local community.
If you were doing SEO for, say, a small business in Baltimore who provides a service mainly for that city, you’d refer to this process as local SEO, or local search engine optimization. You need to focus on keywords specific to that region, and include ‘Baltimore’ in your kw/phrases.
Local SEO doesn’t just focus on search engine results; the process includes forging a presence on local directories and map applications such as Google Maps. Having contact info and directions indexed elsewhere can prove valuable to local SEO.
Run a search for your website’s keywords on Google’s keyword tool and compare the results with localized keywords. For instance, a veterinarian’s office in New York probably uses “veterinarian” as a keyword.
A search for “veterinarian” on Google’s keyword tool reveals 6,120,000 global monthly searches. In comparison, “veterinarian New York” only brings in 33,100 results. Those results, however, are much more targeted and likely to attract potential clients.
Optimizing Web Pages for Local Searches
Optimize webpage meta-description and title tags for local searches by using key phrases emphasizing physical location. Meta-descriptions should make clear which area your business serves and include a clear, succinct description of your business.
If you serve multiple communities, it may be necessary to create a separate landing page for each location rather than trying to cram too many local keywords into a single page.
Add your company’s address and phone number to the bottom of each page. Doing so helps search engines associate your webpage with local searches.
You may also want to submit your website to virtual Yellow Pages, Google+ Local and other trusted directories for your area. Be wary of these, though, as there are few reputable local networks still around these days.
Local SEO results also benefit from mobile-friendly websites. While local searches account for 20 percent of PC-based searched, a whopping 40 percent of mobile searches focus on local content.
Local searches through mobile devices tend to use long and very specific search terms. While a PC user may search for “veterinarian New York,” a mobile user is more likely to search for “Exotic veterinarian in Queens.”
Mobile users also tend to search for information they can use immediately. That means if someone hunts for your service locally, he or she is primed to take action, either by making a sale or visiting your business for more information.