Creating an SEO strategy for a local business

Working and relying mostly on business in the local area (whether it’s your local city and/or region) may make you feel as if the normal rules of SEO and online marketing don’t apply to you.

And perhaps you may even think its wasted effort?

However, no matter where you get business from, you CAN benefit from an effective online marketing strategy.

This guide should serve as a good base on which to build a steady, permanent stream of local business.

Funnel your reviews

Whether you’re getting your reviews on Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor or whatever, encourage your customers to leave reviews as much as possible. As an example, restaurants often may offer a small sample of food for customers to use, while they leave a review on a computer which has been setup for it.

Also, when anyone searches your brand name, it only adds to your reputation to also have pages of glittering reviews also show up!

Nail your on-page SEO

Now, contrary to belief, this doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. You could hire an experienced hand to do this, however, this is something that could be done in-house (with the right training).

Make sure you are targeting the right keywords (phrases that YOUR potential local customers would be searching on Google). And ensure its mentioned in the title of the page, the heading and sporadically (but naturally) within the content.

Your pages should also be interlinked as well, just to ensure the “link juice” flows through the website properly (more on this later).

Create great content

This is the key, key step which is often lacking in probably 90%+ of business websites and blogs out there. Make sure you are continually creating content that is any (or all) of the following:

Useful, informative, ground-breaking, funny, cool, interesting, or put simply – content whether its videos, articles, podcasts or whatever – content that people actually want to read and engage with!

There is no hard and fast rule on how to do this. However, you could get some inspiration from looking at competitors, or perhaps successful businesses from your industry (but from a major city).

If you create this content with passion and enthusiasm and your audience like it, you WILL be onto a winner – (maybe even get your employees involved as well!).

This then ties into the next part of the strategy (which is the key to allowing you to capitalise on the initial stages).

Building links

Now, once you have this great, useful, informative content – the next stage is to then partner up with other websites or blogs that would also find it useful. This is called link building.

For example, a law firm that specialises in immigration, could write a mega useful content piece about a particular visa type (maybe an article nobody else has written in such detail), and then with some effective email outreach, find some travel blogs where there is some overlap in the content and politely ask for a link. Another effective method would be to find other local law firms (that are non-competing) and ask for a link from them.

And even if you don’t have an exact overlap with your content, you could offer to guest post for other sites or blogs. What this means is essentially you would write a piece of content for them, to place on their site and in return they will link out to your business on the page.

If the content is truly valuable and useful to people, then people will link out to it. If the content isn’t useful, then you’ll find this part an uphill struggle.

Now, in order to build a sizeable amount of direct local traffic, you may have to reach out to a lot of local bloggers, local businesses, local associations, etc.

Due to the amount of manual work, you’d either have to train staff to do this, or just hire a reputable link building company.

And by improving your link profile – i.e. the quality of the sites who are linking out to your site, you will vastly improve how your site looks, in the eyes of search engines like Google. So continually improving your link profile in this way will both:

  1. Drive referral traffic – i.e. people that are clicking directly from that website onto yours. If they find your content relevant and useful to them, they should then hopefully become customers!
  2. Drive organic search traffic – the authority that these links transfer to your site are often termed “link juice”. In layman’s terms, links will make your site rank better. The more high quality, contextually relevant links you have – the more your rankings will improve. And of course, this will only send yet more traffic. And if you’ve targeted your local keywords effectively, you’ll be receiving plenty of local traffic within this.

Social media

Along with the SEO side, social media definitely shouldn’t be ignored. You can use this to create another platform for sharing your content. After all, a lot of people may not spend time browsing your site, but may prefer to look at your Facebook or Instagram account.

And if it’s suitable for your business, you could also use influencer marketing – which is particularly useful on a very visual medium like Instagram. You will probably need to provide some incentive for them to share your product/brand – whether it’s free product, a sponsorship fee or whatever. But, if they have a large enough social following which actively engages with their content, it will be worth it.

This obviously just the tip of the iceberg, and there are so many more specifics we could get into, but I wanted to keep  your attention and not bore you! Having said that, what I’ve shared here is an extremely solid strategy which in various permutations could be applied to any business – whether it’s a small local business or a large national corporation.

Provide value which your audience would find useful and then get it in front of this target audience – this will drive traffic, should drive up sales and (if you do it consistently and long enough) you’ll be able to create a constant stream of customers for your business for years to come.

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