Expand Your Business
by Thinking Global, but Acting Local
By Heather Lutze
Many small business
owners think that in order to be successful, they must dominate the
world. After all, their product is just a good for people in Ohio as
it is in Nebraska. But often, the real business is right under your
nose – right in your own backyard.
For many small
business owners, though, understanding the nuances of how to attract
and capture a local search audience and convert them into paying
clients is a big challenge. Fortunately, you can increase your
Findability, dominate web search results, and attract new customers
in your own hometown.
is, how do you stay competitive in a local market where competition
is fierce and your company offers the same perceived product or
service as everyone else in the area? How do you achieve a real
competitive edge in a localized market? Often, it’s about two key
things: Getting Social and Getting Local,
If you want to
stand out in your local market and increase your web ranking,
following are some key ways to get social, get local, and get a
whole lot of business.
Marketing is an excellent tool in an Internet Marketer’s toolkit. It
gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate how your company is
different, and it gives a real voice to your online presence. Many
businesses that do some social media marketing do a good job of
helping consumers find their social media platforms off the main
website. And, for the most part, they do keep their accounts updated
with relevant, high-value information. However, in order to really
harness the potential of these platforms, you need to make a few
changes with a localized spin that will go a long way for search
Tip #1: Get
everyone – and everything – on the same page:
Your blog is the
most important social media element your company can create. As
such, it needs to be a part of your main web site and it must
support your brand. Just having a blog up somewhere on the World
Wide Web doesn’t cut it. In fact, you can have the most
informational, well-organized blog in the world, but if it isn’t an
integrated part of your web site, it’s useless.
businesses have a blog that acts like its own website and that is
totally separate from the company’s main web site. As such, the blog
often gets more traffic and better web rankings than the main site.
The blog gets all the credit for the business owner’s well
thought-out, regular posts, and the web site gets none. Ideally, you
want your web site to get everything. The goal is not for consumers
to read your blog; it’s for them to read your blog, and then visit
your web site and take action.
your blog directly into your main web site. Ideally, users will see
the same header and footer as the main website, making it very easy
for them to jump from a blog post to a relevant section on your
Tip #2: A little
keyword research goes a long way:
If you are going to
take the time and effort to keep your social media platforms
up-to-date and informational, then you probably want your potential
customers to read them. The true power of social media marketing is
the ability to gain search engine ranking by optimizing your
platforms, thereby getting found in the search engines and getting
traffic to your platforms.
Chances are you’ve
already done the hard work. You’re giving great information,
uploading videos and images, and giving customers a real value-add.
Now you simply need to pick one strategic keyword per post and do a
little post optimization, and you’ll have search engine ranking. For
each blog, use a keyword tool, find a keyword with good search
volume, and simply add it into your post title and throughout the
Now, here is the
trick for using a keyword tool to localize posts. You probably won’t
see the tools diving in deep enough to get search volume for
Fairfield, Virginia, or for any town for that matter. However, what
works for Americans, works for “Fairfieldians.” This means if there
is great search volume under “Cosmetic Dentistry,” for example, then
there is probably good search volume under “Cosmetic Dentistry,
Fairfield VA.” So think global, but act local with your keywords.
When it comes to marketing on the Internet, the sky is
truly the limit for really narrowing in and getting in front of your
target audience. Local searching is no exception. Here are a few
tricks of the trade that can help you dominate local search results.
Tip #1: Use
businesses that do Pay Per Click advertising use Geo-Targeted
criteria, which means your PPC ad will only show if the searcher has
a local IP address in the geographic area you’ve defined. The
biggest gap in running only a geo-targeted by IP address campaign is
that people who are not physically located in your area when
searching won’t see your ads. So if someone lives around the corner
from you, but this week they happen to be across the country
visiting their Aunt Betty and using her computer to find some local
businesses to call next week when they’re back in town, your PPC ads
For this reason,
Geo-Targeted Pay Per Click accounts need to have two campaigns.
Campaign 1is the localized campaign that only shows ads to consumers
in your area, and Campaign 2 is a state-wide or national campaign
with keywords that have local modifiers. Using our cosmetic
dentistry example from earlier, in Campaign 1, you could show ads
for keywords such as “cosmetic dentistry,” knowing that only
consumers in the surrounding areas would see them. For Campaign 2,
you could show ads for keywords such as “cosmetic dentistry
Fairfield VA,” knowing that regardless of where that person is
currently located, they have a need for a dentist in Fairfield.
Tip #2: Use Local
Business Center ads:
Local Business Center ads are a fantastic way to gain additional, localized
ranking in the search engines. Setting up a Local Business Center ad
account in Google is free – all you need is a local address and you
are good to go.
Center gives you the opportunity to connect your local listings with
your Google Adwords account, meaning that when someone searches for
your keyword in your local area, your listing will appear with an
address and phone number under the standard ad text. Even better,
Local Business Center ads can be optimized. For example, if one of
your local listings is titled “Fairfield Dentist,” you could label
it “Fairfield Dentist, Cosmetic Dentistry” and gain ranking for
someone searching for cosmetic dentistry in Fairfield. By using a
keyword tool and including your keyword in the local listing, small
business can take full advantage of a local Internet Marketing
Tip #3: Get the
right local domain for the right audience:
As much as we are targeting local keywords and local listings, there is a
fine line between local and too local. For example, some businesses
put their phone number or address (or part of it) in their domain
name. Whereas an address and/or phone number is certainly local, it
is just a bit too local. Searchers definitely identify with
localized keywords; however, typically they don’t search down to the
street-number or phone number level until they are looking for
directions or a specific provider. Therefore, get a web site address
that is local-keyword rich. A small change in your web address can
make a very big change in your search engine Findability.
Dominate your Local
Market for Results!
Yes, you can
dominate your local market. By utilizing the strategies covered, you
can up your game on the local competitors. Ideally, you want to be
the only provider in town as far as the search engines are
concerned. With so many people going online to get their local needs
met, this is one area of your web marketing campaign you can’t
afford to overlook.
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