They key to gaining an edge online with a brick and mortar small business is using local search marketing techniques. It requires a lot of maintenance effort, and if managed properly, it can keep bringing you new businesses.
The main reason to use these techniques is to take advantage of the fact that 15 to 20 percent of all searches are on mobile devices, and that 78 percent of mobile searches result in offline purchases. Mobile users tend to be the segment of internet users that is most ready to buy.
The following tips will explain the best places to list your site in order to attract users in your local market:
Reaching Local Users
There are many reasons for mobile users to search for local businesses. Many times they are merely looking for an establishment that offers free Wi-Fi. They may also be looking for the establishment’s address, phone number, directions, or hours of operation.
When it comes to purchasing on the go, users may be looking for coupons and special offers in their area. Once they use a free Wi-Fi service, they may be prompted with deals from the establishment that provided the hotspot. Mobile users may also be searching for reviews of businesses to help them make a decision on where to visit.
Your goal should be to make your site easy to find for these mobile users, which can be done by registering with a series of sites that specialize in local search marketing.
Search Rank Factors
Google Places and Yelp are two key search engines that emphasize local search marketing. They rank sites for local search based on reviews and mentions known as citations, links, location, info and the authority of your website. Being listed with online directories, even without links, can help your search rank.
NAP (name, address, and phone) has become a key factor for businesses that use local search, and helps make your business more familiar to search engines. NAP should be included on all of your social media profiles.
Building an Online Presence
If you write a regular blog that is designed to connect with your local market, then you will want to be ranked as a top blog for your type of business in your region. One way to gain authority with Google is to be listed on your city’s Chamber of Commerce website.
Then make sure you are listed with the following sites:
- Google Places
- Bing Places
- Yahoo Local
- Yellow Pages
- City Search
It’s helpful to list your NAP with data aggregators as well, such as Infogroup, Neustar Loaleze, Acxiom, and Factual. To get further listings check your local newspaper websites and other local directories. Search your city and “business listings” in Google or your city and “directory.”
The best sites for gaining local citations are Yelp and Yellow Pages. It’s important to check each of these sites to make sure your NAP is correctly listed.
Citations are important ways to help promote your business and can be gained using subscription software. Some of the most helpful tools that let you manage your citations include Moz Local, Yext, and Universal Business Listing (UBL). These tools provide listing opportunities and analytics that help you research your online visibility.
You can maximize your local search marketing presence by hiring an SEO agency or consultant to help manage your SEO campaign. Some companies will offer contacts at fixed prices, while others may negotiate a revenue sharing model.
The following services are usually provided by professional local search marketing companies:
- On-Page/Site SEO Recommendations
- Hands-On SEO Changes to Sites/Pages
- Keyword Research
- Contest Creation Suggestions
- Content Development
- Content Promotion/Viral Pushes
- Link Building Recommendations
Other services include social media management, web development, and analytics. Hiring an experienced online marketing agency can save you time and allow you to concentrate on your normal business activities. These agencies are helpful to small businesses that cannot afford to hire their own in-house SEO specialists.
An advantage to working with an agency is that you will have SEO expertise on an ongoing basis to monitor your progress.
There are many different types of marketing companies that specialize is certain areas. It’s a good idea to understand local search marketing, so that you can select the right consultant.
Some companies are oriented more toward web design, while others specialize in lead generation or advertising. It’s helpful to choose an up-to-date agency that can show a successful track record over the past few years.