3 Simple Steps for Geo Targeting Your Web Page

There are alot of these types of tips online, but I’ve found that many of them are outdated or just plain don’t work.  These 3 steps are proven tactics that I’ve used to help small businesses rank better for local search terms.

Before you dive in, remember that a site that targets local customers can be a huge advantage.  When you use your physical address freely on your website, it allows the search engines to help you place more emphasis on the searchers in your local area.

If you have multiple addresses, I highly recommend that you create a unique page for each of those addresses, and make it a quality landing page for customers coming directly to that page.  You also want to make sure you reference these specific pages when submitting a local business listing to search engines.

As always, let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to share and link to this post!  ;-)

1. Put Your Address in HCard Format (micro formats)

If you aren’t familiar with this, click here first.  It does require a bit of mucking around in the html, but you can simply use the code below as a guideline.  Just copy and paste it into your site and replace the location details.  This will basically allow the search engines to parse your address when they crawl the page you place it on and correspond it with your local listing (assuming you have one).  If you don’t, hang your head in shame, and then follow this link to get added.

<div class="vcard">
  <a class="fn org url" href="http://www.commerce.net/">CommerceNet</a>
  <div class="adr">
    <span class="type">Work</span>:
    <div class="street-address">169 University Avenue</div>
    <span class="locality">Palo Alto</span>,  
    <abbr class="region" title="California">CA</abbr>  
    <span class="postal-code">94301</span>
    <div class="country-name">USA</div>
  </div>
  <div class="tel">
   <span class="type">Work</span> +1-650-289-4040
  </div>
  <div class="tel">
    <span class="type">Fax</span> +1-650-289-4041
  </div>
  <div>Email: 
   <span class="email">info@commerce.net</span>
  </div>
</div>

2.  Put Your Address Info in the Meta Section

This is another piece of code that you can simply copy and paste and fill in the proper information.  It needs to be placed in the head section of the code for the page you want it on (normally the home page if your business only has one address).  I usually place my right below the title tag.  If you need help knowing what to place in the ICBM section, try this link.

    <meta name="country" content="USA, United States, United States Of America, America">
    <meta name="ICBM" content="39.7114, -104.8192">
    <meta name="geography" content="14501 E Alameda Ave Ste 1, Aurora, CO, 80012">
    <meta name="DC.title" content="Aurora Counseling Center">
    <meta name="zipcode" content="80012">
    <meta name="description" content="Aurora Counseling Center at 14501 E Alameda Ave Ste 1, Aurora, CO  80012">
    <meta name="state" content="CO">
    <meta name="keywords" content="Aurora Counseling Center, reviews, ratings, recommendations, best, worst, map, directions, hours, Community &amp; Social Services, Counseling, denver, Directory &amp; Services, social services">
    <meta name="city" content="Aurora">
    <meta name="postalcode" content="80012">
    <meta name="address" content="14501 E Alameda Ave Ste 1, Aurora, CO, 80012">

3.  Submit Your Address & Business Listing To IYP’s

IYP stands for Internet Yellow Pages.  These sites are great to submit to when you want to build up some basic links, but more importantly, they will help solidify a strong listing on the sites that really matter like Google and Yahoo Local.  When Google Bot sees a large recurrence of the same address and lots of references to the web page associated with that physical address, it can really help to boost local rankings.  If you’ve never submitted your business listing to an IYP before, start with Google & Yahoo, then move on to InfoUSA (they help populate over 25 websites).  TIP: keep all of your listings very consistent, and if you have more than one address, make sure to link to the specific page on your website that references that address.

4 Do It Yourself Local Search Marketing Tips

I’ve been finding alot of uses for SEO lately in the local business arena.  So many small business owners are trying to supplement their marketing efforts by moving online, and many of these owners understand that online search is ‘where it’s at’.

So, because I’m a nice guy  ;-)    I want to reveal a few of the tactics I use to help small businesses succeed in local search:

Getting Started:

First, you’ll want to have a website of course.  Most small businesses already have this covered, and hopefully the site is at least somewhat search engine friendly.  There is alot that goes into this, but generally, if your site is text based, easy to navigate, and has helpful content, you are probably ok.

Next, you need to get it into your head that your website is more than an online business card.  It can work as a marketing tool too.  But this means that you have to commit to developing it (which I’ll touch on in a minute).  If you’re willing to spend the time writing, marketing the site, and networking online, you’ll stand a good chance of turning your local website into a successful business generator.

4 Local Search Marketing Tips For a Local Business Website

1)  Create More Content:

This is a really common tip in the internet marketing industry, but most local business owners don’t realize that they need to spend time writing and developing more valuable content on their sites.  Try to write a few new pages per month for the site.  Having trouble coming up with ideas?  Here are a few:

Martial Arts Studio: Publish up to date class schedules.  Take video of some talented students for the site.

Accountant: Articles on new tax code and how it will effect local tax payers.

Real Estate Agent: Publish up to date market reports on local housing market activity.

Plumber: Post helpful home plumbing tips, or seasonal information about maintaining your home.

Dentist: Publish coupons for certain services and write about proper care of teeth.

Local Marketing Consultant: Publish cases studies on previous successes you’ve had with other clients.

Hardware Store: Post on new inventory, or a new tool or equipment line you carry.

Hair Salon:  Post pictures of recent customers that had styling done.

Those are just a few… hopefully you get the point.  You need to have valuable content on the site in order for local visitors to even consider visiting.  It can also work as a great marketing hook and help you drive more search engine traffic based on all of the new content you are writing about.

2)  Reach Out To a Local Audience:

Surprisingly, this is rarely practiced among most business owners.  In order to be effective locally, you have to connect with a local audience.  This is just as important offline as it is online.  Local networking groups, clubs, chamber of commerce, recreational groups, etc.  All can be effective in getting your name out there.  Online is just as important depending on the size of your target market.  If you live in a location with less than 20,000 people, it may be difficult to find online communities to participate in.  But most of the time, there is alot of opportunity right under your nose in the local online scene…

  • Find local blogs and participate by commenting or writing guest articles.  Try to reach out to the author of the blog for networking or linking opportunities.  (this is where having useful quality content on your website would come in handy)
  • Find local message boards.  Usually the more popular ones will be on a local newspaper website, or a large national community site like Topix or Yelp.  Participate where available and don’t forget to place your website in the signature of your posts.
  • Give something away for free to other local business owners to earn their trust.  Even if you’re not targeting them directly as a customer, chances are they have a significant amount of influence and have their own client bases.  If you can build a solid relationship, they will probably recommend you to others.
  • Reach out locally with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and any social site that allows you to group together with local people.

3) Get Included in Local Directories

Very few people use the text version of the Yellow Pages anymore.  That market share has been snatched up by search engines, and other sites called IYP’s (Internet Yellow Pages).  These IYP’s are important to be listed on because a large number of people use them to find local business.  And when someone is looking for a local business they are usually in the mood to buy something…

You can start with the major sites like Google Local & Yahoo Local, but you’ll want to move on to some of the others such as:

YellowPages.com

Yellowbook.com

Superpages.com

WhitePages.com

CitySearch.com

There are a host of others, but ths will get you started.  If you’re interested in a service that will create all of these listings for you, try Universal Business Listing.  They will submit to about 40 sites for only $30.

4) Market the Website to Current Customers

The often overlooked audience of potential web marketing is your current customer base. They already know you and your business to some extent.  They trust you, and they are one of your largest sources of new business.

  • Do any of your customers have websites?  If so you should be exchanging links with them and talking about how you can help each other market.
  • Hand out some small cards with your website address, or social networking contact information.
  • Start an email marketing list that continuously offers coupons, special services and reminders.
  • Place your website and calls to action to your website on every piece of marketing material you have.
  • Provide exclusive web content.  Tell people that you have special online only coupons, or some other valuable information that they can only get online.

I hope these tips were helpful.  Keep a look out for a special small business marketing DIY checklist I’ll be publishing soon…