It was once said that on the Internet, nobody knows if you are a dog. At the same time, it used to be that the Internet was a placeless space where geography had little to do with a user's experience. Today, location-sensitive content is the norm on the Internet and, used properly, it can be a major driver of opportunity for your client's small business.
While the Internet might seem to be a great leveler, letting local businesses compete for customers on a global scale, you've probably found that local search and other tools that drive nearby customers to your client's door are becoming more and more important as a source of both leads and sales.
Ways to Localize Content
If you aren't fully leveraging this marketing opportunity, here are some ways that you can localize your clients' content and grow their business:
Localize Your Site.
Search engines have changed the way that they report results to realize that many users are searching for nearby content. They know that there's a good chance that when someone searches "roses," they're looking for nearby florist. While at one point, local businesses had to optimize for location based keyword strings, they are now getting a short at ranking for non-specific searches, just based on their location relative to the user. For this to work, though, your site must be written to attract local searchers.
Localize Your SEO.
One of the ways that search engines identify your local bona fides is to look to see how often your business's name comes up along with basic address and location information. The more that you can generate links from other nearby sites, the more likely you are to get the search engine results that can drive local traffic.
Embrace your locations.
More than ever, having a separate page for each of your locations -- or for each community that you serve from your single location -- is key to getting search engine results. If you serve San Francisco, Oakland and San Rafael but only have Oakland on your website, there's no way for local search algorithms to connect the dots to the other communities.
Make time for NAPping.
One of the keys to successful SEO is to distribute your NAP -- name, address and phone -- to the right places. The more that is is linked to your business' name in prominent databases, the more likely it is that you will come up in local search results.
Local Content for Local Search
Generating local search traffic isn't just about optimizing your site, though. It's also about providing content that is helpful to the local area that you search. If you sell the best cheese in Des Moines, you probably also know the top 7 places for a wine and cheese picnic in and around central Iowa. that kind of local content doesn't only drive eyeballs to your site. It also helps to establish a brand that engages local visitors.
Mobile Content for Local Search
Part of succeeding in local search is also to embrace mobile devices. Creating a responsive site is an important first step to ensure that your content works as well on the small screen as on a big screen. Since mobile users are social media users, putting time into building a social media presence to drive users back to your blog posts, videos and other content can help grow your presence. If you can tie your interactions to when a user is within walking or driving distance of your business, you can potentially even gain more business.
While Internet content marketing has been revolutionized by local search, in a way it also represents a gigantic step backward. The key to success today is to find a local niche, provide what it needs, and connect to it. It's both a cutting-edge marketing strategy and one that has worked for hundreds of years.