Bobbie Grennier does Google Search Marketing, My Business/Places Optimization, Google+ Local SEO. Google Local Pro offers Advanced My Business Consulting and Santa Cruz Web Designer, Local SEO, Internet Marketing.
According to Google, 40% of mobile searches are focused on a Local market, and by 2014, mobile internet use will probably overtake desktop internet use. That means that every small business must jump on mobile search optimization. You want to attract and sell to a local audience? Then you need Local Search Optimization.
Local is the New Black
Step One: Evaluate your target audience.
You absolutely must focus on local marketing if you business includes restaurants, retail shops like dog grooming, salons, health, fitness, etc. That includes all professional services and so on.
If your small business marketing strategy already includes a focus on local optimization, leverage your customer database to mine data and potentially uncover new opportunities.
Customers outside the area of the city; outside of your specific location. In this case, you’d your local optimization efforts to include information relevant to that part of the city and ultimately cultivate new clients.
Step Two: Three steps to the Local search landscape
When uncovering local optimization opportunities, review the Google analytics for your specific local location. You would be looking for:
- Broad, competitive phrases where you are not on page one in Google’s natural web search engine. Maybe your site showed up in local results like “dentist”.
- Broad, Geo-Modified phrases like “Santa Cruz dentist”.
- Specific, Geo-Modified phrases like “Santa Cruz Westside dentist”.
Step Three: Test Searches
Where is your site ranking for the search terms that send traffic to your website? And, what about those terms that aren’t sending traffic but are relevant?
Try variations including different search engines, mobile vs. desktop, and even do test searches when you are away from your location for a more realistic experience. Also, do this type of search analysis when you are logged out of your Gmail account.
Step Four: What have you got?
- Keywords where your site is getting traffic, but could benefit from higher visibility.
- Keywords where your site is not on the search engines natural page one ranking, but should be.
Step Five: Apply Local Optimization
When leveraging the keywords identified in your test searches, you can apply local optimization to the following:
- Google+ Local (formerly known as Google Places)
- Make sure you set up and optimize local listings, which is a critical step in alerting Google to your location(s).
- Your Website
- Identify opportunities to incorporate keywords into the site that represent high-priority phrases. Key pages include: home page, about us, locations and contact us page.
- Content (Blog Posts, Press Releases and Social Media)
- Blog Posts – Create a series of localized content, such as a blog post featuring each location and what makes each one unique.
- Press Releases – Localizing your city, MSA, keyword optimization in the post and boiler plate, press releases offer strong local optimization.
- Social Media – leverage your blog posts featuring your location(s) within social media content, your customers, new offerings, local video, etc. to create a larger online footprint of locally optimized content.
Step Six: Localize and Measure
Localize whenever you can. Benchmark your current results so you can understand what’s working and what’s not post-optimization.
Here are a few optimized items to measure along the way:
- Foot Traffic (if appropriate).
- Changes or Increases in search engine traffic (keyword referrals).
- Search Visibility.
- Referrals from Social Media or Press Release Channels.
With mobile searches increasing, and search engines making a more concerted effort to deliver local results across a wide spectrum of keyword-based phrases, you have to start optimizing for local audiences. You need to be doing your fair share of Local Press Releases.