Internet Marketing 101: Local SEO

Fresh Vegetables

Optimize and Mobilize to Accommodate for Today’s Consumer Trends

In the previous installment, we went over the best practices for getting your search engine optimization campaign off the ground. We talked about how you can use your strengths as a small business to compete with the big guys, even on a huge scale. Now, it’s time to look a little closer to home and optimize for the potential customers right in your own neighborhood.

The Local’s Choice

There was a time, not so long ago, when consumers would turn to the yellow pages to find a service, a store, or a restaurant that fit their needs. If you wanted to get the local customers, you needed to have the most eye-catching ad in that book.

SEE ALSO: Tap In To Online Tools For Your Local Marketing Strategy

Now, people are far more likely to consult their computer or their smartphone to find a local business, so you need to be sure that your website is fully optimized to reach these customers the moment they begin looking.

The Differences Between Local and Global SEO

As a company, you need to focus on some different types of signals to really get the most benefit out of your local SEO campaign. There are design considerations as well as some new ways to get customers and search engines to notice your business.

There are a few things that can have a huge impact on your campaign:

  • Mobile Readiness–If someone performs a search and includes some kind of geographical modifier (say, for example, the name of the town they live in), then chances are they’re doing it on a mobile device. You need to make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices to make life easy on your customers and more attractive to a mobile search.
  • Citations–Local SEO isn’t about links as much as it is about getting mentions. This is generally referred to as a “citation” and can refer to any mention of your company that includes your logo and contact information. You can get legitimate citations through online phone directories, media sites, sponsorships and much more.
  • Reviews–Reviews are also important, but woe betide the company that things they can game the system with fake ones. It’s okay to encourage your customers to leave reviews on popular sites like Yelp, and respond to any negative reviews as professionally as possible.

Make It Easy for Them

When we turn to the internet for answers, we expect to get the information and quickly as possible. This means that you should have your name, address, and phone number on every page of the website. You may not believe that it fits with your overall design, but this is the information that will signal the search engines to your location and immediately tell your customers how to get in touch with you.

SEE ALSO: How Businesses Can Develop a Marketing Strategy For the Digital Age

Don’t Send Mixed Signals

Local optimization may seem a little simpler than a globally focused campaign at first glance. Add a few citations here, keep your website information up to date, and get listed on a few key websites.

SEE ALSO: 5 Good Mobile Marketing Habits 

However, just like any other SEO tactics, it’s easy to slip from good practices to spammy tactics that get you penalized. Take the time to do this right, and you will be able to reach all those local customers who need your products or services.

Come back next week for part three!

This mini-series is based off of this e-book, Internet Marketing 101: How Small Businesses Can Compete With the Big Guys, written by Rapid Advance. Interested in writing a mini-series for Firmology? Get in touch with the editor!

About The Author

Mark Cerminaro is Chief Revenue Officer at RapidAdvance, a leader in alternative financing. Mark has spent his career advising business owners on investments and helping them access the capital they need to grow. Connect with Mark on Google+ and Twitter.