Localized Websites Rank 80% Higher on Search Engines
If you’re like most small local business owners that build a website you probably got a big surprise. When you first posted your website you sat back and waited for the customers to start calling in. But, the phone didn’t ring. You went to your web designer and they tried to tweak your site to gain a higher position on Google, but you found yourself competing with the entire world. With over 153 MILLION websites on the internet, yours was more than just lost. It was “invisible”.
Most small businesses are very local in nature. If you’re a local plumber, contractor, or an attorney, trying to attract customers from across the country or around the world won’t do you any good. And even if you can take customers from anywhere in the world, many businesses would rather deal locally because it’s so much easier. Even major corporations, including Wal-Mart’s market at the local level to only those in each store’s trade areas.
But until the last few years, limiting your online marketing to your local community has been very difficult. There was no way to tell the search engines that your focus is a specific geographic area. But that has all changed with the advent of Google Places (used to be called Google Local Business Center), Yahoo! Local, and Bing Local all that has changed. Now, you can define a trade area, a radius, or even specific zip codes to market to without trying to compete with anyone else except those that also advertise in those areas.
Localizing your online marketing like this won’t stop your website from showing up in worldwide search results or keep people in Spain from stopping by and looking. But what it will do is make sure that when someone in your service area that searches Google (or the other search engines) for your product or service will show up ranked much higher with no additional effort. And, because of the lower number of “competitors” in the search, it is significantly easier to get ranked on page 1 of Google and even at the top of page 1. Your business will be listed in the local search results…which show up before the natural search results.
4 Step Online Marketing Plan
Your local online marketing efforts should focus on four distinct areas:
Step 1: Identify your ideal customer and develop customer profiles for them. Who are they? What are they looking for? When are they likely to look? How much will they pay?
Develop a customer profile. These profiles should include demographic information like sex, neighborhood, number of children, their job, how much they earn, etc. Profiles should also include what your customer wants when and why they purchase from you. Are they trying to relieve stress, solve a problem? Are they dealing with a fear, or are they trying to reach a particular goal? The more you know about who your ideal customer is and why they buy, the better you’ll be prepared to develop a solid online marketing program.
You may already know your customer’s profile. But, If you don’t, there are a number of good demographic databases available that can help you define and analyze your customer. And, why not use the power of the internet to help? You will be amazed at the amount of free information and data there is available on line, especially from professional demographic forums and government websites.
Step 2: Build a specific niche website that solicits a specific response, instead of one that is focused on your customer’s every needs and desires. You will fail if you try to be everything to everyone. Your overall website and every page should have a very clear goal and fit into your overall content development plan.
Step 3: Gain trust with your visitors and build loyal followers by developing content and products or services that serves your ideal customer’s needs and desires. Don’t always be selling something. Become the “local expert” in the niche you choose and provide free advice and information. The more you can get potential customers to return to your site for the “free stuff”, the more likely you will be that they will click through to your services and products when they need them. Also, try to capture as many visitors to your site as possible to build a strong list of candidates that you can provide information and ideas to them with occasional opt-in Email campaigns.
Step 4: Get found by your potential customers. It’s often referred to as driving traffic. I prefer to call it Local Business Market Dominance. This is the lifeline of any online marketing strategy. Local online marketing has advantages over national or worldwide online marketing. For example, you can utilize the local search engines like Google Places (used to be Google Local Business Center), Yahoo! Local, and Bing Local and place content in strategic places all over the internet. You can rank at the top of both Google local listings and their regular (organic) listings. The more people that find you, the more customers you will get. It’s all about numbers. Remember, 80% of all people searching for something on line choose from a business on page 1. And 70% of buyers purchase from a business in the top 5 listings. So, where would you like your website to rank?
Time to Focus
Whether you’re just starting your local online marketing efforts or you’ve been struggling with it for awhile now, we can help you refine your program and get you ranked on page 1 of Google quickly. In fact, most of our clients get there in less than 45 days.