It’s estimated that there are approximately 1.7 billion websites in the world right now. 1.7 BILLION! With a B. And what’s even more overwhelming is the majority of those websites are competing for the most prime marketing real estate there is: search engine presence.
Any semi-knowledgeable business with an online presence understands the importance of having their website show up in search results. And local businesses are no exception. If you’re visiting a new city (let’s say Greenville, SC for fun) and you’re craving some pizza, I’m going to bet that there’s a high likelihood you’re going to pull out your smartphone and search “pizza in Greenville, SC” or “pizza near me” and be immediately fed with a list of nearby restaurants serving up ‘za.
But how do you ensure that your business shows up in those search results, let alone on the first one or two pages? The answer is geo-targeted SEO.
Geo-targeted search engine optimization, also called location-based SEO, is an SEO strategy that focuses on specific geographic areas that your business wants to target. This area can be as small as a city or as large as a country. An experienced digital marketing firm that offers SEO services will be able to support this strategy, but if you’re looking to go the DIY route, here are a few ways you can create a geo-targeted SEO strategy:
1. Keyword Research
Conducting keyword research is foundational for any SEO strategy. When it comes to geo-targeting your SEO, you’ll first want to begin by researching and identifying keywords that include the name of the location you are targeting. Other great ways to identify location-based keywords include analyzing your local/regional competitors, the dialect of the area you are targeting (how a user in Canada searches for something may be very different than how a user in Florida searches for it), and discovering regional trends.
2. Trends Research
Speaking of trends, they can vary widely based on a user’s location. Age, income, interests, needs, and even dialect should all be considered when creating a geo-targeted SEO strategy. Google Trends, a great free tool, will help identify top user queries and rising search topics in cities, states, and countries. These can help a business identify the relevance and popularity that their goods and services have within a set location.
3. Competitive Research
If you want to stay ahead of the pack, it’s important to do some competitive research too. Start off by identifying similar businesses in your target area. Research these businesses by conducting competitor keyword gap research and analyzing their domain using an online tool such as Semrush. You can also manually inspect these websites to gather ideas for terminology, trends, popular services, etc.
4. Creating Geo-Specific Pages and/or Content
Creating pages on your website that are specifically geared toward each of the locations you are targeting can be a massive help in amping up your geo-targeted search presence. Having an entire web page dedicated to a specific location allows you ample space to include geo-targeted keywords, images, external links to location-specific resources, statistics, and whatever else you may want to include to reach your audience.
When going this route, ensure that the name of the location is in the URL slug and that you include location-specific keywords in the meta and copy of the page. If you are creating multiple pages for multiple different locations, it’s best practice to create unique, geo-targeted content for each location using the keywords, trends, and topics you’ve identified.
5. Optimizing Images for the Location
Let’s say you’re targeting homeowners in Florida in an effort to sell them landscaping supplies. It wouldn’t make much sense to lead them to a page that shows images of snowy mountains. Visual stimuli can play a major role in a user’s connection with a brand, and you want your users to feel that your brand “gets” them. So, you’ll want to ensure that the images featured on location-specific pages match up with the location itself. For SEO purposes and ADA compliance, it’s also a great tactic to optimize these images by adding geo-targeted alt-tags and titles.
6. Optimize Your Google My Business
First, your business will need to have a physical presence in the location you are targeting to support this method of SEO optimization. In recent years, Google has placed emphasis on delivering local search results to a user when applicable to their query. Having a Google My Business profile not only helps your site’s authority but can also drive traffic and build brand awareness.
Your Google My Business profile should include the following to be optimized for geo-targeted searches:
Experiment with Visual Elements
Work to understand the colors and the layouts that will work well with your users belonging to different locations, and keep experimenting to find out the best one for your business.
Consider the area of the country/world you are targeting and the languages spoken in that area. Be sure to use the languages and dialects of those you are targeting.
Use Landmarks and Geographic Features
Not only does a state or city’s name play an important role in geo-targeting within content, but so do regional features. For instance, including more geographic features (mountains, rivers, street names, etc.) in your content will help Google and crawl bots identify exactly what location you are targeting.
Know What’s Important to Your Regional Audience
Users in different parts of the country and the world often have different goals and aspirations. Regional areas often target a specific subset of individuals based on the lifestyle in that region. Align your messaging to these wants and needs.
The above geo-targeting SEO tips should provide a great foundation for any business looking to create a location-based search strategy. The one piece of advice that we can’t stress enough is to know your audience! This can be tough for businesses that operate in multiple locations or brands aiming to reach a user base in a region different than the one they operate in. But an experienced digital marketing agency with an SEO team, data analytics insights, and access to informational resources can make this easy. If you’re a business looking to grow your geo-targeted SEO strategy and location-based search presence, Infinity Marketing would love to chat with you about how we can support your growth.