The internet might be a global phenomenon but it also offers exciting opportunities for targeting a local audience. For small business this makes it one of the most valuable marketing tools at their disposal. Unlike traditional advertising the internet enables a business to engage with its customers on a personal level, without the hard sell that risks alienating them. Effective local SEO techniques make it possible to communicate with customers in a whole new way – informing them, even entertaining them, and delivering content they find useful.
With more and more people now using the internet as their first line of enquiry when searching for local products or services, small businesses need to ensure they feature prominently in search results for their area. Hiring an SEO agency to help them achieve this might just be the best investment in marketing they can make because it can deliver thousands of new sales and help build a loyal customer base for future business growth.
Reaching out to the customer
The services of a good digital agency are not just suitable for businesses operating in large towns and cities – they can be equally effective for those whose customers are spread over wider rural areas. Handled effectively a local SEO campaign reaches customers when they are at their most receptive – relaxing at home and browsing the internet for information. This is an audience that is actively looking for a product or service. The trick is to ensure they find your business.
Fortunately there are many SEO opportunities available to small businesses – and a lot of them are free. The major search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo, offer free listings in their local business pages so submitting a business profile to them all should be a priority. Good SEO will back this up by optimising the site for its location. This includes ensuring that the town’s name features prominently in keywords and Meta data, adding a location map to the site and providing clear address details on the contact us page.
Engaging a local audience
To fully engage with an audience, however, a business needs to be active in the internet environments their customers visit. Social media such as Facebook offer great opportunities for reaching out to people but only when it adds value to the user’s experience. No one wants to be sold too in a social environment, but people do respond to local business pages that engage them with interesting or entertaining information or enable them to be one of the first to hear about a new product or special offer.
An active presence on relevant review sites is also important. Customers can be encouraged to write reviews and the business itself can respond to them to demonstrate its commitment to good service. It will also pay to forge links with other local sites, directories and blogs which customers are likely to visit. SEO is all about getting to the top, and no opportunity for achieving this should be overlooked