Thanks in part to smartphones and the mobile revolution, local search engine optimization (SEO) has become extremely important for all businesses. It does not matter the size of your business. Designing your website and online marketing around local search is how you will increase exposure, name recognition, and customers. Local search engine optimization is a digital marketing strategy that uses both on-site and off-site strategies to ensure your business website will show within the search results of local users.
Do you have a smartphone? A study by Google shows people are using their smartphone to address their immediate needs during the course of the day. It does not matter if they are at work, out shopping, or sitting at home watching television. Something occurs which inspires a question, and a person grabs their smartphone and immediately tries to look up more information. As an example, consider the person with failing teeth who sees a television program talking about dental implants. They then grab their mobile device, and, more often than not, they are seeking locally relevant information. This is called a micro-moment.
Micro-moments are a relatively new consumer behavior. They are intent driven searches inspired by anything from a feeling, smell or thought to a conversation, news report or even a street sign. In the past, a person would wait and, if they remembered, would sit down at a desktop to do their research. Today, a person will simply grab their smartphone for their immediate information need. These fall under but are not limited to I-want-to-know moments, I-want-to-go moments, I-want-to-do moments, and I-want-to-buy moments. Moreover, these intent driven searches are often seeking answers from local sources, which are more personally relevant. Here are some tips for your small business.
1. Local Search Terms – For the most part, local search terms are focused on using the name of your city or town. However, it is also knowing the local terminology. It is important to write content for the way the locals would naturally ask a question. Simply put, it is knowing whether your target will identify carbonated beverages as soda or pop.
2. On-Page SEO – If you have a professionally built website, you likely have the basics of Local SEO already. This includes elements like local keywords in page titles and description, your business’s name, address and phone number, and a Google or Bing map. You also want to ensure your website utilizes schema markup data for local business.
3. Locally Relevant Content – In years past, many marketers would produce generic content and simply add local keywords. Today, that will not work. People are searching for information that is genuinely relevant to them, their community, and their town. A large portion of your content should provide a uniquely local spin on topics.
4. Online Directories – Search engines use online directories to augment their own information and listings. It is crucial for you to identify and capture listings on Yelp, Foursquare, Yellowpages.com, and other major online directories. Verify your name, address and phone number, and request they merge any duplicates.
5. Mobile Optimization – Most search queries are coming from mobile devices. If you do not have a mobile-friendly website, it is a reflection of your professionalism and customer service. Furthermore, write most of your content for the mobile user, answering micro-moment questions thoroughly but in as few words as possible. Long-form content (1,500 words or more) will not get read.
What haven’t we covered yet that is important to you? If you would like to talk about local search optimization for your business, or a related topic, please contact us.