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by James Challis on 28th May 2014
Almost every business has started from a single location with local customers. With instant global access to a website, it’s easy to get carried away with creating a digital marketing strategy to attract everyone, however the developments in search have made targeting your local audience much more effective.
Local search is more important than ever and the benefits extend to industries beyond restaurants, hotels and shops with financial institutions and eCommerce organisations benefiting from a strong local reach. Many local start ups have become a success such as Facebook which built a customer base around its local population before going global.
Local customers are also more likely to trust a company that has an address nearby usually easier to serve. For instance, if you sell a product that goes wrong, it is likely to cost less to service, repair or replace that product in your local area than for customers who may be on the other side of the country.
Any new website that sells a product or service should start locally. This will help them to compete with more established websites as building the domain reputation and the number of good quality natural links to a site will take some time and without these it’s unlikely you’ll be able to rank competitively for relevant key terms. As with most start-ups, available capital will be in short supply so growing sales from the website to produce money that can be reinvested into the business is vital.
When attracting a local audience to a website, it doesn’t need to exclude users from outside the local area, the Technical SEO including Meta and the content produced as part of the strategy should always consider the future and help to build the foundations for a website that can compete nationally for future growth opportunities.
Another reason local search has become crucial is due to search snippets for some queries that take up almost the entire search results for Google, even on desktops. This search for “print” has no organic listings above the fold.
Like a local sports team, people are more willing to champion a local business that gives the local region a good image – word of mouth from these customers can really enhance any marketing strategy. If you are able to deliver a good service there’s a much greater chance people will sing your praises and tell others about the amazing local company that delivers a better service than the multinational with the expensive promotional campaign, leading to a highly effective endorsement with no direct cost.
Utilising the local population to connect and interact with the local business groups and communities in order to support and promote your new website. Using this as a base, a new start up can begin developing a following that will be of benefit as it grows into larger areas and markets.
Using these local methods can help in the early stages of building a social following on the major platforms where it can be difficult to encourage users to be the early adopters of your social profiles. Also with the development in Facebook’s graph search, which allows for local places and businesses to be searched for and reviewed, if you have gained a local following there is greater probability that the people who like your business are friends with others nearby and any relevant search results will give prominence to your business.
The advantages to local strategies also continue with the creation of content and PR opportunities. Good quality content that includes industry statistics or interesting research that is relevant to the local region is often unique as larger organisations would probably not undertake similar research and has a greater chance of being shared and publicised through local media outlets and the local population due to its relevance.
Local press often look for stories to promote good news about local area and are usually happy to include information on innovations, new businesses, growth and employment. These stories help promote trust in your brand, referral traffic and good quality links to a website.
Pay per click costs can be very high for businesses that promote products in a competitive sector and one major objective of a campaign for this type of business is to ensure the cost of conversions remain profitable.
Having a PPC campaign that targets specific locations is a great way to keep costs low and targeting search terms that are related to the local region can be a really effective method to control costs, if the search volume is high enough! Using location extensions also means that your local address should show for searches made by users near your business address and gives you an advantage over other businesses that aren’t close by.
Competition for relevant keywords for any major industry on Google is intense. A new website would find it difficult to rank nationally for a general keyword such as furniture store or even a long tail keyword such as double beds for sale.
Refining your target list of keywords to include a local area can provide the following benefits:
The devices we use to browse the web have also changed and the demand for visual and graphic search results is growing, including using maps to find a service. As search engines further develop ways to display these results, it is probable that location will be a major influencing factor in the future.
For more information on local search strategies, why not contact our friendly team today?
Street Map via BigStock Photo
Tablet and Smart Phone Navigation via BigStock Photo