Digital marketers have long known that people want to do business with companies “near me.” This effect is especially powerful in service-based businesses. Even when a transaction will be completed online or by phone, “near me” is a phrase that consistently appears in search queries for businesses that provide specialized expertise or advice.
People may not need a resume writer, financial consultant, or virtual assistant near them, but they want one. There is an undeniable association between the proximity of a small or mid-sized business and how trustworthy it is. That trust, in turn, makes a purchase more likely.
Search engines like Google know this, too.
Over the last several years, changes in the Google algorithm have made the “near me” effect even more pronounced. While fine-tuning search to be more smartphone-friendly, Google has enhanced the visibility and ranking power of the businesses located closest to search users.
This means service businesses need a two-pronged search engine optimization (SEO) strategy:
Outside of a few industries – dining and hospitality are near the top – local SEO is often ignored in favor of an “organic-only” strategy. This is a mistake. Done right, the two can combine into a whole far greater than the sum of its parts.
What’s more, businesses that fail to take local SEO seriously will miss out on the chance to build relationships with nearby customers in favor of fishing for customers elsewhere in the nation ... who are also looking for options “near me.”
The Difference Between Organic and Local SEO
Local SEO benefits from many of the same tactics as organic SEO. You’ll want a strong base of helpful, informative content on your website to get the most from your local targeting. You’ll also need a strategy to accumulate links leading from other authoritative sites back to your own.
But local and organic SEO aren’t the same. Google looks for different signals to tell it how valuable a business is likely to be for customers within its service radius.
For that reason, a local customer can get a completely different set of search results or see results in a completely different order than someone in another state or region.
The key factors for local SEO are:
While it might seem simple enough to make sure your company’s address and phone number are up to date, getting attention from a search engine is never as easy as just having an orderly site.
Specialized digital marketing approaches are needed to report information, maintain your local listings, and persuade search engines that you provide the best services for potential customers.
That’s where a digital marketing agency like New York Avenue comes in.
Using the “Near Me” Effect to Your Advantage
The foundation of local SEO is taking possession of your local business listings from providers like Google, Bing, Apple Maps, and Foursquare. Once you’ve done that, though, there are still steps you can take to increase your appeal for customers in your neighborhood.
Consider these ideas:
1. Create Offers that Spark Repeat Business
Your local customers are the ones most likely to become the core of your repeat business. Offers, contests, and events targeted to their interests will have them beating a path to your door. Email marketing is a fast, cost-effective way to keep them updated on what you’re doing next. As brand loyalty develops, your existing customers will motivate their friends and family to give you a try.
2. Post Hyper-Local Content on Your Website
Hyper-local content is content written to the specific needs of people in your service area. For example, real estate agents could showcase content about what makes a home sell better in their area. Career coaches can talk about job market trends in their city. Not only is this content valuable for your customers, it also reinforces search engine perceptions about your location.
3. Incentivize Reviews from Local Customers
Another way leads learn about local businesses is by looking at customer reviews. Google shows review scores from its platform prominently, and the order in which Google Map results are sorted is partly based on reviews. When customers are happy with your work, ask them to share their opinions on Google and Yelp. That will help you stand out against your nearby competitors.
New York Avenue provides you with local SEO to put the power of the “near me” effect into your company’s fuel tank. With better local SEO, you’ll attract more new customers and create more brand advocates who add long-term value to your business.
To find out more or get started, contact us today.