Introduction to Local Search Placement (2014)
When it comes to marketing a small business that deals exclusively with a local audience, the most powerful strategy is local search placement.
Start with an effective website
Because an underperforming, stale, or outdated website just isn’t ready to be marketed. This is your home base. Online marketing is all about getting traffic to your website, but if your website doesn’t convert then it would be a waste of time and energy.
So be sure to maintain domain and brand authority in a positive way that is user-oriented. (More focus on interaction and engagement, less “SEO tricks” like micro sites and PageRank manipulation.)
Also… your website has to be responsive.
Sorry but this is not an option. Tablets and smartphones are used more often to browse the net, and if your website is not mobile friendly then it will lose visitors out of frustration. Don’t worry, your competitors will have already adopted to this technology…
Clean up your local directory listings.
There’s a small chance you still need to claim a listing. (Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook Local, etc.) If you already have access… even better! Be sure to verify the correct contact information, address, etc.
Then… add the goodies for a better ranking in search results. Adding pictures or other media, special offers, and as much information as possible will show that your business is active. You shouldn’t have to encourage customers to “check in” when they visit your business… chances are that they are already trying to. (Seriously, this is a major addiction for some people.) If you have a restaurant especially then your customers are already advertising with Instagram-ed pictures of your food.
If it’s not easy to check in at your location, you are missing out on some great publicity. So be sure to claim, clean up, and customize your local directory listings.