Follow these 7 steps to increase your local website traffic and search engine rankings…
To grow your local website traffic and search engine rankings naturally, concentrate your marketing efforts on improving your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). What follows are key initiatives to help you attract more local business, e.g., increased foot traffic for a neighborhood hair salon, pizza shop, farm stand, etc., or increased emails and phone calls from prospective clients living or working near your office.
Claim, complete (and update regularly) your Google My Business account.
Important: When entering your information within your Google My Business account as well as throughout your website, make sure all contact information is exactly the same.
Your website will likely show up in more searches after you claim and complete your Google My Business account.
Use Structured Data, a.k.a. Rich Snippets, to drive more local traffic to your website. Hold on, it’s not overly complicated.
What is structured data? According to Google, Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page. However, you can provide explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google by including structured data on the page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. For example, if it’s a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on.
I’ll add that structured data is typically based on schema.org, an agreed upon vocabulary of code among the largest search engines.
When searching for a local restaurant on Google, you’ll often see results showing customer reviews, restaurant hours, prices, locations, etc. This is structured data in use. There are many reasons why structured data helps increase local website traffic.
Here are three key reasons to use structured data:
#1 — Provides searchers (your prospects) enough information about your business so they can make a decision without leaving the search page.
#2 — Visually enhances a website’s search results, helping your small business stand out more from competitors.
#3 — Reduces your website’s bounce rate by providing additional information about the benefits of doing business with you before a searcher clicks through to your website.
Brick and mortar businesses tend to use structured data. However, if you’re a consultant of any kind, spending time building structured data into your website is beneficial, since most of your competition isn’t.
A simple and first step is to host a testimonial/review page on your website, and then use structured data to market this page and help your business stand out more during a search query. You can’t pull third-party reviews into your structured data efforts. Only Google and other search engines can/will do that, and generally only from highly reputable and popular sources.
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Obtain inbound links from other local websites; e.g., if you’re an estate attorney, ask your influencers, such as financial advisors, insurance agents, long-term care experts, retirement communities, geriatricians, accountants, etc., to include a link from their website to yours.
This increased linking from other local and complementary professionals reconfirms to the search engines your location and naturally increases qualified local website traffic and overall visitors to your website.
RELATED: If you’re seeking to increase business referrals and partnerships with other business owners, then check out my latest eBook: Duplicate Yourself: Small Business Piggybacking & Partnership Marketing Strategies. Click the eBook cover to view the Amazon product page.
Focus on geographic terms within your website’s marketing copy.
> Financial Advisor based north of Boston, serving the communications of [town], [town], [town], as well as southern New Hampshire and Maine.
> Children’s consignment shop located in downtown [town, state], inside the ABC plaza next door to [insert popular store].
This step is similar to step four, yet expanded.
Determine several long-tail keyword phrases that encompass geographic terms that describe your business’ physical location.
A long-tail keyword phrase is three or four words in a specific order that your prospects search for when trying to find the products and services you sell. For example: financial advisor divorce OR Vegan Thai restaurant with delivery.
Geographic & Long-Tail Combined Example:
A visit to [city/state] is never complete without stopping into [your business name] for some [insert long-tail keyword phrase, e.g., homemade chocolate nut-free fudge].
Yoast does an excellent job explaining what long-tail keyword phrases are and how to determine them in their post: Why focus on long tail keywords?
Step six elaborates on their post.
Answer the following questions. By doing so, when you use your answers within your website’s marketing copy, your search engine rankings will naturally increase when your prospect searches for someone with the products, services and benefits that you’ve identified.
#1 — Who is your customer? If you have more than one, describe the differences between them.
#2 — What is the name of your customer, specifically their title(s)? How do they refer to themselves?
#3 — What are the top four or five products or services you’d like your visitors to know about?
#4 — What are the top three things (benefits) that distinguish you from your competition?
#5 — What “words” and “phrases” do you believe visitors are searching to find you? To quickly find out if your instincts are correct, use Google’s auto-suggestion feature, i.e., start typing into Google (slowly) and watch for what it suggests. If your terminology doesn’t auto fill, then more than likely your prospects are not using that particular keyword phrase. Don’t use this approach as a standalone, since it’s biased based on your past searching habits and location. A more detailed tool to determine your keyword phrases is Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.
#6 — Do you have any product or service niches you’d like to exploit; if so, what?
Publish a blog and include content that has a local focus wrapped around your unique product/service expertise and benefits. As an aside, blogging is a key service that I offer. Contact me when you need help with any steps discussed here.
Blog Example With Geographic Focus:
Let’s say you operate an Austin-based cleaning service. Use your business’ value proposition to set the foundation of your blog’s content. In this instance, our Austin cleaning company uses green cleaning products exclusively. Therefore, your blog content would focus on household or commercial green and environmentally-friendly cleaning tips.
However, to emphasize to search engines that you’re an Austin-based business, include helpful Austin event information within some of your posts to highlight your service area, such as Austin’s Earth Day events.
Special Note: If you come across others saying that you don’t need geographic keywords (since Google knows where a searcher is located), then read this excellent post from Search Engine Land: Google says we don’t need no stinking location modifiers… or do we? While the need for geographical terms may change over time, keep in mind that the following probably won’t change: when your prospect is reviewing results in any given search, yours will likely stand out more if they see the geographic local keywords. The presence of your physical location within your marketing copy reinforces where you’re located, increasing click-through rates from search results.
Additional Marketing Resources
#1 — If you’re operating a small business that thrives off of inbound phone calls, then increase your appointment closure rate by applying the strategies outlined in my special report: Book More Appointments from Incoming Calls.
#2 — If your business survives off of in-person appointments, then minimize cancellations due to bad weather by following the strategies outlined in my eBook: Small Business Marketing & Operational Strategies to Combat Severe Weather: Revenue Retaining Maneuvers for Brick and Mortar Retailers & On-Site Service Businesses.
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