Most small businesses work with customers in a specific geographic location. They don’t have e-stores or any way to do business with people who can’t enter their physical location. Yet most of the advice you’ll find on generating traffic to your website typically focuses on getting your webpage in front of a global audience.
This is unhelpful for two reasons. First, your store, service business, or restaurant in Minneapolis isn’t going to get a lot of benefit out of traffic that comes from Toledo, or Mexico City. The out-of-area visitor is probably not going to drop by unless that person is planning a vacation.
Second, there’s just way too much competition on the global playing field! When you use a global strategy your webpage has to compete with a lot of “noise,” not just from other businesses, but from Wikipedia pages, blogs, and authority sites too.
Here are three ways to narrow your focus to the more useful (and less crowded) local playing field.
Work Local Keywords into your Blog Posts
Each blog post that you put out should reference your local community in some way. There are several ways to go about doing this.
One way would be to tie your topic into local events or concerns. You might have to look a bit beyond the local news to make this happen.
For example, I was writing up a series of posts about rain gardens for a local gutter contractor. A little bit of research revealed that the county extension office had also been promoting these gardens as a way to prevent storm water run-off. This made it easy to reference the county by name in several of the posts.
Another way would be to reference local conditions. If you’re writing a blog post about planning a Cinco de Mayo party and that particular holiday has always been a big deal in your town, say so! If it’s relevant, you can also reference local weather conditions, local traffic conditions, or anything else that makes sense.
Finally, you can use a short “bio” at the end of each of your posts that references the place or places that you do business. For example: (Business) is a (business type) operating in (City), (City) and (City). Call us today to (solve problem). This is just as effective from a SEO standpoint, and it doesn’t hurt for your customers to see it, either.
Create a Service Area Page
This technique makes sense for businesses that have a service area rather than a fixed, physical location. Include a map of your service area, and write out the name of each city that you serve.
If you like, you can create a separate web page for each major town in your service area, and then fill that page with useful information that relates to your business somehow. Creating these pages can be challenging, but the increase in traffic is well worth it.
Get Optimized for Google+ Local
Google+ Local makes it easy to get to the top of local search results, yet few small business owners even take the time to claim and optimize their listings.
It’s a point-and-click process, however, and it’s pretty easy to do. Full optimization takes time and effort, but if you’ve optimized your website for local keywords, too, then you’ll already have an edge in pushing your local listing to the top. Google+ Local offers users the option to click on your full website as well as the G+ local listing, so all of these techniques are quite powerful when you use them together.
You can take immediate action on all of these points today. Work local keywords into your next blog post, create your service area page (if it makes sense for your business), and claim your Google+ Local listing. The increase in local business and visibility will be well worth the effort, and all of these measures are free!
Carmen Rane Hudson is the Content and Social Media Manager for TVS Internet Marketing LLC, a local SEO firm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.