For local businesses and organisations, forming a national and/or international digital marketing campaign is pointless. What is the point of reaching out to someone in Newcastle if you can only serve customers in Southampton? Because of that, if your marketing is reaching areas outside of your remit, you are wasting money and resource that would be better spent elsewhere.
While online marketing does mean that you can place your business or organisation in front of the eyes of the world at the click of a button, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is productive – especially if you are still not reaching local potential customers. Localised SEO can be complex, but the principles are simple – worry not about the wider audience, focus on what is on your own doorstep.
What Should I Do First?
The first thing is to ensure that anyone that finds your website knows where you are. If you are only able to serve the city of Southampton, then you need to make it clear on your website that this is where you are based.
Having your address clearly visible on your website is important. Plus it should always be in the same format. This way, any directories that list your organisation will use the correct address and synchronise on the World Wide Web. This also ensures directories to pull the correct information.
For example, pros recommend that businesses take control of their Google My Business account and place all of their contact information accordingly. This means that your address and contact details, as well as links back to your website are on the results.
Once your contact details clearly show where in the world you are, you want to give yourself the best opportunity to be visible. Especially by potentials looking for your services in your area. For example, a primary school website will be looking to rank well for ‘primary school [insert town or city]’ – you can click here to learn more about what other features work well.
This does not mean stuffing your keyword in every sentence as it simply will not appear natural and Google will penalise your website for spam. If your primary keyword is ‘primary school Southampton’, you should look to space it out and vary its use.
Which excerpt of text do you think will rank better on Google?
“Billingwoods Primary School is highly regarded as one of the finest primary schools in Southampton, offering children a fantastic Southampton primary school setting in which to learn, laugh and play. The school board, here at Billingwoods Primary School in Southampton, is proud of all its teachers and students, who all agree that we are one of the finest primary schools in Southampton.”
“Billingwoods Primary School is highly regarded as one of the finest schools in the city. As one of the leading primary schools in Southampton, we offer children a fantastic setting in which they can learn, laugh and play. The school board is proud of all of its teachers and students, who all agree that we are one of the finest primary schools in the area.”
If your answer is example two, then you would be correct. The opening example features no less than four instances of the keyword in the space of 62 words. This means that keyword placements appear forced and do not read well. The best rule of thumb for content and keyword placement is if the user doesn’t like it, then Google probably won’t, either.
Feature in the Community
If you really want to reach out to an audience in your local area, then it only makes sense to build a link profile containing backlinks from other localised websites. Reach out to websites in your niche and location to feature you.
Good websites to reach out to include:
- Local news
- Tourism sites
- Events pages
- Other local businesses (potential partnerships)
Building links from other websites in your neighbourhood, as it were, will create a natural and diverse link profile, as well as generating good exposure to a targeted audience. Featuring on websites that focus on your specific location will only increase your search relevance, therefore placing your website higher up the rankings for localised search terms.
Quick Wins with PPC and Facebook Ads
If your digital marketing budget allows for it, expanding your campaign to accommodate PPC and Facebook Ads will do wonders for localised search. If you are unfamiliar with how PPC and Facebook Ads work, then allow us to explain:
PPC (Pay Per Click) represents that listings at the top of any Google results that are marked as ads. These are paid advertisements, managed via Google AdWords, which advertisers pay to be shown, bidding for the highest position for a given keyword or phrase.
Unlike organic listings (normal results), PPC adverts can be targeted based on a specific location, giving the advertiser the ability to only allow for their advertisements to appear for users with an IP address in their targeted location. This, in theory at least, maximises the effect of the listing.
All social media networks have the ability to purchase advertisements. Facebook is by far and away the best in terms of value for money. Just the same as AdWords, Facebook Ads can be locally targeted while also offering a range of other target filters that are useful to the advertiser. Some of the filters include:
- Relationship status
As you can see, you can clearly define the audience that you wish to target on Facebook. This then allows the advertiser to tailor advertisements in greater detail. This goes for whether you want to bring users to your site or build an online community. Facebook’s algorithm allows campaigns to achieve separate goals, giving advertisers full control.
While you can expect quick wins through either method, you should only use these to get the ball rolling. Because you look to build your search visibility organically via an SEO campaign. Once you have established yourself, you can begin to use PPC and Facebook Ads. These can be for seasonal offers and other points of interests that your business is keen to push.
Building your online presence takes time and a lot of hard work. However when you clearly define your target audience and focus your time and money into the correct areas, you will benefit from greatly improved performance before you know it.