Optimizing Search Marketing to Boost Local Traffic

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No matter how successful your business may seem to you on the Internet, there will always be competitors who will easily overtake you in the search results if you do nothing. Therefore, to maintain results and improve them, you constantly need to work on boosting local traffic.

It goes without saying that local businesses must focus on optimizing their website for local search queries such as “{business type} near {location}” or “{business type} near me”.

GMB for Small Businesses

The technical term for this is “local SEO” and basically refers to strategies that help increase local traffic to websites organically (not paid), and it consists only of those visitors who have a strong purchasing intent. For example, if a company needs traffic only in a specific city, local SEO will help target visitors within a specific geographical area that your business operates in.

Here are some ways in which you can optimize search marketing to help you boost local traffic:

1. Targeting Profitable Keywords

Keywords basically refers to search phrases that your audience types in to search engines to look for something that they need. As a local business owner you need to ensure that you target certain keywords that are suitable for the service that you provide.

You will then use these keywords to include quality textual content within your website. The objective here is to rank your website on top of the search results for these profitable keywords!

How do you know which targets are the right ones for you? You can start by including the products/services you provide and the locations that you serve. For instance, lebanese restaurants in London could be a potential keyword if you offer Lebanese food in London.

Despite lower search volumes, local searches can provide consistent traffic to your site, which is much easier to convert into sales.

But how does one look for the right keywords to target? The answer is keyword research. Here’s a detailed article from Bright Local that explains how you can conduct keyword research for your local business.

2. Listing on Google My Business

boost local traffic with google my business
Google My Business listing is one of the best ways to boost local traffic. Credit: BusinessWebAdmin

This one here is a gold mine for local businesses! If your business is not claimed or added to Google My Business (GMB), you really are missing out on a ton of local search traffic.

Setting up and creating a GMB account is fairly easy. You would need to update all the relevant information about your business such as business name, physical address, contact number, the business category you operate in etc. This is a great way to communicate to Google the type of business you operate.

Upon successfully verifying the details, you business will also displayed on Google maps, which will further boost local traffic and your overall visibility online.

Though this doesn’t end here. Once you’ve set it up, you need to ensure that it’s continuously updated with posts relating to your business activities, offers etc. These posts will communicate to Google and make them relevant for specific searches.

3. Optimizing Website Content

Optimizing website content involves several key steps that would make sure they are geared towards ranking for local searches. If done right, they can boost local traffic and improve your exposure. These include:

  • regularly creating relevant content on your website – these can be in the form of videos, blog articles or infographics that addresses any problem that your target audience faces;
  • optimizing for on-site SEO such as updating title tags, heading tags, meta descriptions and image alt tags to align with the keywords you are targeting;
  • ensuring you have a dedicated pages for each service you offer and the locations that you serve;
  • updating the contact details to keep it consistent with all your citations online;

As much as this is a critical step to boosting local traffic, many business ignore them because optimizing website content is a continuous process. Our free website audit checklist will help you identify any issues with your content which can form a good starting point to optimizing website content.

4. Submitting to local directories and claiming citations

local citations directory
Some examples of popular local directories that you need aim at listing on.

This is the process of building a web-based reference to your business name, address and phone number which can have an effect on search engine visibility and rankings.

As we saw in point 2 above, Google My Business is the citation that has the most value and you should always begin with that. Additionally, there are other core structured citations that you can list your local business in.

The most popular ones in the US are: Acxiom, Apple Maps, Bing, Citygrid, Facebook, Factual, Foursquare, Infogroup/ExpressUpdate, Localeze, Superpages, YP and Yelp.

At the very least, each local business needs to create and manage an accurate listing on all of the above platforms, ensuring that they don’t have duplicate listings on any of them.

Then you have the geo and industry-specific citations which can vary depending on the locations you serve and the type of services you provide.

For example, hotels and other hospitality industry enterprises can get listed on the very popular travel review website, TripAdvisor.com. Doctors can get listed on a site like HealthGrades.com. Attorneys can get listed at FindLaw.com. General contractors, home service providers, and many other business models will be able to seek out professional/trade association sites on which to build additional citations.

Here’s a Google Sheet template that you can get started with to build local citations (download and save as a copy).

5. Request Ratings & Reviews From Clients

As a local business owner, you probably request for feedback from your clients so you can continuously make improvements on your service.

However, when it comes to boosting your online presence, its importance is only magnified as positive feedback is essential in the process of advertising and sharing information about a local site on Google platforms.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

And this couldn’t get any more true for reviews from your customers. You could either request for feedback manually or even automate this process to make it easier or better yet, incentivize customers to provide feedback. Positive reviews on both Google and Facebook can significantly boost local traffic and rank your business higher in local searches.

6. Optimizing Social Media Channels

It is hard to deny that we spend the lion’s share of our time on social media and it is highly likely that your potential customers are too. So it’s quite obvious that you need to optimize your social media presence to improve local traffic. But you would also need to have the right strategy is place.

The choice of social media channels that you use can matter a lot. For example:

  • LinkedIn is great for promoting B2B services and products, training courses, and informative resources;
  • Instagram is a great platform for brands selling popular and aesthetic products. Ideal for advertising clothing, cosmetics, and accessories;
  • Facebook is a fairly versatile tool that can be used to build brand loyalty, engage with customers, post updates and offers.

These channels have various requirements/options to optimize the profiles including the logo dimensions, cover photos, titles, descriptions etc. It’s important that you create a brand guideline that covers all of these aspects to ensure you maintain consistency throughout.

7. Building Mobile Responsive Websites

Most new visitors are going to come from mobile. This is especially the case for websites for local businesses because it relies a lot on location-based searches.

So you need make sure your website is mobile-friendly and that it is adapted to read or visit from a mobile phone. There are countless proof that that the growth in mobile traffic is surging compared to desktop devices.

8. Reaching Out to Relevant Blogs in Your Sector

To understand which marketing channels will help you increase your online sales, analyze your competitors’ activities. Finding out their main sources of traffic, you can significantly increase the traffic of your own web resource. For instance, if you’re noticing a large portion of visitors coming in from referred sites such as niche blogs, you could focus on publishing articles on those sites.

You could use a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs to analyze where your competitors are getting their traffic from. Accordingly, you could reach out to similar sites and publish guests posts or give them opportunities to include the link back to your website.

Note: The objective here is to include links relevant to your niche/industry. You should take measures to ensure you are not placing your link on websites that are spammy or unrelated to your niche.

9. Improve Site Speed

How fast a website loads can have an impact on your search ranking. One of the metrics measured for ranking is the bounce rate – the rate at which a visitors leaves the website without making any interaction. Ofcourse, lower the bounce rate the better.

Optimize your website to make it load faster on any device

But with a website that’s loading slow, visitors are more likely to leave them before it even loads up. Thus making it a strong case for you to have a website that loads faster and thereby boost local traffic.

Some basic steps to improve site speed include:

  • optimizing and compressing images and media content;
  • using lightweight plugins that are properly optimized and does not increase to the bloat;
  • use of a good hosting provider that provides enough resources to load the site faster;
  • use of a content delivery network (CDN) to manage efficient content loading globally;

Though there are several other aspects to improving site speed, these steps can be a good starting point.

Final Thoughts

As a local business owner, you might overwhelmed with what you’ve just read and we totally get that. It can seem daunting at the outset because you would need to set the foundation right.

However, you will eventually realize these benefits overtime and these will only exponentially increase. Optimizing your website is a continuous effort and with the 9 steps mentioned above, you will be assured that you do in fact have a strong foundation that will help boost local traffic.

If you’ve already got a website but not sure how to improve the online presence, do reach out to us and we begin by auditing your website and providing actionable steps to improve your website’s ranking and generate leads from it.

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