Whether it’s called local search, targeting, or pinpoint marketing, it all boils down to one thing: emphasizing relevancy.
67% of internet searches are affected by geo-location or a specified location. If you’re a local business, it’s crucial to your long-term growth that you seize this opportunity. You absolutely must show up in all the ways that Google and other search engines allow you to show up: through organic search results, directories, maps, and more. If someone searches for your local product or service, you want to be there at the top of the page!
So here’s the cold hard truth: it doesn’t matter how you think your website should be. It matters what Google thinks. If you’re not following their rules, even if you have the most beautiful website in your industry with the most compelling copy, you won’t get visitors since you won’t be appearing high enough in search results.
The More Targeted Your Content Is, the Better.
Your content should be focused on your industry as well as your geographical location if you are a location-based business. And don’t just focus on your state, but also the specific cities and areas where your customers are concentrated. This process can also allow you to take advantage of current events as they happen.
I’ll take you through an example of how I worked with one New Jersey company to build out this strategy, a commercial testing laboratory that works primarily in Northern New Jersey with commercial clients, often those in the petrochemical industry.
Step 1: Target Your Audience
In this case, we knew that they wanted to focus on Northern New Jersey, but it’s also helpful to look at your Google Analytics to determine where your visitors are coming from. You can use this data to focus on the areas that are most interested in your services.
Step 2: Develop Hyper-Local Keywords with Geo-Modifiers
It’s likely you already have an idea of what keywords you want to target. For the laboratory, words like “environmental testing lab,” “certified testing lab,” and “petrochemical testing” were a few obvious choices, but you have to take it a step further than that. Armed with the data from Google Analytics, you can get more specific with geo-modifiers.
One example of a geo-modifier is “New Jersey,” but you can also get even more hyper-local with cities or counties: “Pennington, NJ environment testing lab” or “Mercer County petrochemical testing.” When people search for products or services in their area, they want something close and convenient. They’ll be specific when typing in what they are looking for, so your website should match what they might seek out.
Step 3: Research Local News and Develop Content
Find out what’s going on in your industry right now. Google News Alerts and Twitter are two great sources to find out what’s trending in your area.
For example, we built out the laboratory’s content on what’s happening with shore fracking in Northern New Jersey. By showcasing their local relevancy and local expertise, it helps them in terms of mindshare with their customers as well as with SEO. This also allows us to piggyback on chatter when there’s a current issue with shore fracking in the area. If people are searching for information, the laboratory is sure to come up.
Step 4: Socialize Your Content
Now that you’ve developed the content, you need to get the word out there! This includes posting on social networks, syndicating content, and using social sharing buttons. If you can develop ancillary materials to support your content, such as graphics and video, you can increase the number of avenues you have to share it, such as YouTube, Picasa, and Flickr.
Then Do It All Over Again!
Don’t stop there. Keep going – repeat the process regularly to make sure your website is constantly relevant, and the search engines are sure to reward you over time.
Shepard Morrow is the head of Location Traffic, an internet marketingand business consultingcompany in Pennington, New Jersey. He helps owner-operators to grow their businesses using a unique approach developed over 15 years in the internet marketing industry and from his experience running retail, wholesale, and internet businesses. Learn more at LocationTraffic.com or call 609-737-8667.
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