We use the term “Local Search Marketing” or “Local Marketing” in a lot in our articles. So, what exactly is it?
Think of local search marketing as “neighborhood marketing.” Local Marketing is a marketing strategy that targets consumers or potential customers within a radius around a physical business location with marketing messages tailored to a local audience.
For example, if you have a dental office in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, you do not want to market your business in, let’s say, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Local marketing works best for any business that has a physical brick-and-mortar location, like dentists, law offices or accountants. Or, for any locally based businesses that travel to a customer’s location, such as plumbers, electricians, or general contractors.
Think of it this way, what would you do if you wanted to market your business via a post card mailing campaign. You would probably identify a list of local zip codes. When you are running a local business in our tech-savvy world, sidewalk signs and post card mailing campaigns are no longer enough to capture all the local traffic you want. This type of marketing is better known as offline marketing.
You would be surprised by the number of websites we have reviewed that do not have basic SEO.
Local Search Marketing – Basic SEO means Meta Tags
Our focus is on Internet marketing, using a business website as a foundation and supporting and driving visitors to a business website through digital marketing techniques and strategies. A business website must contain some basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You would be surprised by the number of websites we have reviewed that do not have basic SEO.
Basic SEO is really quite simple. The major search engines in the United States are Google, Bing and Yahoo. With over 70% of the search market share, Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine. Bing, owned and operated by Microsoft, is Google’s biggest contender and accounts for less than 10% of U.S. searches. Yahoo is the U.S.’s third biggest search engine. Yahoo Search is a rebranded version of the Microsoft Bing search engine.
Regardless of their search market share, they all want one thing… they want to know who you are and what you do. Lately, it has become increasingly important to tell them where you do what you do. That is the very essence of local search.
There are two Meta Tags that are critical to local search; the Title Tag and the Description Tag. They are critical because these two tags tell the search engines what your business does and where you do it. It is not complicated. It is quite easy once you understand why these Meta Tags are so important.
They are important because search engines like Google index every website. When someone types a keyword into a Google search box, they are looking to solve a problem or a need they have. Google wants your search engine business, so they want to accommodate you as best they can. They want to be as accurate and helpful as possible because they want you to continue to use their search engine.
Use Location Based Keywords
Your business website has a home page. That is where you start. This page will have a Meta Title and Description. Too often we see a website with the business name in the title and again in the description. This really defeats the purpose in local search. It is fine for large national companies like MetLife.
However, if you are a small business owner trying to attract customers in your local area, you need to develop the habit of using location-based keywords. These location-based keywords can be done by city, neighborhood, county, region, or state. Base your location on your marketing area.
The above picture is a screenshot of our old title tag and description. In the title, we use the location-based keyword “Maryland.” If you have a service company like plumbing, general contracting, etc. and you primarily service a couple of counties, make sure you include those counties in your description. Avoid using your business name in the title or description.
Think about it! If you have a plumbing company and its called Harry’s Plumbing and HVAC, you are in Northern Virginia and you serve Arlington and Fairfax counties, you do not want your title tag to read Harry’s Plumbing and HVAC. If someone specifically enters your business name in a search box, they will find you, but no one else will.
Here is something a lot better. Your title tag should read “plumbing and HVAC services in Northern Virginia.” And your description tag could read something like this: “Northern Virginia full service plumbing and HVAC company, primarily serving Arlington and Fairfax counties.
Local Marketing – Google Knows Your Location
With the advent of the Global Positioning System or GPS along with a dearth of other technologies, Google knows your location whether you are using a smartphone, a tablet, laptop, or personal computer. You bet; this is a large privacy issue to many; but it is also hugely convenient to others. From driving directions, to making sure your search results include things near you, to showing you when a restaurant is typically busy, location can make your experiences across Google more relevant and helpful.
Just consider some of the free Google services you may use on a routine basis like: Gmail, Google Meet, Google Calendar, Google Drive, YouTube, Photos and many more. Plus, they have a literal gold mine of apps available on their Google Workspace Marketplace. Providing useful, meaningful experiences is at the core of what Google does, and location information plays an important role in doing just that.
Local Search Marketing – Make Sure Your Website is Optimized for Mobile
About 52% of all website traffic comes from a mobile device. This trend will only increase. What are you more likely to do if you have a plumbing emergency? Are you going to turn on your laptop and do a search for “emergency plumber near me?” Or are you going to pick up your smartphone to do the search? I am willing to bet you will use your smartphone. Here is the thing. People do not only choose their smartphone in an emergency. They do it all the time.
Google places a lot of emphasis on whether or not a website is optimized for mobile. In fact, they now use mobile first indexing. Always remember, a major Google goal is to enhance the user’s experience. They do not want to show a user a website that has to be pinched to read it.
Local Search Marketing – Elements
There are several local search elements that we want to discuss that will significantly enhance your business in the eyes of Google. We often say to clients, “Google owns the Internet. They make the rules. We just follow their rules.” Today, having a website is not enough. You absolutely need a Google Business Profile page.
With a GBP account, you get more than a business listing. Your free Business Profile lets you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Google Maps.
If you have already claimed and verified your business, great! If you have not, make sure you get this done. Once your business is claimed and verified, it needs to be optimized. You can post photos and offers to your profile to show what makes your business unique and give customers reasons to choose you every time. If you need professional assistance, book a free online business consultation with us.
Mastering Your Local Search Marketing
– Get the Information You Need…
I recall a conversation I had with my neighbor a few years ago. We were discussing home projects. I’ll never forget what he said: “You can do anything yourself as long as you have the right tools. and the right guidance and instruction.” While his statement is so intuitively obvious, it is so darn true.
Google wants and expects certain things. They expect you to have accurate and consistent business listings; they expect you to manage and respond to your online reviews and they expect you use social media to educate and inform people in your local market. It sounds like a lot of work, but it really is not if you have the right tools.
Lucky for you, we are now offering a free Internet Marketing MRI for small business owners. This is a Internet marketing evaluation of the effectiveness of your business website online with a focus on local marketing. Are you getting all the calls and leads you expect from your website? Are you satisfied with the results? Or, do wonder why other businesses in your niche or market seem to be getting all the business from the Internet? Do you have the right tools? If any of this describes you, you are not alone! If this is the case, we will tell you how to learn why and make recommendations to make your Internet marketing efforts much more effective.
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