Think Locally Part 2: Hyper-localize Your Online Presence
You’ve probably heard the buzzword “hyperlocal marketing” trending as of late. While the concept is nothing new, the use of hyperlocal marketing is growing rapidly.
Our last Marketing Corner post looked at how Nextdoor.com is expanding its neighborhood-based social networking hub into a hyperlocal marketing tool for businesses and service providers. But one social platform is merely the tip of a much bigger hyperlocal iceberg.
In a nutshell, hyperlocal marketing involves targeting prospects within a specific geographic area. Geotargeting your ads and sponsored social media posts are popular forms of hyperlocal marketing in action. However, those are most effective when you reach a consumer who is willing to engage with the post/ad and answer your call to action. In spaces oversaturated with ads, such as Facebook, this can be a challenge.
Be There When They Want You
People are busy. They have places to go and things to do. Yes, they’re probably scrolling through Facebook or Twitter along the way. But that sort of multitasking leaves little room for them to engage with the ads that pop up in their newsfeed. While it’s important they at least see your content scroll by, it’s even more important that they can easily find it when they’re ready.
According to Google, “near me,” or location-based searches have increased by as much as 150% over the last two years. These might include “financial planners near me” or “advisors in [city or zip code].” Google now lists local results over organic when returning the results of a search, just below the list of paid results. The higher a site ranks on these search results, the more traffic the site will receive.
So, how can you boost your site’s ranking? Because Google’s algorithm is in a constant state of change, there is no clear-cut answer to that question. However, there are several ways to optimize your page for better local results.
Best Practices for Local SEO
Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business page is a crucial part of boosting your SEO ranking. Setting up your page is free and fairly simple, but does require you to complete a verification process. Once you are verified, add relevant information to your page. Include your address, business hours, website URL, phone number, and business description. This information needs to be accurate, consistent, and honest. Google has cracked down on businesses that give false or misleading information. Any violations of these guidelines could result in your page being suspended.
Images can help drive search engine traffic, so you’ll want to include a handful of quality photos of your business. Use a good shot of the front exterior of your office as your cover photo. You should also include your logo, professional headshots of you and your team, and a few interior photos as well.
Keywords & Content
Your address should be included in the sitewide footer section on your website, as well as on your “Contact” page. If you post original content to your site (which you should be doing), localizing some of that content can also help boost local SEO rankings.
Incorporating localized meta descriptions, tags, and keywords into your pages and photos can also help your site’s local rankings. Just be aware that Google frowns upon “keyword stuffing,” so make sure to keep things relevant. You will also want to include a clearly and concisely written snippet of anchor text (the blurb that appears underneath your link on a search result), such as “[Insert business name], a certified financial planner in [insert city], specializing in retirement planning.”
Be Mobile Friendly
This almost goes without saying. Mobile searches account for roughly 60% of all online inquiries and that trend is expected to grow in the years to come. Additionally, Google and other search engines favor sites that are optimized for mobile over those that are not. Simply put, if your site is not mobile friendly, you’re going to lose business.
Local Review Directories
While the reviews and feedback posted to your Google business page will appear first and foremost in search results, there are several alternative review sites that you should look into. While these are geared more toward retailers and service industry businesses, they also have value for those working in the financial industry. Customer feedback, be it from these or any site, can be leveraged to help your overall search ranking. Just remember to be responsive and transparent when a client shares their feedback.
Overall, local SEO is more of an art than a science. This is especially true when it comes to maximizing your online presence to prospects in your area. Having read through the tips listed above now might be a good time to conduct a few localized online searches of your own. Whose business ranks higher? Yours, or the competition?