LOCAL SEARCH, GOOGLE PLACES, LOCAL PPC
As the search landscape continues to change, we have put together a list of local search tips that will help you get started on the path to local search success. Enjoy, and feel free to leave comments, suggestions or more tips for readers.
1. Claim Your Local Listings on Google, Yahoo and Bing
Get out there and claim your listings. Not only can you verify the accuracy of information you can also ensure your listing doesn’t get hijacked. Claiming your listing is simple, takes very little time and, in my opinion, is the most important step to local search success.
2. Enhance and Optimize Your Local Listings
Once you have claimed your listing, the next step is to enhance your listing. This includes adding videos and photos, hours, a message from the owner, select relevant categories and add a keyword rich description.
3. Add Location Specific Terms to Your Page Titles
It has been known for a long time that unique and relevant page titles are uber important to search engine optimization. But now it is even more important to add your location to the page titles. This gives Google and other search engines a way to geo locate your business and tie it to content specific pages.
4. Geo-targeted PPC Campaigns
When pay per click advertising started it was like casting a net over the entire lake of fish hoping to get the one you are looking for. Now you have the ability to cast the net over the specific fish you want. Geo-targeting isn’t new, but it is very under-utilized. As most people know, with pay per click advertising you pay when a web searcher clicks on your ad. The goal of a campaign manager is to effectively show that ad to only the people you want clicking on it by doing keyword research, adding qualifiers in the ad text and geo-targeting them.
If I run a local auto service company and want to drive business to my site, it doesn’t make sense to target nationally. Instead by geo-targeting my ad campaigns I can limit the people that see my ad by city, zip code or even a custom shape around a particular neighborhood.
Typically the cost of keywords can be more expensive but the conversion percentage is higher and your ROI is greater.
5. Mobile PPC
Your customers have gone mobile: have you? Smart mobile devices and tablets outsold PC’s in Q4 of 2010 for the first time.
Enabling and customizing your ads to be mobile friendly is very smart, strategic and currently cheaper. Most campaign managers haven’t taken the time to enable this strategy, so this is a great time to take advantage of mobile PPC.
6. Location Specific Pages
If your business has more then one location and you don’t have a specific landing page for each, location you are missing out. It is important to make sure that you have details separated out by location so the search engines are able to see the physical address of each location and other important information. Be sure to accurately name your pages, page titles and H1 tags with the geo-location details for better optimization.
7. Check for Accurate Info on Data Aggregators
Google, Bing and Yahoo are the biggest and most used search engines. But don’t underestimate the importance of local search sites like Yelp, Urbanspoon, Yellowpages, Superpages and hundreds more are just as important and likely to have incorrect data. The data aggregators have done their best to scrape every source they can to fill up their data feeds, and a lot of times it is old outdated data. Submit accurate information and continue to follow up and check monthly to ensure your info is still accurate.
8. Local Phone Numbers
It used to be important for businesses to have a toll free number for customers to call. But now searchers see an 800 number and usually assume it is a national number or that they are likely to get connected to a call center overseas. List the local number and let the area code prove you are right up the street.
9. Ask For Reviews
It’s important for web searchers to trust you. One way you can accomplish this is by encouraging your customers to provide feedback on your local listing pages. This reassures them you are a trusted business with customers who have had such a great experience that they wanted to talk about it.
10. Be the Searcher
A lot of times we get too deeply involved in our business lingo and assume that everyone knows what the heck we are talking about. My wife is a constant reminder of this. I tend to throw around too many acronyms or industry specific terms and she just gives me the look, which means I need to translate into terms anyone can understand. Whether its writing content for your site, choosing keyword terms for pay per click campaigns or creating your metadata, make sure you put yourself into your customers’ shoes and optimize to what they would be searching.