Any brick and mortar business that considers their neighborhood as their market should strongly consider local internet marketing and SEO. If you own a restaurant, repair shop, hardware store or beauty salon, and your customers don’t travel far to get to your establishment, this applies to you. A lot of things have changed, however, when it comes to ranking websites locally.
With all of the recent updates to their algorithms, it is becoming clearer that Google wants to be the ultimate answer to all of man’s questions. They want to be there for you in any situation — like some “know-it-all” friend who can answer questions like, “Where is the best place to eat in Indiana” or something like, “What’s two kilometers expressed in miles?”
The implementation of “Google Now” conforms to this. For those who don’t know what we’re referring to, Google Now is a more intelligent form of online search with an added voice command function. This is one of the examples of us being ushered toward a question-based web search system. Soon, the number of people casually asking or typing “Where can I get Indian food in Boston” will overwhelm those who search for “Indian food Boston”.
So what am I aiming at? My point is that there is a resurgence of long-tail keywords in the world of local internet marketing and SEO. People are now more prone to inputting queries in the form of very specific questions. In return, search engines, not just Google, are providing direct answers.
Why Bother with Long-tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords have several benefits to business owners. By using them, webmasters find it easier to provide content that is tailored to the needs of their target reader — resulting in fewer bounce rates. A web surfer who is looking for “rosacea treatment Texas” will find companies in Texas that provide such service, as opposed to just web pages containing information about Rosacea.
Because long-tail keywords be queried less frequently than broader, short-tail keywords, you can expect lesser competition when ranked. In fact, SEO professionals often find that their clients’ websites rank for long-tail keywords by accident (and it’s almost always a very happy accident at that). Nevertheless, as studies show, long-tail keywords still have higher conversion rates than more competitive short-tail keywords. Therefore, one could definitely make the argument that it is a better strategy to rank first for several long tail keywords than ranking first on very popular keywords.
Moreover, A/B tests are not necessary with long-tail keywords. You don’t need to guess what the user wants. By providing content that is optimized for long, specific keywords, you will have a clearer understanding of user intent which will ultimately influence your return om investment.
Targeting Long Tail Keywords
Now that we know how beneficial long tail keywords are, it is time to put them to good use. But first, how will you know which long tail keywords to use?
There are three ways to do it:
- Use Google Analytics and find the long-tail keywords under “Traffic Sources” then “Referrals and Search Engine Optimization” then “Queries”
- Look at “Related Searches” on Google
- Gather ideas from the autocomplete in the search field.
Search engines still value keyword density, so making sure that the keywords you want to rank for can be found on your site still helps — while avoiding keyword stuffing! Headers and title tags should be optimized and appropriate anchor texts should be used for internal linking. Because we are targeting a certain demographic, the relevant, local community should be referenced as much as possible. This means the city name or neighborhoods should be included, as well as the area’s ZIP code. It is even advisable to put the address and phone number in the title tag!
Creating a blog about the business will be very helpful in this case. It is where the business can publish a detailed article about their services and products. The post can be a description of parts, services and brands all while keeping in mind what potential customers are looking for. Of course, providing unique content is a must. The blog doesn’t have to be a sea of words — you can add relevant images and videos as well. This will also help social engagement which has become an important factor in SEO.
The work doesn’t stop on-site; there are also things to do off-site. Local businesses should include themselves in as many clean, legitimate directories as possible. Creating a Google Plus Local page is a must, especially now that they are being prioritized. Another thing to do is submit businesses to the Yahoo! Local Listings, Bing Local Listing Center, and other similar directories. One should remember that keyword relevance is still at play when submitting business listings; inserting the preferred long tail keywords on the “about” part is helpful. The profile should be as complete and accurate as possible and should include business hours, payment options and photos. Search engines prefer newer listings so updating these regularly is another must. Making sure that the NAP (name, address, phone number) on the business’ website is the same as the NAP on the listing will also help in achieving a higher ranking.
Smaller local businesses that want to compete with bigger ones should definitely raise their efforts in local internet marketing and SEO. The chances of businesses without an online presence being found in the real world are getting smaller as time passes by. Using long tail keywords will establish targeted audiences, which will in turn makes sending out branding messages easier. This will ultimately strengthen the relationship between the customer and the business.
Have an opinion or question on local internet marketing that you’d like to discuss comment below or contact a BBEX project manager.