Five Creative Local Search Marketing Tactics

The New Yellow Pages

If you are taking the time to read this, you undoubtedly already know the increasing importance of ranking high in organic search results for local businesses. Statistics indicate that as much as 80 percent of all first contacts with a business now come from online searches by computer, tablet and smartphone. Many younger Internet users might think this is a new phenomenon and, of course, it is as far as use of the Internet goes. However, for nearly a hundred years businesses have paid a lot of time and invested money in being first in search results.

A growing number of people have never used physical yellow pages. However, the reason you see companies like AAA Plumbing or AAAA Air Conditioning was their desire to rank first in a Yellow Page search when that was the primary way to find a business. Interestingly, that is the goal today: to stand out from the clutter of other businesses and competitors. Mastering local search is now essential and doing it creatively is the key to differentiation in your market.

The degree of difficulty in that task depends on several factors. These include:

  • How many physical locations are you dealing with and how does the actual service area compare to those locations?
  • Does your service area cover multiple towns with the need to address each one specifically for search purposes?
  • Is your business considered to be a vanilla product or service with a number of similar competitors?
  • Can you differentiate the content for each city without risking a search engine penalty for lack of unique content?

Getting good visibility with Googe+Local and Bing Places for one town is often only the starting point if you face any of these challenges. Organic visibility takes targeted city pages and some extra, creative steps. It requires more than cloned content with just the city name changed.

Here are five creative steps to enhance your visibility in multiple cities in your trade area:

  1. Modify all the page elements to make them unique to the page. While this seems obvious, you can tell by search results that many companies ignore this. The specific task is to modify the description tags, title tags, internal links, outbound links and the HTML headers. Especially with the links, have them relate specifically to the target city or town.
  2. Use content that deals with the target city, such as highlighting a job you did or a specific need/characteristic of that location. Use targeted press releases, case studies, and even profiles of employees that live in that particular city.
  3. Use photos and videos that tag to the targeted city and buildings, landmarks or aspects unique to it.
  4. Write about laws, rules, permits, regulations and even legal cases that are specifically about the target.
  5. Use target-specific testimonials from customers in the city.

Unique and relevant are your objectives and these five ideas help you on both counts.