How to Dominate Local Search with Inbound Marketing
In many companies’ quest to heighten their relevance, they often forget to dominate local search, focusing more on global or national marketing. Usually, it’s because it can get especially challenging to focus on local searches, given that they may require pulling more specialized strings and the audience is a lot smaller. After all, why focus on a small geographical location instead of going big when the internet provides so much access to the rest of the country and the world?
But ask any digital marketer with inbound marketing experience: local searches matter a lot. Inbound marketing typically has many strategies to net a company more conversions and sales. As you look through them, you’ll notice that local searches are always part of the conversation. There are simply too many advantages for leveraging local searches to overlook them, especially if your goal is to elevate your brand’s visibility and create more conversions.
Go Big by Going Home: Why You Should Dominate Local Search
To understand why local search results matter, you have first to consider the basics of SEO. Simply put, search engine optimization for any website deals with the factors present in a website that make it rank higher on a search engine like Google. People who are looking through search engines for answers want their solutions at the soonest possible time.
And online, people have short attention spans (roughly .5 seconds on a page). As a result, they typically only glance at the top three to five search results on a page when they type their query in. This means that if your company, product, or service isn’t in that top-ranked position, the search engine won’t direct people to your site, and thus you miss out on conversions.
When you dominate local search, you need to utilize SEO to redirect a customer to your website by helping it rank higher on search results. Optimization takes everything into account—the kind of content you have on your site, the keywords found within your content, the titles, meta descriptions, and more.
A search engine’s algorithm looks into these different qualities and factors in a website to determine how relevant they are to the user’s query and rank it accordingly. The better your site ranks on SEO, the more customers will see it and thus be brought to your site to see your products and services.
But why is this relevant? How do you dominate local search this way?
One of the most significant “weights” that an algorithm uses to verify a page or business’s relevancy is its location. Consider what is referenced as the “Google 3-pack”:
This is widely considered in inbound marketing and SEO as the “best real estate on Google.”
- It refers to the extra box on top of regular search results, featuring the Google Map and the top 3 local businesses relevant to the user query.
- Only three local businesses get to show up on this box. It’s the first “result” that the user sees and thus where the most attention goes.
Why does this matter? The 3-pack is virtually the answer that users are looking for, and they are all local businesses. The geographical location of a business or a service matters here, so if customers within a specific region are looking for a nearby product, service, or establishment, these results will appear first.
This is why it’s critical to dominate local search and place geographical keywords or markers for your business. If your business is within the area, customers will find it instantly, and your company becomes their first, second, or third choice. If you’re close enough, they may even drive straight away to your location instead of simply browsing online as well. The potential for conversion is substantial. Now, more than ever, inbound marketing can get you on that coveted 3-pack spot or more visible to the potential customers within your local region.
Remember that Inbound Marketing itself is a customer-focused approach. Your goal is to drive the customer to your site and focus on your answers to their problems. This begins with relevant, valuable content that simultaneously advertises what you have in store for them. Part of the relevancy game is to open accessibility—that’s what local search will do for you. And from then on, inbound marketing should work with optimization to draw the customer closer to a transaction.
Lay of the Land: Dominate Local Search with Inbound Marketing
Here are some ways local search optimization and inbound marketing can get you more hits, leads, and conversions.
Content remains king. Have plenty of it!
The central pillar for inbound marketing strategies is to use the content. Timely, relevant content can come in blogs, updates, social media posts, and more. The key here is to use this significant building block of marketing on various platforms. With the correct geographical targeting peppered throughout your content, you can laser-focus the search results to look towards you.
Say you have a car repair business in Daytona, Florida. Putting in the location among your keywords as you build content on multiple platforms is especially important if you want to dominate local search. The keywords establish your business’ location, and it gets noted by search engines. It verifies that this is your business location and will make your business more visible for users or searchers who are looking for car repair services in Daytona specifically. It may even go as far as to make your content visible to people around the Daytona area.
Ensure that your Google Business Listing is updated.
Another central point in establishing your local search area is to make sure Google always knows about it. Having a Google Business Listing is critical to ranking locally as these listings feed directly to Google’s built-in algorithm for local searches along with the Google Map. If you don’t have a Google Business Listing, it’s highly advisable to put one out immediately, pinning your location on the map and establishing your local area.
This not only emphasizes where you are to Google (and thus making the rest of your inbound marketing content relevant to local searches), your business will also now begin to rank locally on searches. If your page gets high enough or utilizes SEO well enough, you might even start to appear on the Google 3-pack discussed earlier.
The more, the merrier: write about complementary local searches.
It’s not enough to just mention that your business is located in a particular area. Part of your inbound marketing content should discuss complementary services to yours. It keeps everything on your page relevant to your area and at the same time proves that you know your surroundings, improving authenticity.
For example, if you’re running a business selling HVAC systems, you might want to mention someone who does cleaning and maintenance for these systems located within the area. Linking to them and bringing similar (but not competing!) businesses into your content continues to populate your site with valuable information that customers will find critical to their needs.
This results in more traffic and authority in your website, causing it to rank higher on local searches. Furthermore, it creates goodwill among the other local businesses around you, leading them to bring you more potential business in the long run when they redirect customers to you right back.
Keep it local with the industry news.
In line with the previous point, you also want to write about local news, especially if it also ties into your local industry. Part of inbound marketing is constructing a system of relevant, interconnected articles that can be linked to one another, so writing about local news, events, and industry reports will help keep your content updated, informative, and most of all, relevant to the surrounding area.
If you’re running a party supplies store, you might want to talk about the significant events around you, such as Fourth of July parties, celebrations, and other similar items. If you’re selling locally grown produce, you can post updates about agriculture in the area, what fruits and vegetables are in season, and what farmers say about the harvest. This ties all your content together.
Try to tell a story.
As mentioned in the previous point, you want to bring up local matters and news as part of the inbound marketing campaign. When you set out your content campaign, however, try to tell a story along with it. Customers love reading about stories and anecdotes—they typically don’t like reading things that might be too technical or dry.
Make a blog post about your local business and an event that it recently participated in. You can also talk about what goes on behind the scenes of your company. It humanizes your company, making it more relatable and encourages people to support your business.
If you’re looking for sources on some excellent storytelling, look no further than your customers! If they have positive experiences with your services or experienced success through the use of your products, you might want to give them a good feature on your website or your social media platform. The power of a good review can’t be underestimated—potential customers prefer to hear from people who have experienced using a product or a service first hand before they make a purchase themselves.
Through inbound marketing, you can create a triple threat: a glowing review of your service through a customer success story, a great piece of storytelling to add great content to your site or your platforms, and you build a valuable rapport with the rest of your customer base by showing how much you appreciate them.
Keep it moving with mobile.
Lots of businesses may overlook the mobile aspects of their websites. A significant percentage of customers now browse or do their searches through their smartphones and not a computer. It’s even more critical for customers to find local results when they are on the move and actively looking for a solution near them.
Businesses, therefore, need to ensure that their websites are optimized for mobile, easy to see and use for customers browsing from that platform. Ensure your listing has directions, landmarks, and marks where your local area is so mobile users can find you.
Reaping the Glories when You Dominate Local Search
By utilizing inbound marketing and SEO to strengthen your position on a local search, you also strengthen your online presence altogether. Your visibility among customers in your local area increases, and with that comes visibility in surrounding areas as well. Soon, with a presence large enough, it spills over to a more excellent online image in general.
Along with this comes better rankings in Google maps. People rely heavily on Maps to find directions, nearby resources, and solutions that they can easily reach from home. With a robust online presence, your business can shoot to the top, thanks to the many visitors heading over to check things out.
The traffic to your website is also of higher quality than before. If you find that you have significant traffic but not many conversions, it may be because customers are looking but are not interested in buying. But when you dominate local search to answer a common problem, you get more traffic from customers who are much more interested in buying from you. And it’s not just online—your physical store’s foot traffic will increase as well. Now that people know where you are and how to find you and a local business that they can easily reach, they will go straight to your store to get what they need.
This leads to overall higher conversions, better customer loyalty, and increased relevance to you and your brand.
Loco for Local Searches
Don’t underestimate what inbound marketing can do for you, especially if you use it to dominate local search. When everyone is looking for quick solutions to their problems that are more easily accessible, you want them to know that you are nearby and ready to help. It’s a win for your business and the customer and establishes a strong foundation for your brand online.
Has targeting locals changed the way your business works? What steps have your businesses taken to address local searchers and their concerns? Let us know in the comments below.