But what is local search marketing exactly?
Some marketers refer to it as local search engine optimization or Local SEO. Still, I prefer to think of it as a more integrated strategy for marketing for local small businesses.
Local search marketing is about putting your company on the map for local searches when clients look for a company like yours.
Local search marketing is a type of search engine optimization (SEO) that helps local small businesses appear in relevant local searches.
As you see in the above search example of, “fishing charters Wilmington NC” shows the searcher the local pack before they see the organic search results below.
To learn more about this, read The Difference Between Organic and Local SEO.
A key aspect of local search marketing is making sure your business is visible in the local pack so that your ideal clients can find and choose you.
How Does Local Search Marketing Work?
To establish a local search presence, you first have to improve the information you are putting out online for the search engines. You want your small business to show up for any relevant queries and ensure that clients and prospects can easily find all the information they need to choose your company.
To increase your chances of appearing on the search results pages (SERPS) for relevant queries, you need to ensure that search engines, such as Google, have everything they need to know.
How do you do this? You will want to provide and check that your name, address, phone number, and URL are correct in the top directories so that search engines can understand what you do and where you are. These online directories may include:
- Angie’s List
- Your local chamber of commerce
The more consistent the information you enter will demonstrate to the search engines that they can trust your small business.
However, if your entries in those famous directories contain false or inconsistent information, they will question your trustworthiness, which can harm your local search rating. Ultimately it means clients are unlikely to find you when looking for the services you offer.
Wondering Where to Start?
As a local search marketing company, we all at Cube Creative Design recommend starting with the fundamentals. Look for your business on the search engines and see how you are showing up.
If your small business is brand new, you will need to set up new profiles in the directories I mentioned previously. If your small business has been around for several years, you’ll need to claim/verify these pages before correcting or completing the information.
These websites and directories can significantly impact your local search results, so ensure that your information is correct and consistent across all of them.
Also, remember that Yelp and social media frequently appear at the top of organic SERPs.
Make sure your information is up to date on both Facebook and Yelp in case a searcher skips the 3-pack and goes straight to your Yelp or social media pages.
The Next Step in Your Local Search Marketing Plan
Now, claiming and taking control of those pages isn't the end of the story.
Search engines such as Google and Bing do not just accept the information you provide as the absolute truth. They rely on data from four primary sources:
To further complicate matters, those four sources obtain their information from hundreds of additional online directories.
Therefore, if your small business’s information differs in multiple directories, the search engines will be confused and won’t know where or when to list your business on the SERPs.
Choose the Right Categories for Your Small Business
But, once again, this is only a portion of what search engines want about your business.They also have to have proper categorization.
Don’t forget to provide appropriate categories for your small business. Additionally, be as descriptive as possible. For example, when adding categories to your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), “restaurant” is far too broad. You should select the sort of restaurant you own.
If you own a pizza restaurant that also offers delivery, then you need to also include the “pizza delivery” category so that Google knows to include your company in “pizza delivery” searches when local clients look for it.
The more specific you can be, the better off you will be, as this helps the search engines to understand what you do. Doing so will help your company appear in the right searches!
Lastly, you will want to adhere to Google’s guidelines, which suggest using as few categories as possible.
How to Audit Your Local Search Ranking
- Clear your browser history and cache.
- Open an incognito or private window and go to Google.com or Bing.com.
- Search for your industry and city (example: barbeque Asheville North Carolina). Does your barbeque restaurant show up on the SERPs? If so, are you at the top, or do you have to click “view more” and scroll to the bottom to find your small business?
- Search for your small business name and location or phone number (example: Cube Creative Design Asheville North Carolina).
- Sort through the directories. Claim, complete and/or correct your NAPU. Some directories are free, and others you will have to pay for.
However, remember that people like to communicate with businesses through an integrated marketing approach.
So, after you’ve worked on controlling your local search presence, you’ll need to collect additional client reviews, expand your social media presence, and consider using paid advertising to reach new and broader markets.
This integrated approach will help your local business be found (and chosen) by more people!
For more information on local search marketing, check out these resources:
- Local Search Engine Optimization Services
- What Is Local SEO? A Comprehensive Guide to Local Search
- How Can Content Marketing Help a Business?
How to Find a Trustworthy Local Search Marketing Agency
If you don’t have the time to do your own local search marketing? That’s OK. Most small business owners struggle to operate their companies while also managing their web marketing.
Keep the following factors in mind while looking for a local search marketing company:
- Avoid agencies that make outrageous claims or guarantees. These agencies will often tell you they can get you to the top of the SERPs and Google overnight. Frankly, these are scams, so stay far away from them.
- Don’t let anyone frighten you. If an agency calls claiming to be Google and threatens to remove your listings if you don’t pay, they’re most likely a hoax.
- Consider alternatives to software. Any competent local search marketing agency will have real people working on your marketing. Don’t settle for software; nothing beats having a human on your team to monitor algorithm upgrades and design new strategies or campaigns.
- Don’t be afraid of a contract. Any good agency will tell you it takes time to get your local search marketing off the ground a contract just helps ensure that you are both in this for the long haul, also if you have chosen a competent digital marketing agency. They can typically show you at least some traction in the first few months of starting your campaign.
The bottom line is you want someone working hard to boost your web presence. If you are ready to talk with someone willing to do just that, reach out today! I am here to help your small business grow with Local Search Marketing.