There’s nothing wrong with being a LOCAL STAR.
Just ask the Naked Cowboy.
He’s the guy who stands in Times Square wearing only boots, a hat, and a guitar to strategically protect his modesty. And although national and international fame still beckon, he’s a GENUINE New York City icon.
Everyone in New York knows who he is – his brand is on-point and people know where to find him. Just like the best local SEO, he’s VISIBLE, location-specific, and happy to engage with the public.
To become the local star in your part of the world, you need to re-strategize your SEO.
Ask yourself: how is your business perceived on the web? And how can you make it EASIER for people to find you?
What Is Local SEO And Who Needs It?
Local SEO is a must for if you want to attract local customers – usually those within 100 miles of your location.
+ It makes it easier for someone to find you online. You can then turn conversions into SALES.
+ It adds more credit to your rankings, and Google places them in a different class of organic searches and pay-per-clicks.
+ It makes your business look more authentic (verification, maps, customer reviews and the like can help to achieve this).
Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure even better local SEO:
1. Create Location-Specific Domains
Your website is STILL your business’ most important online asset, so make sure it’s properly optimized.
If your business has a strong connection to a location, then you should create a domain name that reflects not only the business brand, but the LOCATION as well. Some examples:
+ The Big Apple-based sandwich brand Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop (eisenbergsnyc.com).
+ The LA designer clothing store Madison Brentwood (madisonlosangeles.com).
+ Powell’s, one of the finest book stores in the Windy City (powellschicago.com).
Ok, so these cities may have more clout on the world stage than say, Fulton, Mississippi, or Blackwater, Missouri. And it’s easier to shoehorn a location into a domain when the city name is recognizable by itself without being followed by its state name.
But it can still be done (FultonMSshoes.com is still an available domain in case you were wondering).
2. Update Your Business Listings
For better SEO, make sure your business is included on as many listings websites as possible – think Yellowbook, YELP, Dexknows, Facebook and Google+. All of these have a lot of clout when it comes to search listings, so make sure you get it RIGHT:
+ Pad your listings with plenty of high-quality images, videos and a direct URL to your website. Soon enough you’ll be getting more HITS than Katy Perry on the Billboard charts.
+ Create separate listings if your business has more than one location. Yes, this can be time-consuming, but it pays off in the long run. If you’re still struggling, a site like Acxiom or Neustar Localeze can make it easier to update your listings across many local portals.
+ Make sure your business name, location, phone number and email address are up-to-date and consistent across all your pages. A little Columbo-like detective work can go a long way, so check your facts and make sure you leave no stone unturned.
3. Come Up With A Decent Linking Out Strategy
Do you remember that NBC game show that was on about ten years ago called The Weakest Link? You probably don’t – it was cancelled after a couple of seasons.
It’s all a bit hazy, but what I DO remember is that the host would shout “You are the weakest link… goodbye” every time a player was eliminated.
How does this apply to SEO?
Well, while strong and relevant outbound links to other web resources are good for your readers and improve their user experience, try-hard spamming outbound links are bad for your site’s mojo.
So, keep all your links RELATED to your niche – you’ll soon strengthen the credibility of your brand once you do.
Here are some tips:
+ Include related links to other businesses in your area (obviously not competitors!), and hopefully they will return the favor.
For example, if you own a hotel, start a community directory of restaurants, bars and other attractions in your town or city.
Not only is this great for link building, but you will be able to provide your readers with some valuable information.
+ Consider making the link a no-follow, when you’re not sure about the content of the site you are linking to. This way you stay clear in the watchful eyes of Google, but still direct a small flow of your readers to this site.
+ Give it some time – good SEO needs to mature to become a beautiful web butterfly.
+ Share links to your website from your social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram…) and encourage your followers to share and like your content.
A word of warning:
ALWAYS know WHO you are linking to, and never spam your business domain on blogs or forums. This could have a negative impact on your search rankings, and frankly, it’s just bad practice.
4. Encourage Your Customers To Leave A Review
As a human species, sometimes it can be hard to hear the truth – even from someone who has our best interests at heart.
That might be why so many local businesses steer clear from responding to user reviews on third-party websites (TripAdvisor, Yelp etc.). But if you provide a good service (which you do), there’s nothing to be scared of.
Remember – user reviews can be IMPERATIVE in improving the visibility of your business on local search listings.
+ Email customers after they have purchased a product from your site and encourage them to leave a user review. Even better, provide them with a list of websites where they can leave a review – ensuring that the reviews are spread across as many independent third-party sites as possible.
+ Take the time to respond to these reviews, especially the negative ones. Someone who stayed at your hotel didn’t think the FOUR rolls of toilet paper you left in the bathroom for their two-night stay was ENOUGH? Apologize and explain your commitment to improve your toilet paper policy in the future. Thank the customer for their feedback and ask them to contact you directly if they wish to discuss the matter further.
+ …DON’T leave fake reviews, focus you energy on creating a great customer experience instead!
5. Go Mobile
Local SEO is where new mobile technology is heading. Think about how many people whip out their phone, search for something like “nearest Italian restaurant” and then receive a list of results.
Making sure your website is fully updated, with maps, contact details, and plenty of relevant information can increase your mobile traffic – essential if the major search engines continue to re-structure their local mobile results pages like they have been doing recently.
So, beefing up your local SEO strategy can bring in more customers and more MONIES.
So, tinker with your pages, increase your visibility, and get out there and become a LOCAL STAR.