Now that we have looked at ways to prepare your social media marketing, content marketing, and search marketing for the new year, we’re going to round out this series with one more critical area of online marketing. In this post, we’ll look at ways to make sure your local marketing is ready for a successful new year.
Review Your On-Site Local Optimization
First off, you will want to make sure that your on-site local optimization is fully up to date. Here are the things you will want to check.
- Do you have your address and phone number on every page of your website? For businesses with only one location (or a website dedicated to each physical location), do you have your current address and local phone number on every page of your website in text vs. an image? Remember that search engines can’t read images or Flash, so your address and phone number need to be text based.
- Do you have a page on your website for each physical location of your business? For businesses with multiple locations and one website, you may not be able to include every address and phone number on each page of your website. In this case, you’ll want to have an individual page for each physical location of your business. Make sure that these pages have unique content plus the address, phone number, and map of each location.
- Are you using localized anchor text? If you are a dentist in Los Angeles, you have lots of localized keyword phrases to choose from when you are optimizing your website and link building. Be sure to use them and not just generic keyword phrases. Also consider using suburbs and nearby city names in your anchor text if you want to attract customers from those locations as well.
Create and/or Update Your Local Search Profiles
Next on the list of local marketing is making sure your local search profiles on search engines (Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local), directories, and review sites (Yelp, Merchant Circle, etc.) have been claimed and are up to date.
- Have you created / updated your Google+ local page? In case you missed the big news in 2012, Google Places was replaced with Google+ Local. If you haven’t had the chance, make sure that your business has a local page on Google+ and that it is fully updated as this is one of the best ways to get higher up in local search results.
- Does the address and phone number in your local search profiles match the one on your website? If you’ve changed addresses or phone numbers in the last year, be sure that those are updated on both your website and your local search profiles.
- Do your listings have a current photo of your business? If you’ve remodeled, repainted, or moved locations, make sure that the image on your local search profiles matches the new look or location. This is especially important to help potential customers easily find your business.
- Do your listings have the correct website address? If you’ve changed domains, make sure that is updated on your local search profiles as well. Sure, you probably have a redirect in place, but having the direct link correct can help Google match your website with its local citations.
- Have you claimed your listings beyond the main directories? There are tons of local directories and review sites – so many that it is almost impossible to find them all and claim them yourself. Services like Universal Business Listing can help your business get listed just about everywhere that matters and keep your listings up to date down the road.
Utilize Social Media Locally
Local search is not just about on-site optimization, local profiles, and link building. Be sure to use your social media to attract a local audience as well.
- Target social ads by location. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have great targeting options, including ones to target by location. Create specific ads directed to people in your bestselling regions – direct them to local stores, link to local sales flyers, and more.
- Help fans worldwide find you locally. Facebook is one of the few social networks that allows you to have custom content on your page via the tabs. Use these to create local content for your bestselling regions or use them to help fans worldwide find the nearest physical location of your business.
- Create localized content. If you have one account on Pinterest for your business, you can create different boards with local content for your followers. This will help new followers of your business discover that you have many locations (potentially near them) as well. You can also do something similar using different albums on your Facebook page.
- Allow check-ins. If you have set up your Facebook page as a local business and created a Foursquare account, you can encourage visitors to your business to check in. Since people’s check ins are generally shared with the friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter, it’s the perfect way to encourage word of mouth marketing.
- Create local circles. If your business has many locations but only one main Google+ page, you can still connect with local audiences by organizing your followers into circles by location. This might be a tedious task, but it can help you target messages to followers in specific regions.
Find Local Link Partners
Photo Credit: Judy Baxter on Flick
Link building can be made even simpler with the right connections. Here are ways to build those connections locally.
- Reach out to local business partners. If you work with local vendors or suppliers, reach out to them to see if they would be willing to link to your website from theirs. They may expect you to do the same which is fine since they are relevant to your business.
- Join your local chamber of commerce. One great way to make great business connections is to join your local chamber of commerce. There are business people who will be happy to recommend your business via word of mouth and on their website once they’ve made a personal connection with you.
- Attend local networking events. Another great way to make local business connections is to attend local networking events. While you might be tempted to just attend the largest events, note that the best real connections are made at smaller, more intimate events.
- Sponsor local events and charities. Through your local networking, find out if there are local events and charities you can work with and sponsor. Many list their sponsors on their websites (with links).
- Look for additional local link building opportunities. When looking for local link building opportunities, look at your local competitor’s backlinks along with other local resources such as online local news sites with directories, blogs, etc.
What other ways are you preparing your local marketing for 2013? Please share in the comments!