Local search marketing is a two-way street. As much as you want to take the initiative, go out, and actively engage potential customers in your area, no business can ignore the need to make sure they can also find you.
Lifting the hood on your local links is one way to learn where customers can currently find you, as well as where you need to up your local search game.
Let's look at some useful resources that will help you do that at no extra cost.
What's In Your Webmaster Tools?
While almost every business owner digs into their Google Analytics, far fewer explore the information presented in Google and Bing's respective Webmaster Tools.
Failure to do this overlooks some important data that will help you to understand how customers are finding your business and whether or not locals are linking to you. Sign up for these services as soon as you can, then look at the following sections to inform your local SEO work:
- 'Links to Your Site' - See who links to your site and which content is most popular.
- 'Content Keywords' - See which search terms help people to find your business and how they describe what you do.
- 'Search Queries' - See how often your site appears in search results and how many clicks result from these impressions.
Armed with this data, you can move on to improve the areas that matter to your local search results.
Explore Site Links and Citations
You know that inbound links are important to the search authority of your site, and local citations play an important role as well. Working on both of these local SEO elements each week will help to build a steady stream of customers who find your business via online channels.
Through the Webmaster Tools ideas mentioned above, you'll find who else is linking to you and what search terms people are using. You can use this information to build relationships with others in your area and improve the keywords you use to describe your business in citations (which you can start to find by using a tool like Whitespark's Local Citation Finder).
If you want to dig even deeper, consider looking at your competitor's link structure. Use Open Site Explorer to understand who links to competing sites, and then decide whether or not you can build a good case for them to link to you as well.
And if you're just starting out, remember that the domain name you choose will heavily influence the links you receive. The easier it is to remember and the shorter it is to input, the more likely that others will be to recall and recommend your site.
Many factors feed in to helping local customers discover your business. The more of these you can work on - and the more information you have to guide that work - the more discoverable your site will be.