As COVID restrictions start to lift around the county, local search is about to become a lot more important! So I wrote this article to help explain how local search can improve your web marketing and to share some of the most impactful things you can do to optimize your website for local search – today.
Let’s cover the basics: What is Local Search?
Local search is an incredibly powerful way for businesses to connect with customers looking for certain products and services at that exact time. Local search optimization is an online marketing technique that has proven to be very effective at attracting those customers right when they are primed to buy.
How does local search effect your online marketing
Obviously, local search is huge for any businesses that is dependent upon their physical location – service companies, restaurants, entertainment, and shopping are heavily dependent upon effective local search marketing.
But local search optimization can improve web marketing for every business. Let’s jump in to the 2 key benefits of local search marketing:
Web Marketing Benefit #1: Timing
Local searches are time sensitive by nature. In other words, a local search leads to a purchase in a much shorter time frame than a standard web search.
In sales, we would refer to these as “Hot” leads.
Web Marketing Benefit #2: Less Competition
It’s probably no surprise that there is less competition when it comes to a local search. For example, a search for “Best Web Designer In New York” is going to provide less results than “Best Web Designer”. Most web designers who are not physically located in New York will not bother to market their businesses on search terms that specify New York.
So… The numbers are more in your favor than standard search.
Web Marketing Benefit #3: More Targeted Interactions
With local search marketing, you immediately have a key piece of information about your anonymous visitors: location. As you’re probably aware, the more relevant your copy is to your visitors, the higher your conversion rate will be. To continue our example from above, simply changing a webpage title from “Best Web Designer” to “New York’s Best Web Designer” creates a much more relevant experience for a user. To take it a step further, we can ascertain quite a bit just from someone’s location – sports teams, weather, economy, and sub-culture to name a few.
In short, local search gives you more information on your visitors, and allows you to benefit from that.
Web Marketing Benefit #4: Higher ROI
My 4th point here could really just be the conclusion from the 3 listed above: Higher Quality Leads + Less Competition + Better Targeting = way better results. If you want to improve your web marketing ROI, then local search should be on the top of your list.
How to optimize your site for local search
If you’re still with me, then it’s clear that you can see some potential benefits that come from improving your local search. So I encourage you to google around “How to improve local search performance”. I’m sure you’ll find a bunch of top-10 lists to get you started.
In this article though, I just want to point out a few tips that I have seen deliver the best bang for your buck:
Do your research on local searches
Before you do anything, Google the terms + location that you think your customers would search. See what businesses come up first and check out their websites. Whatever they are doing is working. Your first step should be to mirror those top sites
Figure out why location matters to your customers
For restaurants, location matters because it’s either close to where a customer is or will be. For attorneys, it may matter because of laws specific to that state, county, or city. We have a customer that provides property management services. Naturally, location kind of matters with something like that, but we discovered 2 unique things about most of their clients: they often owned residential rental properties in one are, and also owned vacation rentals in another area. Figuring this out allowed to focus on local search for both regions, and once customers saw that they covered both areas, their conversion rates took off!
Get your specific location right
When it comes to New York, people would very likely be okay with a web designer anywhere in the state, but when it comes to something like a plumbing company, people will probably want something more specific and close to their home.
So you need to determine how specific your location should be, and what terms people will use to reference that location.
Put this content on your site in the right way
Now you’re ready to add this content into the key areas that will improve your local search rankings:
- Page titles
- Text copy
- Meta data
- Local schema
As always with SEO, you want to add this in the “right” way. For things like schema and meta data, there are best practices for how to do this. But for the content that people will actually see and engage with, you need to blend it within your site. This includes adding a paragraph or two about how your serve a certain location, creating specific pages for each location you want to target, and writing blog posts that emphasize these locations.
A couple of bonus tips
Update your social media to reflect your location-specific branding, and definitely make sure to grab your Google Business listing and build out your profile.
So how should you address local search as part of your web marketing?
Ultimately, that depends on your business, but instead of local search being an after thought, you should view it as a top priority to get better results from your online marketing campaigns.