The primary source of internet traffic for the majority of smaller business will be local.
Therefore, if these businesses want to thrive it’s important for them to optimise their internet output for the local market: in other words they need to apply some basic local seo principles to their websites to compete with the other local businesses.
So, are you local? Well, if you sell your products and services primarily to the local community you are – like a hairdressers in Manchester, or a restaurant in Sale. But you can also be local, even if you sell a tangible product to buyers outside the local area you’re based in – for example you might own a garage in Stockport and service local traffic, but also have a specialised service for maintaining classic cars and attract traffic from all over the North West, but you’re still essentially a local business.
Which ever category your business falls in to, the basic rules of local seo still apply. These are:
- Website design and domain name
- A blog
- Local SEO content
- Google places
Part one of this article will look at the importance of website design, blogging and local seo content in the context of the local market.
Website Design and functionality.
Every local business should have a website with its own specific domain name. Putting your business main site on free hosting of any kind just doesn’t cut the mustard. The website needs to be designed in such a way that it reflects both your business identity and the services and products you sell. It might be a bit of a business cliché, but the website is often the first introduction customers have to your business and what it offers: therefore it has to sell itself professionally.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask the question what do they want from me? Whilst you’re at it you might also ask, what can I offer them that will make them stay on my site and engage with what I’m offering or saying? If you can provide answers to these questions, then you’re well on your way to creating a functional and worthwhile site.
Blogs are an essential part of any local seo campaign. They give business the opportunity to engage and interact with their customers. Blogs are best served by posts, whilst websites work best with static pages. Don’t be deterred by the prospect of having to set up a blog: it’s easy with WordPress and there are professional templates available to take the stress out of design. The other benefit of blogs is that they can also rank in search engines on their own: businesses can therefore hope to rank on Google and the like in two different ways – website ranking and blog ranking.
The other major advantage of blogs is that they let your business send links to your other websites pages and previous posts. Whether you choose to have your blog as part of your website or let it stand alone, is up to you. It’s easier if it’s part of the main site, but if you already have an existing website, it might make more sense to create a new domain name and host it there.
Most local businesses will concentrate to some degree or other on geographic keyword targeting. In other words, the services or products you offer should be targeted towards the local community which you serve: if you’re an accountant in Manchester called Geoff, use geo-keywords like Geoff – accountant- Manchester, rather than simply Geoff – accountant. Most local searches are geographically targeted, so it makes sense to use this information to your advantage. Towns, cities, neighbourhood names and counties should all be targeted. It’s also important to remember to title all your web pages and posts with these geo-targeted keywords. It might seem like a lot of bother, but geo-keyword targeting is vital if you’re servicing a local community.