Getting discovered by local searchers today takes more than just a search-optimized website (although that’s an absolute must). You also need to boost your SEO efforts with offsite tactics including claiming local listings, using social sites, and doing search advertising. Try these local search tips to drive more consumers to your business through search.
1. Build Out Your Local Listings & Citations
It can’t be stressed enough how important your local listings are to getting found in local search results today. Google is emphasizing sites like Yelp and Yellow Pages in addition to its own local listings at the top of the search results, both for explicit location-based searches and for those with local intent. You need to claim and optimize these listings for your business name, key business topics, and your location so they show up for local searches. Plus, 88% of local searches happen on mobile. Many of these searches take place directly in map and local directory apps. Having your listings claimed and optimized is the smartest way to show up accurately in these important places. Not only can searchers find you via your local listings, but having these sources, which search engines refer to as “citations”, or mentions of your business on the Web can boost your site in search as well, as long as they are complete and consistent with one another and with what’s listed on your website.
2. Run a Geo-Targeted PPC Campaign
Search advertising and SEO go hand in hand to help drive traffic from the search results. Bidding on localized terms and phrases, such as “emergency plumbing Houston,” will help your ads appear when someone searches for those terms. In addition, you can run a geo-targeted campaign that will only show your ads to searchers with IP addresses in a specified geographic area, such as a 20-mile radius around your target ZIP code.
3. Optimize Your Social Media Pages with Local Keywords
Just like your business website, your social media pages should include geo-specific keywords and include your business location along with your business information or overview. In addition, you’ll want to include your location in your profile’s url, especially if you have a relatively common business name. For instance, you can use the custom url Facebook.com/FranksPlumbingHouston both to help your page show up in local searches for your business name and to let prospects know that yours is the Frank’s Plumbing they are looking for. You’ll also need to make sure you’re regularly sharing content on your social pages so that they are seen as active, valuable resources, because only claiming or setting up a page on a social media site doesn’t mean it will perform well.
4. Increase Local Buzz Via Social Media
In addition to setting up your social media pages, make sure you’re posting location-optimized content from your blog, such as local events, customer testimonials, and more to drive interest and engagement from your (local) online community. Plus, you probably already have a large network of friends, family, colleagues, and loyal customers who support your business. Ask them personally to join your online networks and to share your content on their own social media pages. This online word of mouth can drive shares and engagement that reaches a local audience beyond your immediate fans and followers and creates social signals for search engines, which may in turn help boost your visibility in search.
5. Reach Out to Local Influencers & News Sites
Building links to your website is still a core SEO strategy, but it must be done carefully and genuinely to avoid penalties from search engines. One way to drive authentic traffic to your business from other sources is by reaching out to local influencers, news sites, community publications, and even other local businesses who can help spread the word about things they and their audience care about, such as events, charity involvement, or community success stories. Guest blog posts, news submissions, and press releases are just a few things you can write and share with other sources in your community. While this tactic may not directly promote your products and services, it can drive word of mouth buzz for your brand, help your content get discovered across the Web, and create links back to your website, which are all great for SEO!
What other offsite tactics have you used to drive more local traffic to your business? Let us know with a comment, and check out these ridiculously important onsite SEO tips that can boost your site in local search.