In a local market there can be plenty of competition. Specifically in a large city, you can only imagine how many pizza places, hair salons, dentists, lawyers, etc., there may be. Since what you offer is typically the same as your competitors, it’s important to ramp up your marketing in order to stand out. Offline marketing can still be effective for a local business, but as more people are searching online for local products or services, it’s important to have a positive online presence. Use these local online marketing tactics to stand out and differentiate your business from the rest:
1. Localize keywords to include in content
SEO best practice is to conduct keyword research on a national level first, and then localize the results. So, instead of targeting the very broad “dentist” you would target “Anytown Anystate Dentist” in the meta information and on page content since that is how people will be searching. It’s OK to target up to 3 locations (the city that you are actually physically located in and two surrounding cities) but you don’t want to target any more than that.
2. Go very local in a competitive city
If you are located in a very large city, like New York City or Chicago, targeting “New York City Dentist” isn’t the best option if your website is new and you are just getting started with SEO. Why? It’s still an extremely competitive keyword phrase, even though it’s localized. Instead, niche it down even further to the neighborhood, street, area of town, zip code, etc. and include this information in the meta information and on page content. The search volume won’t be as high, but you will have a better chance of ranking for these long tail keywords.
3. Activate local profiles
A local business should have a presence on every local profile site. The most important for SEO purposes is Google+ Local, but other important listing sites include Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Local.com, Merchant Circle, YP.com, Super Pages, City Search, and Yelp. Each of these listing sites allow you to include a link which helps link building efforts and helps drive traffic to your site. For any profile site that includes reviews, encourage happy customers to give your business a positive review. If people search for your brand, these reviews will pop up and can help (or hurt!) your online reputation. Therefore, they should be monitored at all times.
4. Get active in social
Many local businesses aren’t making the most of social media due to lack of knowledge, resources, time, etc. If you embrace social media and use it correctly to engage with followers you will have an advantage over the competition. Keeping in touch with customers, patients, clients, etc. via social media can lead to repeated business, loyalty, and referrals.