5 Steps for Search Engine Optimization in a Local Area
Businesses that serve a small local area always want data down to their neighbors for their SEO. I don’t blame them, but unfortunately we can’t spy on our neighbors through their windows without having some legal problems. So we turn to our great internet search tools to find out what our neighbors are looking for and how they put it into words. PROBLEM! There isn’t enough data in Google for this area…
As a business that is pushing into the internet marketing world you have probably come across this problem when looking at a very specific geographical regions. I’m talking about towns, townships, small cities, and places where the town center may just be a post office!
We face this same problem with clients who sell to local cities and towns. Local search engine optimization tips are something our clients ask for. Here are the steps that I share with them.
Local Search Engine Optimization Guide
1.) Search the nation for insights
Go to the Google keyword tool and start digging through what the nation is doing (“local” represents your nation). Take the keyword terms that have brand significance for you and move on to step 2.
2.) Google Insights
Now you have some great keywords that you see opportunity with in the nation. Google Insights will let you focus on the geographic area you’re interested in, but beware it can only go to a level where data supports it. You might not get all the way down to the city, but maybe only the state. That is still better that just a national search.
3.) Add geographic terms to that list
So now we have a nice list of industry terms that relate to our product or service. If we add geographic modifiers that represent the town, city, county, etc. We’re off to a good start. However, we still don’t know the “exact” strength of these terms for the specific area. UGH!
4.) Use a larger city
Westerville Ohio may be too small to provide significant search data. However, Columbus Ohio could be provide that valuable data, or even Cleveland or Cincinnati. All well within the realm of Ohio, but yes, each city has its own language. Drawing insights from bigger cities close by is still better than just using national or global results.
5.) Setup a PPC account
This strategy is highly recommended by many digital marketing experts, however, it is not free. Also beware if the bids are too low – you may not be able to gather enough data to draw statistically significant conclusions. Creating a PPC account is quick and easy. Set the geography for exactly where you want. In this case, Westerville Ohio. Plug in your high level keywords, a budget, a spend rate for the day, and some of your best marketing copy (BONUS – Using A/B testing on ads will allow you to test you marketing copy for other areas of the website!). Turn it on and let the data come to you!
So you have a nice list of industry terms that you see opportunity with throughout the nation. You have used other Google tools to try to dig as deep as you can toward the city, town, or county. This includes even looking at neighboring cities that are larger. Finally, you plug these terms into a PPC campaign and you let Google tell you exactly what search queries people are entering to find your ad, and then click through to your targeted landing page. (We will discuss use of targeted landing pages later).
Take your PPC data and put it into a report. Hone in on the keywords that are powerful and focus on that in your content and meta data. You will also have powerful “negative keywords” which are terms that will only bring in junk traffic or people looking for something else.
I hope this helps you! We know it can be frustrating. Do you have any tools that you would call your “bread and butter” for this type of research?
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