If you’re in a local business category where you depend on local, walk-in customers, chances are, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach with your SEO strategy. Technically, not much is different, a keyword is a keyword, but there are some changes that can be made to help you get the most of your local SEO efforts.
Local SEO Advice
First, you’ll need to decide on the structure of your website. Typically, a local business would want to include its address and local phone number in a prominent location such as the header, the footer, or both. This strategy will immediately result in your city, state and zip code being present on every page of your website. However, this isn’t always adequate or ideal, depending on the nature of your business. One exception would be a local business category with a lot of search competition. Another would be businesses with multiple locations. If you have a lot of competition, this approach will work, but you’ll also want to add local specific search phrases within your page content, for example:
An ‘Orlando Bait Shop’ has little competition, so simply adding the address to the header and footer is sufficient. Whereas, an ‘Orlando Dentist’ has a lot of competition, so local keywords should be used within the copy for each service offered. You don’t have to overdo it though, one or two inclusions will be fine.
Now, if your businesses has more than one location, your options largely depend on:
- How many locations you have, and,
- How many products or services you’re offering.
A local business with multiple locations and a singular product or service offering may benefit most by simply structuring their main menu with pages dedicated to each location. Whereas, a local business with multiple locations and multiple products or services they need to rank for, may need to opt for a silo structure. This would be top level links for each location, and then service or product specific pages under each location. The reverse can also work in many situations, with your top level links consisting of service specific pages, and location listings on each service page. Many businesses with hundreds or thousands of product specific keywords (such as a used car dealer, for example) would typically opt for the latter.
Your goal is obviously to establish rankings for every product, brand or service you provide, as well as every city and zip code you service. So, when you setup your website you’ll have to be mindful in how you go about this. Is a single page representing each location preferable, or a single page representing each service, or both? Structure your website hierarchy according to your goals and unique configuration.
Website structure is only one obstacle of local SEO. Every local business can benefit greatly by being listed in local specific directories, as well as review sites such as Google Places and Yelp. Other high PR social networking sites can serve as a dual edged sword as well, helping bring customers to your door, while serving as a powerful and highly relevant back link to your website. List your business anywhere and everywhere you can, and be sure to optimize your listings with your content information, website URL, logo and any related photos. Then, invite your existing customers to leave you a review at the most important sites. Local listings with plentiful reviews and the highest engagements rank higher and result in more people finding your listing. This obviously translates to more traffic to your website and more brick and mortar sales activity.