Pretend your new client is an at-home cleaning service. Called “Jane’s Superstar Housecleaning,” this small business operates in the Denver, Colorado area. Do you know the best way to market their services?
A few years ago, if you searched for “house cleaning” you’d get a list of services from all over the country – maybe even the world. But if you live in a suburb of Denver, you’re not going to be interested in housecleaners who operate in California, New York or anywhere else outside your local area.
Local Search Today
Google has come a long way since then. Today, search results are heavily influenced by the geographic location of both the business and the person entering the search. If you’re not optimizing for local search, your brand might not be found – even if the potential customer is right down the street.
Search results today include maps and directions. This is especially helpful for mobile users. People will often use their smartphones to search for physical locations, usually when they’re already traveling around town.
Who Benefits from Local Search?
All companies need to implement local search to some degree. But the companies who will really benefit from local SEO are those who provide a service across a local area, such as the metro area of a city.
When you focus on local SEO:
- You’ll no longer be competing with similar companies around the country, whose services are irrelevant to your potential customers anyway.
- People tend to trust their neighbors. Your potential customers will find reassurance in the fact that you’re a local business operating nearby.
- Your SERP will improve. The more Google associates the products or services you provide with your geographic location, the higher up you’ll appear in the results page.
Creating a Local Search Strategy
Optimizing your pages for local search does mean a bit more work up-front. But this work will be worth it in the long run. Local strategies are probably the most effective use of your time.
To optimize effectively, you’ll need to know:
- Who your target audience is, where they live (in general) and what they’re looking for when they shop for the product or service you provide.
- Who your competition is, how they market themselves locally and how the product or service they provide differs from yours.
You can then use this information to create a plan of action. First, you’ll need to structure your content to include a variety of terms describing your product or service as well as a variety of terms related to the relevant geographic locations.
You’ll want use two types of terms: service terms and geographic terms. For instance, create landing pages sprinkled with the terms “housekeeping,” “maids,” and “home cleaning service.” At the same time, you’ll also want to use geographic terms and nicknames such as “Denver,” “the Mile High City” and “Broncos Country.” Search engines will pick up on all these terms. The idea of what service you provide in what area will be very clear to the search algorithms.
Local Search: What was Old is Now New
In the pre-internet days, when a customer wanted to find a service provider, they’d turn to the phone book. Any business you found there would have an address, so you could reasonably tell if they provided service to your specific location. The downside is that a phone book listing, or even a phonebook ad, didn’t provide a lot of information.
With local search optimization, you get the best of both worlds. Your customers can easily find service providers in the local area. Done correctly, the search won’t even need to include geographic terms. They can simply enter “housecleaning services” and Google will know which geographic areas are relevant.
At the same time, a webpage provides a ton of useful information on the service provided. Your website content can convince your customers that you’re the right choice. So focus on local SEO as much as possible. After all, business success starts at home.