Even if your company operates nationally or internationally, you can still gain advantages by investing in geo-targeted SEO. With local SEO, you can position your brand to gain more credibility among target audiences.
If your company’s marketing team is like most, they’ve integrated SEO tactics into their strategies. However, they might not be focused on geo-specific SEO. That’s a common oversight. It’s also one that’s worth correcting. Your brand can enhance visibility and reach new audiences by applying local SEO measures.
Engaging in geo-targeted SEO can make sense even if you’re doing business nationally or internationally. Remember that your global buyers all work and live somewhere and often look for products and services using the name of the closest city as part of their search. When your company comes up as part of that search, you’re in a better position than competitors to get a call — even if your headquarters aren’t close to the locality.
This is the true advantage of geo-specific SEO: It puts you in front of people with the highest curiosity or intent. Even if they’re not ready to purchase immediately, their search indicates a keen interest. If you only try to rank for generalized keywords, your brand might never get on their radar.
Does this mean you should immediately add local SEO keywords to all your paid and owned media, like PPC ads, landing pages, and blog posts? First, you’ll want to plot out the most effective ways to build your local rank and authority quickly and within your budget. Use the following methods as springboards to develop a framework to give your brand more visibility in local markets.
- Determine which geo-specific areas to target.
Optimizing for local keywords as part of your broader marketing campaigns can save you money. You just need to make sure that you’re targeting areas selectively. For instance, consider where the bulk of your current customers or clients are coming from. Is there a state or city that stands out? Alternatively, think about a region you’d like to enter. What are the biggest cities in that region? Compile a list of these areas.
Even though opting for local keywords for your PPC campaigns can be more budget-friendly, this may not be the case in larger markets like Los Angeles or New York. You may be better off choosing hyper-local SEO keywords, such as “Brooklyn,” “The Bronx,” and “Manhattan,” as terms instead of New York City.
- Create localized landing pages.
In coordination with your local PPC and advertising efforts, construct landing pages tailored to the local markets you are targeting. For instance, say that your company sells high-quality parrot food. You want to target Boston and nearby towns like Chelsea, Burlington, and Salem with your PPC ads on Google and Facebook. In this case, the landing page for the ads should correspond with the geo-targeted keyword so you have a strong local SEO component and include locally recognizable content or offers.
This is critical because when someone clicks on a local ad, the person expects to see locally recognizable content. Nothing turns off a potential customer more than clicking an ad for “Ford car parts in Nashville” only to find a product page for car parts available in Seattle. Even if they can purchase the parts online and have them shipped from Oregon to Tennessee, the disconnect can be a turnoff.
- Try to talk like locals do.
As local SEO services professionals will tell you, there’s a secret to making geo-specific content go from so-so to great. The secret is in using terminology that “speaks” to the reader. Do some research, whether you’re constructing a localized ad or a gated landing page. Find out what people call their towns and the words they use.
For instance, did you know there’s a huge variety in how people refer to carbonated soft drinks? People from the South usually use the word “Coke.” However, people in Nebraska may say “pop.” While these may seem like quaint colloquialisms, they are important for resonating with local audiences. Be sure to conduct just a touch of homework, so you understand dialects, regional word variations, and common catchphrases. Adding them correctly to your SEO-heavy content can help you attract positive attention.
- Scale your geo-specific efforts slowly.
Because local SEO might be something your marketers haven’t tried before, encourage them to start small and ramp up gradually. They need to track and measure each geo-specific effort to ensure it produces results. SEO can require time to yield results; thus, patience is advisable. It’s not an overnight process.
Along these same lines, always monitor what your competitors are doing locally. Check out their website sitemap (this can be done manually or with the help of software) to see which places they’re targeting. Not only will you get insights into their marketing plans, but you may also get some good ideas for other cities to focus on.
The more credibility you can gain online for your organization, the easier it will be to boost your brand recognition, lead generation, and sales. With local SEO, you can ensure you’re not overlooking markets or opportunities as you expand your reach.
Written by Greg Walthour.
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