Marketing has always been an important area for the success of any business, many businesses including freelance invest both time and money into marketing their services. Various methods have been known to be used to market goods and services ranging from sharing handbills to printing posters and erecting billboards, however, with time, these traditional methods have become somewhat archaic and businesses are embracing a newer form of marketing called digital marketing. One of such forms of digital marketing is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
The days of hardcopy directories are long gone. People don’t have to thumb through pages upon pages of a directory to find the address of a business. Instead of this, they are now turning to their mobile phones, laptops and desktops for answers. This means that businesses who are not positioning themselves well with SEO are missing out on potential customers. Studies suggest that over 70% of local mobile searches would ultimately result in an offline purchase. With more and more customers turning to the internet for answers, local businesses not providing and positioning these answers are missing out.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and encompasses all the strategies used to boost website ranking and increase the number of visitors to a site. Local SEO refers to SEO that caters to a limited geographical area. It involves using keywords combined with the name of towns or cities to achieve visibility within the target area.
Local search engine optimization ultimately helps to boost website traffic and cut to the front of the queue as potential customers search for particular products and services in a particular area.
It is particularly important for freelancers who are embracing online platforms for their services or just want to expand their customer base. It is also necessary for every freelancer vying for prominence in a particular area.
Advantages of SEO
Many business owners including freelancers consider SEO as something to be left to business giants. They have embraced traditional means of advertising and do not see any gain in changing their approach. However, Local SEO is becoming more relevant each day to freelancers because it creates opportunities for businesses and allows for easier connection with prospective customers in an area.
The ultimate aim of any marketing or advertising campaign is for it to provide a return on investment by leading to more sales and new business. Most local businesses usually have a limited budget and are very careful about how they apply these limited resources.
Local SEO helps to ease such fears as there is little-wasted exposure because it presents itself in the right place when potential customers search online. This gives it an edge over traditional means of advertising like direct mail, local newspapers, and leaflets which do not have a targeted approach and are less effective.
Another advantage of local SEO is that it is cheap. A large number of the opportunities to utilize local SEO are free. In the long run, businesses are looking for ways to minimize cost and maximize profit. Local SEO meets this need with free opportunities to achieve promotion for the business. Even better is the fact that only a few people are keying into this opportunity.
How to maximise local SEO
There are a number of ways that ensure that you actually make an impression on your local SEO.
Manage a good website
The world has taken a massive shift towards online marketing, and businesses without a website are left without a very important asset.
Even if you have a website, it is essential to ensure that the website is properly optimized to make your best efforts at local SEO work.
A domain name that captures the essence of your business is important, also the pages on your website should contain keywords that reflect the location of the business and services offered. Information including a price list, address, phone number and description of services offered should also be made readily available.
Engage your customers
A major part of local SEO is customer engagement. This refers to the way you respond to reviews and testimonials. Potential customers will always turn to reviews and testimonials before making a decision about your products or service.
Manage reviews well and respond speedily to any complaints. A bad review that is not handled will damage your business and deter interested people from your business. Boost your reviews by asking trusted customers to put down a review about a service or product. Reviews should be well managed as they are a source of free publicity and go a long way in improving rankings.
Be mobile friendly
A bulk of online searches come from mobile devices and for this reason, it makes no sense if you are able to attract visitors to your website only to lose them because the site is not mobile friendly.
If you are serious about local SEO, you have to recognize that most of your potential customers are looking for information using mobile devices.
Take action by getting a website developer to optimize your website for mobile users. Once users find it easy to navigate the site and get information in one click, they won’t leave.
Make content locally relevant
Google prioritizes locally targeted content making it essential to make content that will appeal to people in your target area.
The scattergun approach of just churning out content will not work when it comes to local SEO. Content has to be interesting, shareable and relevant to the local audience.
Blog posts about local landmarks, events and places are a great way to connect with people. Another approach is to provide an expert opinion that is relevant to the area. When it comes to creating content that is locally relevant, you must move from merely being affiliated with an area to owning it.
Social media engagement is very important for local SEO. Creating a followership on various Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram help your content to get shared, contributing to authoritative backlinks for your website.
Use your social media presence to connect with customers and respond to enquiries and comments. Ensure that the name of the area is commonly attached as a hashtag alongside popular spots in the area.
Creating a web of links
Creating a network of links from related sites to your website is very essential as it builds credibility and authenticity for your website. Backlinks from your partners in the local media will go a long way in helping to achieve this purpose. Sharing links on social media accounts of the business also contributes to this.
From this, it is obvious that SEO is a very important strategy in digital marketing. A lot can be achieved through it, all that is required is careful planning and consistency.
Did you learn anything? Tell us in the comments.