Any businesses that want to grow should be targeting its resources on the local market.
Expansion demands new customers, and the easiest customers to attract are the ones closest to you. It makes more sense to target youron your own locality first and foremost before expanding nationally. So what’s the best way of unlocking this untapped local potential? Are there any simple solutions? Well, no, nothing is ever that simple, but there are a number of steps you can take that will make your website more ‘local-friendly’ and bring success that little bit closer.
The most important step is to make sure your address is prominently displayed on your website, landing pages and directory listings. If you want to appeal to the local market, you need to let your potential customers and the search engines know that you are an intrinsic part of it. If your business is based in Manchester, then make it obvious: it doesn’t matter if you’re a ‘red’ or a ‘blue,’ what’s important is that you’re from Manchester and all your internet marketing should underline this.
Keyword research is also vitally important. It’s the easy option to latch on to the obvious keywords: they may of course be relevant to your particular line of business, but don’t forget all your competitors will also be using them. Your keywords need to be specific, but they should also have the power to set you apart from the others. You should think about your business and also what you would search for if you where in your customers’ shoes. Long-tail keywords work best in these circumstances. Instead of using words like ‘restaurant’ and ‘Manchester,’ try to qualify your search parameters with words that will make your entry stand out: use ‘best’/ ‘restaurant’/ ‘affordable’/ ‘Manchester’ instead. Long-tail keywords increase your relevancy in local search results and can separate your business from the competition.
Your business doesn’t simply have to rely on on-page optimisation techniques.
You should also do some additional work off-page. You should set up profiles on local directories and join in with local marketing groups. Always bear in mind though that these will have to have some relevance to your target market. Links are also crucially important. Any website you link to that targets your local geographic should always be linked back to your own site. This increased visibility will help search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing recognise your site and spot its demographic and geographic relevance.
The final tip relates to content. Your website should obviously have information that is both accurate and interesting, but it needs more if it is to attract both local and search engine interest. The content has to be meaningful and deal with issues that a relevant to your local area. Try writing about things that potential customers can relate to: how you can save them money, or time. You may know your local area well, but you’ll need to demonstrate this.
It might seem counter-intuitive to focus purely on one small section of your potential market, when there’s a whole world out there waiting, but successful internet marketing is built on firm foundations and relies on walking before you are able to run. It may only be Manchester today, but tomorrow it might be the world.