There was a time that “local SEO”—optimizing your content according to a specific location, using keywords such as “drycleaners Los Angeles” or “dentist Miami”—was perceived as something done exclusively by bricks-and-mortars retailers. After all, using local SEO narrowed the audience to only people in that specific location.
However, the truth is that local SEO is important even to online retailers. Why is that?
Well, simple: your customers live in cities, right? If you can target your content according to that specific city, it’s easier to give them what they need.
Let’s take, for example, an online clothes retailer. The retailer sells both winter and summer clothes. To hit the winter-wear audience in the Northern United States, they can use local SEO for New England, Chicago, Seattle, and so on. But people living in the Southern United States will start wearing summer clothes long before their northern counterparts do, so a local SEO campaign targeting Phoenix, Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston will enable the clothes retailer to start selling summer clothes before the sale of winter clothes ends.
Google loves local businesses, and actually does more to promote them than global or national businesses. The search engine is designed to bring up local results first, especially if the keyword searched includes the location. A search for “laundromat in Glendale” will usually bring up the Glendale-specific locations, and farther down the list will be the retailers that belong to larger chains. It’s Google’s way of promoting local business and delivering the best tailored results.
Google also tries to give the most specific results according to the person searching. Your Google history will give the search engine information on the sort of information you’re looking for, according to your location and other data. If there is a business that offers what you’re looking for in the place you want it, Google is going to make sure you see it.
Proximity-based searches are more common with mobile commerce as well. Look at Uber, the app that searches for the closest vehicle to your desired location. Or Tinder, which tries to find matches nearest to you. Local SEO will be important for mobile searches as well, as Google has tried to make the searches as location-specific as possible.
Local SEO is no longer useful just for brick-and-mortar retailers. Even online retailers should endeavor to include local SEO when and where relevant. It may lead to much better engagement and reach in the specific cities where you want to find your target demographic.
Marketing is all about putting your message in front of the right people in the right way. Thanks to social media, that has become easier than ever. If used correctly, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and all the other social media platforms will allow you to engage directly with your target demographic.
First off, social media is where people go to relax and distract themselves from work. It already has a positive association in their minds, meaning the things they see while on social media will also tend to have that positive connotation. If your marketing campaign appeals to them, inspires them, or catches their interest, they’re far more likely to engage with it than they would while surfing the internet for education or information.
Social media also provides you with a surprising amount of information on who people are. Facebook, for example, compiles not just names, but also locations, interests, ages, likes and dislikes, and so much more. You’ll be able to use the social media profiles to target the right people with the right message. If you use the platforms’ various paid options, you’ll tap into their compiled databases to ensure your marketing campaigns are targeted at the customers most likely to be receptive to your message.
Social media gives you a much broader reach than you’d get from other sources. While Google’s SEO rankings are dependent largely in inbound links to your website, it does take into account links from social media. The more people post links to your page or content, the higher your SEO ranking. However, that also increases your visibility on those social media platforms and increases your authority.
People are always looking for new and interesting, content that educates, entertains, and gets them thinking. If you approach content creation with that mindset, you’ll find that the images, videos, and articles you post to social media have much better engagement. The more people engage with and share your content, the more you are perceived as an authority. This in turn increases the chance that people will seek you out when they have a question they need answered or a problem they want solved. Your reputation as an authority is worth gold!
Social media also allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s trending, popular, and of interest to your target demographic. If you “join in the conversation” with your marketing and content, you become relevant and trending as well. You’ll find that social media enables you to stay current with the times in a way classic content marketing never could!
Digital marketing is constantly evolving and changing, and it’s up to YOU to keep up with the latest trends. Thanks to the latest updates to Google’s search engine algorithms, a mixture of online and offline marketing is vital to utilize SEO strategies to the fullest. The term “local SEO” refers to that effective pairing of both on and offline marketing.
Think about it: if someone was to Google your business type in your city, would they find your company? They’re not looking just for random online-only businesses anywhere in the country, but they want a specific type of business near their home. With local SEO, you can target customers in a specific area, giving you the ability to reach a much more focused demographic.
Google My Business is the most effective way to increase your company’s visibility, as it puts your business on the Google Maps. When people do a search for companies in a specific location, Google will display yours as one of the results.
Give people an incentive to leave an honest review. Offer something free (a product, service, consultation, etc.) in exchange for a legitimate review (1 to 5 stars, their decision) on Google, Yelp, and other platforms. Reviews are vital for attracting customers, and is an important way to market via word of mouth.
Whether on Yelp, the Yellow Pages, Google, or Bing, make sure that your NAP info is consistent and complete. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to find and get in touch with you!
Do things to encourage your customers to spread word of your business, service, or product to their friends and networks. Use incentives and loyalty reward programs to encourage them to let others know about you.
All of these things will help you to improve your online visibility, but they involve some traditional offline marketing tactics. These local SEO practices can have a HUGE effect on your company’s ability to reach others.
Need help improving your local SEO? Let us help you improve both your offline and online presence so you can target as many customers in your area as possible.