What’s important when it comes to evaluating your online visibility? Making sure your locals can find you first! Starting with local search results can help bridge the gap to being found by folks all over the country in the near future. Here are our top ten things that should be on your local visibility to-do list:
1- On your website, make sure your address is on every page (at the bottom in a footer, for example). This makes it easier for customers and search engines to find where you’re located.
2- Infuse your site with content that your readers want: an “about us” page, a detailed contact page,the latest info, news or trends in your niche, and directions to your location without having to map it are all good ways to optimize your site for your readers.
3- Make sure you have keywords! Keywords help the SEO of your site and can be used in a variety of places, such as in post titles, the URL, the body text, anchor text, links, categories, lists, tags and image alt text. Use keywords that are popular, trending and relate to your business. For example, “Black Friday” is a trending keyword right now because of the holiday season. Google Trends is a great tool for keyword research.
4- Register with the major search engines as well as their local counterparts: Google Places, Yelp, Yahoo! Local, and Bing. Don’t forget the Yellow Pages Online as well. This ensures that you can be found across a broad spectrum of local search sites, which is a likely place your local community will go.
5- Use social media to find clients in your area with an interest in your brand. We gave some tips in a previous blog post on SEO for social media.
6- Encourage customers to submit ratings and reviews of your business online through sites like Yelp, Yahoo! Local and Google Maps. If customers email you testimonials, you can put those right on your site.
7- Advertise online with paid options like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. Here are just a few reasons why using AdWords is beneficial: a) it helps you get exposure where your organic listings can’t; b) You can get cozy with your competitors – making your brand visible among your competitors in case they may have heard of your competitors but not about you; and c) if you have a really great offer that you want to advertise to the world, you can use AdWords to help you give your customers an offer they can’t refuse. Ads usually perform better if an offer is associated with it. Plus, it will help bring more traffic to your website and encourage more customers to return if you have other offers going on.
8- Issue a news release, and use local identifiers within it. For example, include the city name in the title.
9- Engage local influencers, online and off so they might advocate your brand. You can find people on twitter in your area by typing this search phrase in Google (substituting your location of choice): intext:”location * Baltimore, Maryland” site:twitter.com.
10- Offer coupons. Especially around the holidays, search queries center on the terms “coupon” and “gifts.” Have a page that incorporates your business name, area, specialty and one of those keywords to help consumers cut through the clutter to find you.
Jiyan Wei, our director of product development offers some additional tips on his blog. What tips do you have for increasing your visibility online through local search?