70% of online searchers use local search to find offline businesses. Local search optimization is imperative for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses targeting a particular location. For our latest event, TNI’s own Director of Internet Marketing, Natalie Vasilyev, presented strategies and tactics to get businesses found in their areas of interest. For a full video of the presentation, please head to the event page. Read on for our major takeaways from Natalie’s presentation.
- 1. Make directory listings useful by keeping them up-to-date. Regularly updating the description, contact information, and photos on Google Places, for example, ensures that the user gets up-to-date information. An accurate and useful listing encourages reviews, and the more complete the profile, the better it ranks.
- 2. Reviews are powerful. A high amount of local reviews will improve a location’s ranking and influence customers. However, there may be ranking penalties if artificial reviews are detected, such as five exceedingly positive reviews submitted in a very short time span. Encourage reviews organically through a well-kept listing and a quality user experience.
- 3. Directory reviews and social media accounts provide valuable feedback and an opportunity to demonstrate customer service. Never delete negative comments or complaints, attempt to take care of the situation in public to show others you are putting forth a good-faith effort.
- 4. Organic local SEO can be augmented with Paid Search to maximize effectiveness. Geo-targeted search campaigns use a searcher’s IP address to determine his or her location and allow businesses to target broad keywords to IP locations (ex: “Dry Cleaners” for all searches in a certain zipcode). Geo-modified search campaigns target keywords that contain a location in them (ex: “Moving to St. Louis”).
- 5. Incorporating Social Media Marketing is a great way to round out a local search strategy. Signs or posters in your physical location can point customers to your social media accounts to get them engaged online. Custom pages on Facebook can be used to highlight particular locations or regions as well.
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