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Get Found Locally With SEO Geo-Targeting
The world wide web is a big place (that’s why it’s called “worldwide”), but if you actually conduct your business in the real world and not just online, you want customers in your local area to find you easily when they search for businesses like yours. This is why you need local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Geo-targeting (also called location-based SEO targeting).
Say you have an insurance business in South Elgin, IL. If customers in South Elgin search for insurance agencies near me or insurance companies in South Elgin, it’s important that your website is optimized with local SEO. Because if it isn’t, insurance agencies who geo-targeted South Elgin will show up in the search results, and your business might not show up at all.
To understand how to get found locally and how to geo-target your SEO, let’s take a look at:
- How GEO targeting works
- Local SEO best practices that improve your GEO targeting strategy
- Google My Business (GMB) listings
- Yext featured local listings
- A free business listing scanner that can tell you how your website and brand appears in local searches
GEO Targeting & Location-Based SEO
GEO targeting, sometimes also called “location-based SEO targeting,” is a way to optimize your website to target customers in your geographic area. Say you are a sandwich shop in Chicago. Your website content, including the underlying coding, might contain the location-based keyword string “sandwich shops in Chicago” or “Chicago sandwich shops”, etc.
If you’re a sandwich shop that relies primarily on takeout, and you only deliver within a 10-mile radius, anything outside that radius won’t be your main target market. So, you should narrow it down and GEO-target specific zip codes. Let’s say you are in Albany Park. You’d want keyword strings in your metadata that reference “sandwich shops Chicago, 60625.” You’d also want some variation of “sandwich shops near Albany Park” in the website headlines and body text. An example of a headline could be: “We’re a Chicago Sandwich Shop Serving Albany Park.”
What if you’re a sandwich shop business with multiple locations in multiple zip codes, not only throughout Chicago, but also in Elgin and Naperville? Then you’d want multiple landing pages designed so that customers in those specific locations and zip codes get search results for location-specific landing pages.
GEO targeting is also a great strategy when you create local ads tailored to specific locations. Say you’re watching a YouTube video in Albany Park and up pops a commercial for the very sandwich shop down the street. How does it know where you are? By the IP address of the device where you are accessing YouTube. And that the sandwich shop has ads that GEO target all the IP addresses within its service area.
Local SEO & GEO-Targeting Best Practices
Besides the use of location-based keywords in your website code and copy, there are additional local SEO strategies to improve your GEO targeting.
- Links (technically called “backlinks”) from other websites that contain relative local content, such as local charity you donate to, YouTube videos of your interior or exterior, news articles about your business, events you will have a booth at, etc.
- Pay-per-click ads that are specific to your location or service area, and of course link to your GEO-optimized landing page.
- Social media content that emphasizes your location and links to your website. Platforms such as Twitter allow you to attach a location to your posts.
- Repeat your contact information including the address and local phone number on multiple pages, not just the Contact page.
- Visuals and graphics that specifically reference your location such as a map or a popular place by you that locals will know.
- Create and keep up-to-date your Google My Business listing(s).
- Set up a Yext account and take advantage of all its features.
Let’s take a closer look at those last two.
Google My Business
Google My Business works in coordination with Google Search and Maps, one of, if not the, leading source for directions and a way many people search for local businesses. If you don’t already have a Google My Business profile, you need to set one up. In addition to a description of your business and hours of operation, you’ll be asked to complete information that is particularly useful to facilitate GEO targeting, specifically your location and service area(s). Make sure your specific town/city where you conduct business is mentioned in the Google My Business landing page title.
Yext is a listing tool to help customers find your business locally, regardless of what search tool they use. Unlike Google My Business, which is of course Google-specific, Yext listings are found across maps, mobile apps, voice assistants, search engines, GPS, and social networks consumers could possibly use to find your business.
In fact, Yext syncs to over 70 listings. Equally important as the number of listings, Google does not consider Yext as a link-building scheme, which it would ordinarily penalize a website with a lower search ranking. Yext is one of the few legitimate ways to buy links and not risk a search ranking plummet.
Want to see how your business appears in local search results. Try our free business listing auditing tool.
How To Improve Your Local Presence
Inconsistencies with your business hours, phone number, business name, among other variables, can be hurting you. If you aren’t ranking high in local search results, or worse, not showing up at all, you are losing business.
Since potential customers are more likely to click on the top three search results, local SEO and GEO targeting are essential to put your website and brand at the top of those results. Not just today, but every day.
So how do your web pages rank when it comes to local SEO and GEO targeting?