Before you spend a ton of money on search engine optimization meant to connect you to the entirety of the global economy, it’s a good idea to take a moment to contemplate the scope of your current business model, as well as your short- and long-term goals. When you run a local business, chances are good that you have neither the resources nor the inclination to cater to a global community of consumers. In truth, you might not even be able to, especially if you work in a service industry. So if you really want to use the internet to your best advantage when it comes to increasing targeted traffic, your best bet is to focus your SEO efforts on your immediate geographic area. Here are just a few musts when it comes to SEO for your local business.
- List with local directories. City pages, the Chamber of Commerce, and other local directories offer you a great opportunity to be found by members of the local community. Just like you might list your business with the Yellow Pages, making your contact information (phone, web address, etc.) available through these targeted online sources can help interested parties to find you. If you run a business that caters to a local community, like a coffee shop, a tanning salon, or a dry cleaning service, just for example, chances are that you’re not looking to attract consumers from other cities, states, and countries anyway. So why waste your time with directories meant for these crowds?
- Scout out local search engines. Search engines like Google and Bing are definitely widely used, but considering that you’re competing against literally millions of other sites like yours, chances are you’re not going to be the top dog. Instead, consider putting your effort into more localized options like the Yellow Pages, Yelp, or Angie’s List. Although these sites attract a wide audience, most people utilize them in search of local services.
- Use trending keywords, but not exclusively. Trending keywords are an acceptable way to increase traffic, but unless they actually pertain to your business in some way they’re not going to bring in the targeted visitors you’re seeking. So use them sparingly as a means of supplementing your broader keyword strategy.
- Utilize your location in text. Keywords, meta tags, anchor text, and so on are designed to bring in targeted traffic. So if you’re trying to boost your local business it pays to use your location as part of your SEO strategy. For example, the first thing you’ll want to do is find a way to slip in both your business name or type and the location in which you operate. You might try keyword phrases like “dry cleaning New York”, for example, or “Elegant Cleaners Los Angeles”. When you think about how local patrons might look online for services like yours, this is likely the exact type of wording they would use as a search term.
- Local ad campaigns. While you can certainly participate in launching online marketing efforts on a national or global scale, the truth is that certain businesses are not suited to handle this kind of traffic. If you run a dry cleaning business, for example, it’s not exactly like you can offer your services to anyone outside your local area. Even if your goal is to appeal to visitors to your fair city, you’re better off striking a deal with local hotels rather than hoping visitors will find you online. So hook up with local city pages to get listed and post ads as a way to attract local clientele in the online arena.
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