When it comes to building your online presence, most businesses focus on the big picture. The internet is a big place and you need to reach everyone, right?
In fact, if your business primarily focuses on a local market you may be approaching things all wrong. A global vision is great, but the real success can come by dominating local search.
Step 1 - Claim your Business Page
Services like Google Places, Facebook Pages, Yelp and more provide you with FREE listings that can have a significant impact on local search results. Have you ever tried to search for a local business on Google and noticed a small map with a bunch of pins? Those are the businesses that are already making use of their free Google Place listing. If you don’t have one of these listings I highly recommend you do this today.
Step 2 - Start a blog, post regularly
Each new blog post is an opportunity to target the keywords your customers are typing into Google. Think about how people find you. If you run a hardware store in Niagara, chances are a popular search term is ‘Niagara Hardware Store’. Make sure you write content that is optimized for the terms and phrases people are actually looking for.
Step 3 - Create location-focused web pages
If you live in an area where there are several neighbouring cities or towns this is a really easy way to gain more search traffic. Create brochure-styled pages focused on each city or town that provide information on how you can serve that market. The most important element of this strategy is to ensure each page is a little different. If you simply copy the pages and change the city/town names Google will not give you any credit (and could penalize you for duplicated content).
Then always, always, always track your progress!
Once you apply these steps I recommend creating a schedule to track your performance. As you start to see results it will definitely give you motivation to keep at it.
Remember, your online presence should never be treated as a one-off project. To get the most of it you need to keep things fresh and relevant to your industry and community.