Many local companies rely on globally recognized trends that will land them more customers and more visibility in the market, such as building a social media presence and setting up email marketing campaigns. It works, so why not use it, right? To an extent, these universal ideas do bring you more business, but for a small or medium company limited to a local market, you also need to be mindful of locally relevant ideas that will help you build a more robust local presence and more stability in your area.
Another universality is our tendency to trust local companies when we’re searching for products and services online. When we need to repair our shoes, we’ll look for a nearby cobbler. When we need to have our annual medical checkup, we’ll research the local healthcare clinics and the best, most reputable doctors. In need of a birthday cake? You’ll look for a cake store with plenty of options that are to your liking.
That means that building your SME presence requires local SEO, and the following strategies can help you position your brand better in your local market.
Take care of local business directories
In addition to building your own website and taking care of developing good UX on your website, it’s wise to research local directories where your business can set up a profile and make itself more prominent. From Google My Business to Bing and Angie’s List, the web is filled with directories where you can specify your niche, name, address, and phone numbers (or NAP for short), for people to find you more easily.
Regularly update and maintain these profiles and listings so that you can provide consistent, validated information across the board, and search engines will reward you for it.
Pick location-specific keywords
If you have ensured web-wide consistency for all the NAP information you have, you also need to embrace consistency and dedication for keyword optimization for all your website content. For instance, to improve your SEO in Central Coast, you need to research and implement the keywords used by your local target audience and in your local industry. That also means monitoring and adapting your keyword and backlink portfolio regularly, not just when you first build your website.
Ongoing content creation, guest posting, white-hat link building, and collaboration with local blogs and magazines will all help you rank higher in the local search results.
Cover locally relevant topics
What do Australians care about a Scandinavian gallery opening? Are your US customers likely to read or take interest in the report on a shopping mall opening in Shanghai? All signs point to no, as the good eight-ball would say. As a small business, you need to recognize that your local audience wants to learn more about the local events and upcoming changes that will directly affect their lives.
Locally relevant topics in your content also naturally allow you to incorporate keywords and location names and addresses that will elevate your importance in the eyes of search engines.
Work with local influencers
Optimizing your brand presence for search engines also means recognizing the various roles others play in the process. For instance, local businesses should update their 2021 SEO strategy by working with local influencers whose reputations and values match their own. Although there isn’t a clear link between social signals and immediate ranking perks, the long-term implications for your ranking will be vast.
If a well-known NYC fitness influencer starts posting pics wearing your apparel, you can expect more NYC customers flocking to your website, social pages, and the like. All those signals and interactions will show search engines that your brand has warranted more trust and interest from your local audience. Keeping up with this process means that for the long haul, you can rely on these partnerships to bring you a stronger ranking and a better local reputation.
Ask for customer reviews and references
When you run a business in a small region like Central Coast, and not smack-dab in the heart of Sydney, your local customers will likely be eager to hear from Central Coast people who have visited your business and who have had an experience with you. Their words are more relevant than anything you can say about yourself, because from their perspective, those previous customers have nothing to gain or lose by supporting your local business.
Google and other search engines understand that simple human trait and reward brands that are loved by their local community. In addition to providing superb service, you can go a little further and ask customers for a review. Mix it up and publish the reviews on your site, but also send them links where they can post their comments directly on third-party platforms, including Yelp, Google, and the like.
Digital marketing is an entire, intricate, ever-growing set of strategies that you can use to your advantage, but some of them will be more effective than others. Let’s face it, there can be little benefit for your Sydney café brand to show up when a Paris-based person searches for a coffee shop. Localization is an increasingly relevant way for brands to rank higher in local search results and build their reputation accordingly. Make sure to leverage these principles in your SEO approach, and you’ll give your brand a better, stronger standing in the local SERPs.