If you have been focusing on improving your SEO and drawing in more customers on a nationwide scale－good for you!
However, in the process, you may have overlooked another valuable market－local clientele. If you have been focusing on marketing your business on a national level, you may want to consider narrowing your focus to your specific geographic location and focusing on local SEO to drive area customers to your website.
Why local SEO?
For small businesses, your customer base is usually focused in a condensed area. Maybe it’s your city or county. Local SEO plays a huge role in that situation. However, local SEO is also important for larger interstate companies, and those with multiple branches, because it allows you to pinpoint and optimize for specific locations.
A smaller target audience = A greater chance of conversion
If someone is using a search engine to seek out a local business, they most likely have something very specific in mind, making them a much more targeted audience that has a high likelihood of conversion.
A smaller competition pool = A greater chance to stand out
Another benefit of diving into the local SEO pool is that your competition will be much smaller, as you will only be competing with local businesses, in your same field, that are seeking the same SEO results.
And now for that list we promised
So you now understand WHY local web traffic is important, but how can you improve your local SEO rankings and draw hyper-local customers to your company website? Below we explore five time-tested methods for increasing local traffic flow to your business.
1. Focus on responsive web design
Responsive web design is Google’s preferred design method for yielding the best search engine results, and since this search engine giant processes over TWO BILLION queries annually, you should probably adhere to their guidelines and preferences.
Why is responsive web design so important for drawing in local customers? First of all, it creates a fluid design that will easily adapt to whatever device the customer is using to search for your business. It also relies on the same URL across devices, avoiding confusion over multiple URLs for your business.
Since approximately two-thirds of Americans now use smartphones, and smartphone searches are based on GPS and location, having a responsive web design that works easily with local customer’s smartphones will greatly increase your chance of gaining their business. There are several other reasons why you should implement a mobile-friendly website.
2. Create location landing pages for your website
Whether you live in a metropolitan area or a smaller town, it is important to create city-specific landing pages for nearby municipalities that you may be targeting. A great way to do this is by creating landing pages for your target locations.
These local pages will increase your SEO for searches in neighboring cities, and direct these local customers to your business that they may not have otherwise found.
Just remember to keep the page valuable. Google knows about this method for increasing local SEO and is cracking down on many of these “doorway” pages to ensure high-quality search results for their users. To make sure your business is not penalized by these changes, follow the criteria below:
- Use outbound linking to other local businesses
- Discuss area businesses that you have worked with in the past, and link to their websites
- Incorporate relevant information, history, and facts about the target city
3. Use social media reviews to your advantage
You already know about the importance of actively maintaining your social media pages for your business. Now it is time to use the review capabilities of sites like Facebook, Google+ and Yelp to your advantage.
Reviews from sites like these show up on search engine result pages (SERPs), and encouraging your customers to leave reviews for you will increase your SEO rankings.
Possibly more importantly, many customers rely on customer reviews when making decisions on which local business to choose (I know I do). So building up a lot of reviews is critical to attracting local customers. You may want to consider sending out follow up emails or hosting contests to encourage customers to leave reviews on your pages.
4. Make sure you include your full business address on all pages of your website
This is an easy, but important, factor in attracting local customers to your business. Be sure that the format you use for your address is readable by search engines. This means it should be a part of the indexable text, not embedded in a portion of the text that search engines cannot crawl like Flash or an image.
5. Ensure your business is properly categorized in local search engines
If you have not already claimed your business listing or set up a listing in search engines like Bing, Google, and Yahoo! It is time do so.
When setting up your listing, however, it is CRUCIAL to correctly categorize your business. Not doing so can drastically damage your relevance in local business searches, in turn hurting your local web traffic.
If you are like many businesses out there you may have been focusing all of your resources on improving overall SEO on a nationwide level. By scaling back and narrowing your target audience to local municipalities, you will increase your odds of gaining new customers.
Have you noticed any of the above techniques benefiting your business? Let us know in the comments below!