Local Search Engine Marketing – first of all, what is it?
Local search engine marketing pretty much does what it says on the tin! It is a method of marketing your business in search engine results for localised user search queries. It helps businesses with a physical location or locations to target users who are performing ‘near me’ type searches or searches with geographic modifiers such as ‘in London’ or ‘in Hammersmith, London’. Local search engine marketing can also sometimes be referred to as local SEO. However, it can be more than just optimisation and this is where the term comes from. Effectively, it is a type of marketing that aims to increase the visibility of your business in relevant local search results.
What does it involve?
Local search engine marketing involves many different methods, techniques and aspects. Here are just a few:
- Online citation building. The more platforms your business is listed on, the more users it will reach. List your business on all the main platforms where your potential customers are searching, especially Google My Business. Other great places to list your business include Facebook, Yelp, Bing, Instagram and Whatsapp. A local or hyperlocal marketing tool, like Vicinus, with a strong network of partners, can help you out with this. This kind of platform can also help you with your ongoing listing management in order to keep your consumer-facing information accurate and consistent across all these platforms and for multiple listings. Accuracy and consistency are two very important optimisation factors when trying to rank in local search. This is because they have a big impact on your business reputation and a customer’s trust in your brand.
- Online Image Monitoring and Analysis. Local search engine marketing can involve monitoring the images of your business online, to ensure that they are relevant, represent your brand well and are not damaging your reputation. While one method of monitoring your images is to continually scour the internet, it is far more efficient to adopt AI-led image analysis technology. It analyses images of your business online so that you can remove those irrelevant or unhelpful ones. This AI technology is revolutionary because it can identify facial expressions and distinguish between objects and entities! A great example of this technology and the one Vicinus uses is Google Cloud Vision’s API.
- Review Monitoring. Monitoring and responding to your business reviews online is a great way to leverage more customers because it demonstrates that your business is attentive and responsive, even to those reviews which are critical or negative. An exciting way to improve your review monitoring is by using Machine Learning-led sentiment analysis. This technology gathers location-specific insights and analyses customer reviews for emotional keywords and language. Vicinus uses Amazon Comprehend sentiment analysis and even has a review auto-responder feature. You can use the sentiment analysis data to automate review responses for all star ratings and emotions.
- Post about your business, promote offers and schedule events and alerts. Using platforms like Google My Business (GMB) and Facebook to share offers and events helps you to reach more users, create conversation and therefore, convert more leads. When your business hosts events, like workshops, you can use GMB to share this on your Google My Business listings. Similarly, if you have a special offer or discount sale, you want to make sure people know about it. Share offers on your GMB listings to increase foot traffic to your physical business locations. This can be a tedious task for multi-location businesses and enterprises. That’s why Vicinus has a built-in offer management feature. With this feature you can share consistent offers, post, events and alerts across all of your GMB listings.
- Keyword Research and Implementation. Part of local search engine marketing is researching for and optimising your website with keywords and keyword phrases which will help you to rank in local search results and gain clicks and visits from users performing localised searches. You want to target localised keywords, for instance, banks should target hyperlocal keywords such as ‘banks near me’ and ‘ATM near me’. In addition, you should target local keyword phrases, for example ‘banks in central London’ or ‘banks near Piccadilly Circus’. Here is a great guide on how to conduct your own keyword research and here is a list of great tools that can help you do it.
So, finally, why is all this important?
According to growth content company, Nectafy, a staggering 88% of local searches performed by consumers on mobile devices call or visit a business shown within 24 hours. If that doesn’t convince you of the importance of local search engine marketing, what will? With this many local searches converting users into consumers, it is now essential to define a local search engine marketing strategy for your business. Think about when you want to find a coffee shop or an ATM near you, you probably use Google to help you find one, don’t you? That’s exactly what your customers are doing too.
So, it is vital to secure your online presence and optimise both your business listings and website. This will help you appear to these customers. If you want to be more visible online, reach more customers and convert more leads, this is the best step forward.
Vicinus, our hyperlocal marketing platform can help you do this. Our team are happy to talk you through how local search engine marketing can help your business. We can even provide a free local presence audit.
Click here to visit our website and learn more or contact us directly.