Written by: Richard Fong
Published on December 30, 2013
Published on December 30, 2013
With customers turning away from traditional phone directories in favor of Google, it’s become more important than ever before for small, local businesses to have an effective search engine optimization strategy.
Some businesses go for the big targets – local keywords such as “auto repair Seattle” or “pizza delivery Chicago.” Others aim for more specific terms, like “oil change Los Angeles,” which deliver more focused, lucrative customers.
While broad local Los Angeles SEO is certainly a profitable strategy for small businesses, it’s not the only way to approach local SEO. By using hyper-local targeting – keywords that target right down to the suburb or district level – you can achieve a level of search engine success that your competitors can only dream of.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of hyper-local targeting, let’s talk about how it can be such an effective SEO strategy. As the web becomes more local than ever due to smartphones and tablets, your customers aren’t just searching for regional terms, but hyper-local search terms.
This means that ranking for a search keyword like “Huntington Beach pizza” can be worth just as much as ranking for “Orange County pizza.” Although the geographical region is smaller, the search volume for the more localized term is often exactly the same or, in some cases, even greater.
Better yet, the competition for these ultra-local search keywords is often a fraction as intense as it is for the big, high-level geographical terms. Control multiple hyper-local search keywords and your business can enjoy a local SEO empire that most of your competitors can’t even touch.
Developing an ultra-local search network is simple. Instead of building out endless subpages about how your business is the best in its city, make your pages local and focused. “Orange County Pizza Deliver” becomes the homepage, rather than an inner page, and Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and so on become the subpages.
Think about your city for a moment. Can it be broken down into smaller sub-cities and districts? Are there distinct geographical areas with a different culture to each other? Are there special enclaves of students or professionals that are worth a lot for your business?
Break your website down into audiences of hundreds – even tens – of local monthly search keywords, and develop unique pages for each and every target. A small area can be broken down into hundreds of pages, each one delivering a few hot leads to your website every month.
Remember that people no longer browse the Internet from home, and that most of your incoming Google searches could be coming from smartphones rather than the comfortable desk of a home office. Being hyper-local means being number one for any area, especially those that your customers are searching from.
There are undoubtedly some downsides to a hyper-local approach, time and cost being one of them. Preparing hundreds of pages for your website takes time, and many businesses are permanently short of time. Nevertheless, this obstacle can be avoided by focusing on large areas first and narrowing them down over time.
Remember that the targets your competitors ignored – small suburbs and areas in your city – are often the easiest to rank prominently for. Some of these keywords could be so local that your business ranks prominently without any links – only an internal page on your website with a few carefully targeted keywords.
It takes an hour or two to add a new page to your website, and that hour could lead to hundreds of sales over the long term. Bring your website into the hyper-local web of today and seize control of some of your city’s most valuable search keywords.