Local SEO Consulting Strategies for Small Business


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This presentation by local SEO consultant Chris J. Everett of Captivate Search Marketing highlights 7 Essential Local SEO Strategies for Small Business to help them gain valuable exposure in front of consumers in their local markets.

To learn more, visit http://www.captivateseo.com

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Local SEO Consulting Strategies for Small Business

  1. 1. Essential Local SEO Strategies for Small Business By Chris J. Everett, Principal & Founder Captivate Search Marketing
  2. 2. Small and medium sized businesses face a variety of challenges in tough economic times. The most trying of these challenges is developing qualified customer leads to help maintain or grow the business. For some businesses, how they choose to spend their marketing budget can be a make-or-break decision. When deciding how to spend those marketing dollars, consider your target market. If you're a small or medium sized bricks and mortar business or even a business that provides products and services to a specific location, adding a targeted Local Search Engine Optimization (Local SEO) strategy to your marketing plan is a smart decision. Introduction to Local SEO Strategies Local SEO strategies target the most qualified search engine traffic available that turn into solid sales leads or conversions on your business' Website.
  3. 3. What Is Qualified Traffic (QT)? Qualified traffic to a local business is LOCAL people who are actively searching online for a product or service that they sell. Why is QT Important? It's a pretty simple concept, really. If the people searching are local to your area, they are much more likely to purchase your product or service than someone who isn't in your local area. If your bricks and mortar company is located in Atlanta, Georgia, you don't want to target potential clients in Eugene, Oregon - you want to find new customers in Atlanta, Georgia! Because Local SEO strategies specifically target these qualified searchers, local SEO provides higher conversion rates and maximum return on investment (ROI).
  4. 4. Local SEO is a specialized branch of Search Engine Optimization Search that focuses specifically on geo-specific targets. Search Engine Optimization companies that execute Local SEO strategies for their clients will utilize geo-specific modifiers for targeted keywords that people are searching for. You might be saying to yourself what does that mean? Again, it's a pretty simple concept. If you're located in Atlanta, Georgia and your company specializes in residential roofing projects, your Local SEO consultant will identify targeted keywords related to your services that specifically use the word "Atlanta" in them or a nearby series of zip codes. Example targeted keyword phrase: "Atlanta Roofing Contractors" or "Roofing Contractors 30309." What is Local SEO?
  5. 5. Now that you know what Local SEO is, consider these seven local SEO strategies that can make a significant impact on the overall success of your local SEO campaign. Seven Local SEO Strategies to Boost Your Rankings
  6. 6. 1. Establish a Well-Optimized, Professional Website Focused on Generating Local Leads Your Website is the centerpiece of your local Internet marketing strategy, so it is imperative that your business has a strong Web presence. The Website should be attractive and easy to use, with an emphasis on demonstrating your business' expertise and your full breadth of products and services.
  7. 7. Content: Its content should have a focus on conversions with a prominent call to action whether that be: for visitors to make a purchase sign up for an eNewsletter download an eBook simply contact you for more information Design: Developing a lead-generating Website isn't a job for amateurs. Always consult a professional Website design and development company that will develop and offer conversion rate optimization tips for your Website, no matter what your budget might be. Optimization: Once your professional Website has been designed and developed, it must be well-optimized for the search engines so that it will rank well in the local market. Your local SEO company local SEO will craft custom meta tags for your Website that will focus on locally targeted keyword phrases (i.e. "Atlanta roofing contractors." These meta tags include unique, keyword-focused title tags, as well as meta keywords and description tags.
  8. 8. 2. Understand the Value of Links Gaining Credibility and Trust in the Local Search Results Why are links important for Local SEO? When it comes to Local SEO strategies, links to your Website are extremely valuable. Links play a significant role in your Website's overall PageRank and search engine rankings. Google's spider bots read these link and determines whether or not they should follow that link to the Webpage it's linking to, or whether it should ignore the link and not follow it. On-text keyword Follow links are a critical focus for building PageRank for your Webpages and for overall success of your local SEO strategies.
  9. 9. What is PageRank? Google defines PageRank as "a technology that determined the ‘importance’ of a Webpage by looking at what other pages link to it.“ PageRank is measured on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 meaning your Webpage has countless quality backlinks and authority for a specific topic. Some of the World's most popular Websites - Facebook (PR 9), Twitter (PR 9), New York Times (PR 9) aren't even at the 10th level because it is impossible to reach the topmost rank. A respectable PageRank for your company to target is between 3-6. Obtaining quality links to your Website - more importantly on-text keyword links - from relevant Webpages that have powerful, authoritative PageRank will do the magic.
  10. 10. 3. Claim & Optimize Local Business Listings Google+, Yahoo & Bing Local Listings The big three major search engines - Google, Yahoo! and Bing - provide free business listing locations maps that you can easily create or claim to help your business get found in local search results.
  11. 11. Google has made significant changes in the past year. One of the biggest changes Google has made is integrating the old Google Places listings into Google +. It's quite possible that your company may already have an automatically generated Google+ Local (Formerly Google Places) page without you even knowing it! To find out if your company has a Google+ Local Business listing, go to http://plus.google.com/local and do a search for your business name. Once you've located your Google+ Local listing, click on your business name to view your page:
  12. 12. If you were unaware that your company was listed on Google+ Local, you should be sure to claim the ownership and administrative rights to be able edit and optimize the page. Create or use an existing Google account you have setup for your business and tie it to your Google+ Local listing! If you can't locate your company on Google+ Local listings, you can easily create a new listing for free by signing up at Google.com/Places. Claiming or creating a Google+ Local listing is a great first step to take, but it doesn't mean your company will automatically be found by potential customers. In the right column of your Google+ listing, there will be a blue link above the map of your location that says "Is this Your Business?" and "Manage this Page" If you haven't yet claimed your listing, CLAIM IT.
  13. 13. The crucial next step for your Google+ Local listing is to optimize it for the local search results. To optimize your Google+ Local page, you should completely fill out the listing with your business' contact information, products and services, hours of operation, Website address, and include supporting pictures of your products/services or portfolio of your work. And don't forget to choose the appropriate categories that your business falls into (i.e. Internet, marketing, etc.)!
  14. 14. 4. Join Local Business Directories Manta, Merchant Circle, Kudzu, YP.com, etc. To boost your relevancy within your industry, it is important to submit your Website and business information to as many business listings and search engines as you can.
  15. 15. • Consider creating profiles on popular directory Websites such as Manta and LinkedIn. It is also useful to your local SEO strategies if you will submit your website to niche directories and websites relevant to your industry. For instance, if you own a construction company or are a home builder, you might consider joining industry directories like ConstructionLinks.net, BuildPro.org or ConstructionBusiness.org. • Most business directories are free to join, but some do charge a yearly fee for featured listings that get more prominent placement with your company's logo on the Websites. • Do NOT be lazy! It is important that you post all of your company's contact and Website information correctly and consistently on each business listing or directory that you join. • Using consistent profile data for your company on all of these Websites makes you more relevant to the search engines for local SEO and to potential customers who are searching for your product or service!
  16. 16. 5. Get Reviews from Your Customers Encourage your customers to post reviews on your local business listings or supply testimonials that you can post on your Website. Direct them to your Google+ Local, Yahoo! or Bing business listings or your page on Yelp! to post reviews of your products or services. If you do a good job, you should get credit for it!
  17. 17. Significance of Reviews: • Reviews do not only improve your chances of landing a potential client, but this will make you more relevant to the search engines. • You can even encourage your customers to post reviews on your Google+ Local Page by offering them "$10 off your next visit!" on a post card or handout as they are leaving your office. • When asking your customers to provide these reviews and testimonials, it's important to realize that you can't please everybody all of the time, no matter how good you are! • You could hire a local Internet marketing company to provide Online Reputation Management services for your online business listings. These companies monitor the activity of your listings, as well as any other negative online publicity your company might receive.
  18. 18. 6. Start Blogging What Can Blogging Do?  Increase a brand’s visibility  Achieve higher rankings in local search results What are the Different Kinds of Blogs? 1. On-site blogs 2. Off-site blogs 2. Guest Blogging
  19. 19. What is an On-Site Blog? An on-site blog is a blog that is located on your main company Website. What are the Benefits of an ‘on-site’ blog? • Well written on-site blogs can build trust with site visitors as it pertains to your abilities as an expert within your industry. People like doing business with experts, especially when they're local and easy to do business with. • Blogs serve as a great platform for capturing "long tail" search engine optimization keyword terms. "Long tail" terms are quality keyword phrases that people are searching for online, but don't get as much search volume as a keyword phrase that would get its own SEO optimized page on your Website.
  20. 20. If you write a blog post for this same carpet cleaning company in Atlanta, you might publish an SEO optimized blog article that focuses on the keyword phrase "Cleaning Red Wine out of Carpet.“ This is a great example of a "long tail" keyword phrase because it doesn't get nearly the amount of search volume that a keyword like "Carpet Cleaning" does, but it's a relevant term that people are searching for that's related to your industry. For example, a main keyword phrase that would get a featured page on your Website might be one of your products or services. If your Atlanta-based company provides carpet cleaning services, you would want to have a dedicated "Carpet Cleaning" page that is Local SEO optimized for Atlanta.
  21. 21. What is an Off-Site Blog? An off-site blog is a blog that you publish externally from your main Website. What are the Benefits of an ‘off-site’ blog? • First, when you expand your footprint on the Internet (i.e. buy creating a second Website or blog) you're increasing the visibility of your company's brand. • The second benefit of an off-site blog is that as you're building an authoritative resource for Internet searchers. • Third, you're also creating a powerful linking tool for your main Website. If you're producing compelling, well-optimized "long tail-focused" blog content, your off-site blog should rank well in the search engines leading to more people visiting your Website.
  22. 22. What is Guest Blogging? Guest bloggers are people who produce blog content and contribute to a blog site that isn't run by them.
  23. 23. Why would you want to write content for someone else's Website? • First, when you become a guest blogger, you'll be developing on-text keyword backlinks from the guest blog Website back to your Website. As illustrated throughout this article, acquiring these types of inbound links to your Website is very important for Local organic SEO. • The second local marketing benefit of guest blogging mirrors the benefit of creating your own off-site blog. Guest blogging increases your company's branding footprint on the Web, which promotes higher numbers of branding impressions to potential customers. • The third local marketing benefit of guest blogging is the networking opportunities available with other companies that you are guest blogging for. You never know when or who your next great business deal or sale will come from!
  24. 24. So now that you know the local marketing benefits of guest blogging, now you need to get involved. Becoming a guest blogger isn't rocket science. In fact, a lot of Websites and blogs are actively seeking out people who want to provide unique guest blogging content. Take a few minutes and search around for the top 15 blog sites within your industry on Google. Don't see a guest blogging or contributing link? Find the Contact Us page and submit a contact form inquiring about your wishes to become a guest blogger for them.
  25. 25. 7. Get Active in Social Media Tweet, Like, Stumble and Pin! It's no big secret that social media is a powerful digital marketing tool that can widen the scope of your brand and connect you directly with potential and existing customers. Countless businesses have caught on to the social media craze, creating interactive Facebook Fan pages and Twitter accounts to actively engage their target audience with news, offers and event promotions.
  26. 26. The newest social media craze that is popular among women is Pinterest. Pinterest is a free social media site that allows people to visually share and discover links to topics they're interested in such as jewelry, fashion, food and recipes, travel, art, etc. You can "Pin" items to categorized "Pinboards" to share with other site users. With the concept of "Re-pinning," it's quite possible that your "Pin" could go viral! But don't abuse this new social media tool.
  27. 27. These social media outlets have proven invaluable, but did you know that social media Websites like Twitter can help boost your Local SEO? In 2010, Google and Bing confirmed what search engine optimization companies long suspected - that links from Tweets on Twitter are taken into consideration for search engine rankings. Now that you know the power of social media, ignoring it isn't an option! You must be prepared to Tweet, Like, Stumble and Pin - your local search engine marketing and Local SEO success depends on it!