Get Found Locally
The world wide web is a big place (that’s why it’s called “world wide”), 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.
Say you have a plumbing business in Chicago. If customers in Chicago search for plumbers, it’s important that your website is optimized with local SEO. Because if it isn’t, plumbers with local SEO for Chicago show up in the search results, and your business might not at all.
To understand how to get found locally and optimize local SEO, let’s take a look at:
- How GEO Targeting works
- Local SEO practices to improve GEO targeting
- Google My Business listings
- Yext listings
- A free business listing scanner that can tell you how your website appears in local searches
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 shop Chicago”.
But if you’re a sandwich shop that relies primarily on takeout, you probably aren’t serving the outer boroughs, or at least they aren’t your target market. So, let’s narrow it down to a specific zip code. Let’s say you are in Albany Park. You’d want keyword strings in your metadata that reference “sandwich shop, Chicago, 60625.” You’d also want some variation of “Chicago sandwich shop, Albany Park” in the website headlines and copy. 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 Minneapolis, Minnesota? 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 technique to create ads tailored to specific locations. Say you’re watching a YouTube video in Albany Park, Chicago and up pops a commercial for the very sandwich shop down the street. How does it know where you are? By your 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 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. These include:
- Links (technically called “backlinks”) to other websites that contain local content, such as business organizations, YouTube videos, newsfeeds, fairs and events
- Ads specific to your location that of course link to your website
- Social media content that emphasizes your location and links to your website
- Repeat your contact information on multiple pages, not just the Contact page
- Visuals and graphics that specifically reference your location
- Update your listings in Google My Business
- List on Yext
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, 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 (Global Positioning System), 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 get links and not risk a search ranking plummet.
Want to see how your business appears in local search results. Try our free Yext 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?