Local SEO for ChambersThursday, August 23, 2012
Your car broke down, it’s 90 degrees outside, and the year is 1994. You don’t have an iPhone or a laptop, and Wi-Fi has not yet been invented. So how do you contact a local repair service?
You walk to the nearest payphone and flip through the Yellow Pages to the “Auto Repair” section.
Fortunately, in the year 2012, it’s fast and easy to find a local business. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! have developed local components, review sites like Yelp help us make local buying decisions, and the Yellow Pages has digitized itself into YellowPages.com.
An estimated 29% of PC searches have local intent. In today’s post, you’ll learn how to capitalize on these local searches by implementing local SEO tactics, which include:
• Using local keywords to optimize your web content
• Submitting your chamber to local listings sites
• Claiming and optimizing existing local listings
USE LOCAL KEYWORDS
Local keywords are simply keywords that include a geographic location – it could be a city, state, county, or even a street name. Think back to previous lessons on keyword selection, and try to figure out what types of local searches your audience might be performing.
SUBMIT LOCAL LISTINGS
When you add your website to an online business directory or local review site, you are creating a local listing for your chamber. The information you provide in your local listings should include basic contact information (phone number, address, email) as well as descriptive information about your business (products/services, number of employees, President name).
There are many benefits to submitting a local listing for your chamber, including:
- Increased visibility in SERPs for "local intent" search queries.
- Additional backlinks to your website.
- A faster, easier search experience for your audience
Sometimes your chamber has been automatically added to local listings websites. In this case, you’ll need to claim management of the listing by going through a simple verification process (usually, you’ll receive a postcard in the mail with a pin number).
It’s important to claim management of listings that have been created automatically or by another individual because you can provide more detailed, accurate information. The more information you can share, the better!
THE BEST LOCAL LISTINGS SITES FOR CHAMBERS
By creating (or claiming) your Google+ Local page, your chamber listing will be accessible through Google search, maps, mobile and Google+. Google+ Local injects a social component into local search, allowing users to write reviews and recommend places to their friends. And Zagat is now a part of Google+, providing ratings for dining and entertainment venues.By creating (or claiming) your Google+ Local page, your chamber listing will be accessible through Google
NOTE: Google+ Local replaced the search engine’s former local business directory, Google Places. However, you will still use Google Places to manage your Google+ Local listing.
Even though these two search engines don’t receive as much buzz as Google, Yahoo! still holds 13.8% of search market share and Bing is at 15.3%. Don’t miss out on the thousands of local searches performed on these sites!
Yelp is a local listings website many people turn to for trustworthy reviews. The best and most frequent contributors are given “Elite” status, tangible rewards, and respect among the Yelp community. If you happen to receive a negative review from an “Elite" contributor, be sure to resolve the problem and get back on his good side.
MerchantCircle uses great categories like Business to Business, Professional Services, and Community to organize listings. Get your chamber registered on this site pronto!
Submit your chamber website to industry-specific directories like ChamberFind.com. You should also utilize location-specific directories. For example, a chamber in North Carolina should submit a listing to North Carolina InfoPlus.
For more local listings websites, check out Hubspot’s list of 50 local business directories.
Local SEO is a particularly important tactic for chambers of commerce because your audience is local. Get found by local potential members by optimizing your web content with local keywords, submitting your website to local listings, and enhancing your listings with as much information as possible. Don’t let your chamber miss out on the 29%
Here are a few resources to help you submit and claim local listings: