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    SEO in the City: 5 Tips Inspired by the City That Never Sleeps

    Last updated 29 days ago

    Looking around during a recent trip to New York City, I couldn’t help but compare the way local businesses promoted their business’ physical location to the way they promoted themselves online. From the signs, to the window displays, to the messages they used to convince people to choose them, these elements brought to life the different ways businesses attract local consumers who pass by their storefronts. 

    But how many of these best practices are they applying to how they reach local consumers who are searching for them online? And what other typical city experiences relate to how consumers find local businesses? Here are five local SEO tips businesses can use to get found by local consumers – inspired by the Big Apple.

    1. Focus on What You Do Best

    When applying SEO best practices to your website or to any online content, you should always focus on writing about what it is you actually do, and do best. For example, when walking randomly down almost any street in New York City, you’ll see signs hanging off awnings that read exactly what one can expect: such as pizza, sandwiches, camera repair, and discount handbags. 

    This idea should be applied to your website content, too. And despite the ever-changing landscape of SEO, optimizing your website for your main topics and keywords is one thing that will always be valuable to consumers searching for your business. 

    2. Optimize for Your Local Audience

    What if you asked someone for a suggestion of a nearby restaurant and they recommended a place across town instead of down the block? You’d be a little more than annoyed – and probably look elsewhere for a place nearby. This same concept is important for how you market your business online: always have your audience’s real needs in mind and understand what they’re looking for.

    When businesses successfully keep the needs of their ideal customer in mind in their local SEO, they have the upper hand because consumers are more likely to find them whether they are searching via desktop or mobile.

    So, make sure your address is clearly listed on your website and marked up behind the scenes, too. Next, claim your business on top local directories – like Google+ Local, Bing Places for Business, and Yelp – as well as all the industry-specific directories that can help consumers find your local business. For example directories like TripAdvisor or TimeOut might be resources that local consumers visit directly to look up travel rates, offers, and reviews. Plus, these sites may populate in the search results for specific search terms, so it’s important that your business is listed on them, and that your listings contain accurate and up to date information that is consistent across the Web. That way, they are more likely to show up when someone searches for your local products or services.  

    3. Get On the Mobile Local Bandwagon

    Mobile is a trend that’s here to stay (made obviously by how many people look at their phones while waiting to cross the street), especially in local search. In fact, 79% of consumers who own mobile phones have used their phone to do a local search? And, 78% of local searches on mobile devices result in an offline purchase.

    If you haven’t considered the importance of having a mobile website, it’s time you do. Not only are they easier for consumers to browse and contact you from, but Google is also letting searchers know if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, which can send prospects looking in another direction.  But it’s not just a mobile-friendly website that matters – it’s your entire mobile presence. From showing up on mobile-based maps (which are also tied to your local listings) to having positive ratings and reviews that show up in mobile search results, making a great impression with on-the-go consumers can help you stand out against the competition. 

    4. Make Your Business Look Great

    Walk by a number of stores in any city and you’ll see a variety of storefront displays. Some use products in a thought-provoking way; others are just beautiful displays of the product. These displays are meant to pull you into a store and ultimately persuade you to buy.  And the same principal should apply to your images online. And while images on your website that represent your business and look great at the same time is ideal, they are often overlooked when it comes to great SEO. But since they can help your business show up in multiple places on SERPs, it’s important to include your approach to images in your SEO strategy.

    By using keyword and topic-optimized names for your images instead of just uploading them as “photo1.jpg,” you can help search engines recognize them for your target search terms. For example, a photo of a kitchen table might be named “wood-kitchen-table-furniture-cincinnatti.jpg” to help your business show up for consumers in Cincinnati searching for a new kitchen table from a local store. Also adding image alt text, or even captions, to your pictures gives them words that search engines can read and use in image search results.

    5. Build & Maintain a Social Presence

    Many local businesses I visited in New York are close to their local communities. From the décor to menu item names to the patrons they knew by name, they are very much a part of the community around them. There’s a lesson here for SEO, too.

    It’s important to build your brand so that consumers remember you once they are in a place to choose your business. Restaurants are a great example. For example, say you post a coupon for a free pizza on Facebook with a link back to your website to redeem it. If one fan, Sally, shares your coupon with hundreds of her followers, that small action may result in others discovering, liking, and even visiting your business on the Web. And sometimes, those online actions can turn into offline conversions. This is why it’s key to actively post content that engages, entertains, and builds a community with your fans. Not only will it drive interest from the people already on the social site, backlinks to your website from social sharing can provide signals to search engines that the content you posted on your website is relevant to the topic of your local business in your city and drive up the local SEO visibility for your site.

    These are just a few tips for improving local SEO for your business. If you have any to add, we’d love to see them in a comment!

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how local business owners can reach more customers through inbound marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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    Video: How Search Advertising Helped This SMB Increase Leads & Get Customers

    Last updated 1 month ago

    At ReachLocal, we’re proud to help small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs) around the world with their online marketing needs. Our prospects often ask: “What can ReachLocal services do for my business?” While we offer a variety of online marketing solutions for different businesses, our goal is always the same: to help SMBs be successful and stay competitive in today’s online world.

    Take our client, Peterson Restoration & Construction, for example. They wanted to increase visits to their business website and increase phone calls from consumers needing an insurance restoration contractor. They chose two ReachLocal services, search engine advertising and display advertising, to help them achieve these goals.

    With search engine advertising, they were able to reach consumers on major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, and on online directories like and Citysearch, plus hundreds more local and mobile sites and directories. Display advertising helped put their marketing messages in front of consumers on top news, entertainment, lifestyle, and social media sites, driving impressions and site visits.

    In just 30 days, these ReachLocal services delivered real results, including:

    ReachSearch – Search Engine Advertising

    • 7,862 ad impressions
    • 147 website visits
    • 28 phone calls

    ReachDisplay – Display Advertising

    • 9,681 ad impressions
    • 199 website visits

    Erik Peterson, owner of Peterson Restoration and Construction, had this to say about working with ReachLocal: “They show you exactly how many impressions you get per month; how many site visits you get per month. They track the phone calls that come in to your business, and they really just do a wonderful job of letting you know how successful your campaign is.”

    Hear more from Erik and his thoughts about working with ReachLocal.

    Are you using online marketing to drive website traffic and calls to your business? Let us know with a comment!


    About the Author

    Amy Neeley helps small- and medium-size businesses navigate the online marketing world with insights and information featured on the ReachLocal blog. Follow her on Twitter.

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    Local Business Poll: Which Online Marketing Mistake Do SMBs Make?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Online marketing mistakes. We’ve all made them, often without realizing it. But sometimes even the ones that seem insignificant at the time can have a major impact on your overall business results. 

    In today’s competitive online landscape, local businesses can’t afford to make some of these big mistakes, such as not having an updated website or taking a less-than-ideal approach to handling a negative customer experience online.  

    So we want to know: when it comes your organic online marketing, what’s the biggest online marketing mistake have you made – or that you have seen other businesses making?

    Vote in our poll now to weigh in. And, once you cast your vote, see what others have to say! 

    Does Your Mobile Site Pass Google's New Mobile Search Test?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Is your website truly optimized for mobile search? You may think your website is mobile-friendly, but if your mobile strategy relies on sending mobile search traffic to a mobile-optimized homepage instead of the indexed page that shows up in the consumer’s search for their specific term or query, a new Google update means it’s time to rethink that strategy.

    Here’s what Google is doing and how you can make sure you’re sending searchers to the right page – and not losing mobile traffic as a result of the change.

    Google’s New Mobile Search Results Alert to Content Redirects

    Now that mobile has become such a huge player in local search, Google says that more and more businesses are simply directing mobile search traffic to a mobile home page rather than to the specific indexed page that a searcher really wants to see when they find your site in the search results. This results in a poor user experience for searchers. So Google has changed its mobile search results to  now alert smartphone users if they are about to click a link that may redirect them to a homepage rather than the page they’re actually looking for. The searcher can select either visit the page anyway, or they may instead choose to click on a search result that doesn’t provide this poor user experience and instead offers mobile-optimized content relevant to their search.

    Referring to these mobile homepage links as “faulty redirects,” Google hopes this new notification system will help smartphone users find the mobile pages that are most relevant to their searches. What does this mean to you? If your site uses this approach to mobile search, you will likely see a decrease in your website’s visibility in search results and a drop in mobile traffic over time as users find and visit other sites. 

    Send Mobile Traffic to the Right Page & Avoid Alerts

    So, what do you need to do about this warning in Google search results? Google suggests first checking out how your own site behaves in mobile search to see what consumers see. If it’s redirecting to your homepage when you find a piece of indexed content via search, you’ll need to set up your site so that it takes smartphone users to the correct page on your mobile site that they clicked on.  

    And if you don’t have a mobile version of the page a searcher is looking for? According to Google, it’s best to take users to the desktop version of that page rather than to the mobile homepage, since it’s better for both SEO and user experience to take searchers to the page they clicked on rather than to an irrelevant page just because it’s mobile-optimized. But really, it’s better to have a responsive or fully mobile-optimized website to ensure you’re giving searchers the experience they want.

    This mobile search notification further emphasizes the need for businesses to make sure all their website pages, not just their homepage, are optimized for mobile viewing. A responsive web design is the best way to ensure users view the same content from any mobile device, including tablets and smartphones, that they would see on your full website.

    About the Author

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

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    Sharon Rowlands, ReachLocal CEO, Talks Small Businesses Online Marketing Success

    Last updated 1 month ago

    How does ReachLocal help small and local businesses? ReachLocal CEO Sharon Rowlands answers this question in a recent exclusive interview on Fox Business’s “Closing Bell.” In her interview, Rowlands explains how ReachLocal not only helps SMBs get found in search results and generate leads but also is helping SMBs turn those leads into customers.

    “We have a fantastic value proposition for small business clients, and we are going to focus on not just getting them great lead generation, which is what the whole industry talks about, but also on helping them do a better job of converting leads into sales,” she said.

    Watch the full interview below to hear more about how ReachLocal helps SMBs grow their businesses through online marketing.

    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how local business owners can reach more customers through inbound marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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