So you’ve set up your online business, or a website for your store, and you have taken all sorts of measures for optimization. Your website is now visible in all the search engines, and the number of daily visitors has begun to inch upwards. Good for you! But wait a minute, aren’t you forgetting something?
What about being more visible locally? As you have probably realized by now, increasing footfall does not essentially translate into increasing business. People from the other side of the planet could be looking at your website, but how many of them would actually buy something from you? Your best bets, in fact, are the people in your locality and your city. They are the ones who actually have a chance of visiting your shop. Even if you provide online services, local people will find it easier to trust you as they know that you live within driving distance.
So how can you ensure that your website will show up in city specific searches, or will be more visible to local web users? Let me give you five easy tricks to optimize your website for local searches:
Every day, millions of people use Google to find area specific service providers, so leaving your Google Places profile blank could really prove expensive in the long run. If you have an art supply store in New Orleans, what use is all your SEO if you don’t show up in a search for “where to buy paintbrushes in Louisiana”? Your default profile in Google Places just has your name and address, which is not enough to attract the attention of visitors who are searching in your locality. Be sure to give all the information you can about your business in your Google Places profile page.
2. Add substance to your profile
So now that you have your Google Places profile, how can you be sure it is the most visible out of all the other websites providing similar services in the city? Use your imagination! Add pictures of your business and your products, using your city as a backdrop. Add relevant videos. You can even ask your current customers to provide reviews which you can post to your profile. Be sure to keep a few slightly less happy reviews as well, so that they look genuine and not made up. Also, you could consider providing discount coupons on your profile page, to give people incentive to visit you.
3. Make sure you are in the right category
Once you’ve added everything you can to your Google Places profile, you’ll notice a category tab. Be sure to fill that in accurately. If your business is selling homemade pies, it is not helpful for you to show up in searches for alcohol shops, especially if you remain invisible in searched for baked desserts. Add all the categories of services that you offer, but don’t add any fake categories. They will not generate any traffic for your site, and might dilute your visibility. This small step can ensure that you will be a part of the results of any broad, non-specific query that is relevant to your business.
4. Make sure your Website title has relevant keywords
If you own a hardware store site in Detroit, and you name it ‘The Dreams Come True Shop’, it might make you sound very clever and quirky, but remember, not only are random visitors going to be confused about what you sell, your site is not going to show up in any search for ‘hardware shops in Detroit’. Be sure to have relevant keywords in your website’s title. While it is tempting to go with unique sounding names, something like ‘Brown’s Hardware, Detroit’ will give you much better results. Don’t rely on the sub-title either, they don’t show up on many searches.
5. Your address should be on every page of your website
Google can identify you by your location much more easily if your address is highlighted in every page of your website. This ensures that you are visible in all relevant local search results. Moreover, random visitors can be assured that you are a local provider. If your shop has multiple locations or braches, make a unique landing page for each location, along with address and telephone number, so that you don’t miss out on any searches.
These steps will not cost you any money, nor will they take more than half an hour to complete. But they could make all the difference for your website to get relevant local traffic.