I was having a chat with my neighbour last week. We started chatting about things of national importance, like what the surf was like at the moment, and if he was going out in the morning.
At some point we moved onto his business, and how his sales were tracking. He owns and operates an air conditioning company, so I expected him to say it was a little slow at the moment given it’s winter.
However business was good, and he had a strong pipeline – great for this time of year!
Well, it was all good until I found out how much he was spending, which was not inconsiderable. Particularly when he could be driving more leads (and sales) from his own website without too much effort.
Unfortunately he’s not alone. Here’s 5 tips to get more from local search for your business.
1. Location-based Content
It’s important that you review the content on your web pages to include geography based terms and content.
Add it to your HTML through page titles, as well as your page footer with addresses. Add it to your internal linking text, for example, ‘Manly air conditioning’, instead of just ‘air conditioning’.
Make sure you don’t overdo it, and keep real humans in mind (don’t do it just the search engines).
In addition to localised content on your site, you should consider adding content to sites like Flickr, YouTube and Slideshare and add localised tags, descriptions, links and file names.
2. Location Pages
Google SEO spokesperson, Matt Cutts, recently said “If your company has a bunch of store locations, please don’t hide that information behind a search form or a POST. If you want your store pages to be found, it’s best to have a unique, easily crawlable url for each store.”
This is about as clear an invitation to having location-based pages as you can get.
Businesses should consider separate pages for each location, suburb and community they serve. These pages should feature unique content and be optimised for hyper local search.
So continuing with our ‘air conditioning’ example, you would have different pages for each location…
- air conditioning Harbord
- air conditioning Brookvale
- air conditioning Manly
- air conditioning Manly Vale
- air conditioning Queenscliff
- air conditioning Fairlight, etc, etc
3. Profile Pages
At the very least you need to ensure you have profile pages on the local and social networks.
Hopefully you’ve already claimed your digital real estate on Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Local pages, and you’ve optimised the content with lots of links, photos and descriptions.
You should build similar profiles on the major social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as business portals and community niche sites. Go for anchor text links where you can, and use local keyword phrases for the link rather than just the URL.
Citations are defined as ‘mentions’ of your business name and address on other webpages, even if there is no link to your website.
An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but not linked to. It can also be a local chamber of commerce, or a local business association.
This factor is probably the least talked about but is considered very important for local search results.
5. Location Backlinks
Backlinks are links that are directed towards your website (also known as Inbound Links or IBLs). The number of backlinks is an indication of the popularity or importance of that website, and search engines give more credit to websites that have a good number of quality backlinks.
When you’re trying to rank highly for local search terms, quality links from other sites should contain ‘local’ anchor text where at all possible.
You should take advantage of any associations, chambers or networking groups as a potential home for your content and links. Also consider producing ‘guest columns’ for local publications, as well as work with your existing partners to develop local links back to your site.
So, what do you think?
Would you rather pay someone to generate leads for you each month, or would you prefer to spend some time optimising your own site?