Local Businesses: How to Get Better SEO from Everyday Marketing. It’s no secret that if your business works on a local level, selling or serving people in your community, that you’ve got a whole different set of challenges than a national or international business. But you also have some advantages that you hold over larger enterprises.
Take search engine results, for example. Many search engines give priority listings to local businesses when a relevant search comes up. And on top of that, local results will often come up first if the searcher is using a mobile device. If you’re a local business, you’re probably already getting the word out to people that you’re around so you can do business—this is just another way to get more leverage out of the things you’re already doing!
So how do you boost your online presence to become a local leader? Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to get more out of your marketing.
Some people have their priorities completely backwards. They think that ranking high on a search engine is more important than going out and meeting with the people that they work and live around. These folks ought to flip their strategy on its head!
Search engines can and do take into account where your business shows up, especially if it’s involved in community activities. And you might think that some SEO holdovers are going to be enough to reach and hang on to the top spot—but they’re not. If you can choose between link building and shaking hands, go and meet people!
But while you’re introducing yourself, do everything you can to get listed on community boards, calendars, message boards, and social media sites to demonstrate that you’re a part of that community. You will definitely improve your ranking, but more importantly, you’ll be talking to the people who might want to buy from you.
If you catch wind of a trade show or business fair in the area, try to grab a spot. Demonstrate to your local market what you’re offering and why you stand out. But don’t forget to take videos and pictures that you can post, and talk about the experience on your blog or social media accounts.
Your community may not be very proactive about putting on these sorts of events, and that’s alright. If you don’t have any opportunities to join in, or if your offerings aren’t suited for mixed groups, you can put on your own demonstration for current and potential customers. It gives people a reason to buy from you or refer you, as well as give their impression about you on the web.
Take a look around to find blogs that speak to your community. If you’re in a B2C business, an online newspaper might be a good start. For B2B businesses, start by looking into local business networks.
Offer to write a post that they can publish, and make sure it will be something that’s useful to their readership. You might give do-it-yourself tips or information to help them hire or buy from someone like you—what insider information do they need to know? Make sure to include a link back to your site, often in the author’s profile at the end of the post.
If you are building awareness of your brand in the real world, do it in a way that can point back to your website (which should serve as a hub for your whole marketing strategy). Use any resources that are available to you, like a local newspaper, newsletter, or business guide. Always include your website URL, but also use your social media contact information if you have the opportunity.
Submit to Localized Directories
Some sites act as a hub for local business information and views, like Manta, City Search, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Foursquare. You can submit or claim your business profile on these sites to associate yourself with the location, and your customers and clients can leave feedback and recommendations that might lead to more business. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely you are to get new business from them.
Linking With Partners
Do you have local partners that help you do business in any way? Or maybe you’re part of a group or association of professionals? Talk to some of these other businesses about including links to each other’s site on a special ‘partner’ page. You’ll get more people seeing your brand, and it will have a definite impact on your search results.
But be careful of people who list a lot of partners. Search engines don’t take them seriously, and they may actually penalize you for being linked on their page. If a partner already has five or more partner links on their site, politely decline to list a link.
What do you do to get out into the community? How do you engage with people who will buy from you? And how do you turn that into better local search engine rankings?
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