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How To Expand Your Local Internet Marketing Area In Search Results
Most of the businesses are local-centric and search engine have been accommodating this for a while by paying more attention to the local searches. Yet the question always lingers as to what is local? Is it 50 miles radius, is it the city you are located, or the region that your business is in?
From our experience, this various according to the geographical area that you are in. For example, in Washington DC are, we consider Washington DC and Metro Area to be local. Yet if your business is located in a town of Virginia, which is about 20 minute away from Washington DC, Google considers this another local area. Make things little more complicated, another city which we consider local (about 15 minutes away) is also considered a different local place as far as Google goes, even though it is in the same county.
This would be understandable for a local restaurant that generates its business from immediate local area, but it starts becoming a problem especially for businesses such as general contractors, carpet cleaners, etc.
So the question is; how do you expand your local area to reach your prospects?
The way that we handle this issue is methodical, and the process is as follows in the same order you see in the list;
- Competition Analysis in the areas that you are (or want to be) doing business.
- Your keywords
- Rank Higher in your very local area
- Expand Your territory
The first step is quite important as to knowing your competitors; how they are dominating the market, which keywords they are focusing on, where they are getting most of their traffic from, where they are getting their links from.
Once you know these keywords from your competitors, you do your own keyword research to find the most relevant and viable keywords for yourself. Since you already know which keywords your competitors are dominating the market with, you decide on the keywords you should be focusing on (this, incidentally, sets up your internet marketing strategy).
You build your optimized website by implementing on-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and follow it by launching your off-page Search Engine Optimization, which is the bases for your internet marketing strategy. When you are doing your off-page SEO, you go after your main keyword, rather than two, three or more…
It is no secret that, most of the local markets are not very competitive (at least for the time being!). You should be ranking higher in the local search results within a short period (please keep in mind, when we say “short period”, this solely depends on the competitiveness of the market that you are in, as well as the keywords that you are going after).
This is when most of the clients start asking the question whether we should focus on more keywords or go into other local areas.
The answer is’ “go into other local areas”… Since you are ranking higher in the local search results on one keyword (in other words, you are now an authority on one subject), it will be easier to rank higher in other local areas. If you remember, when you are doing your competitive analysis in the first step, we suggested to look into other local areas that you are (or want to be) doing business besides the one you are already in. This is the reason, where you can expand into other localities easily.
Now back to answering the question of “how do you expand into the other local areas and get listed in the local searches”?
Step-1: To start with, the best way, of course, is having a brick and mortar office in other localities. Yet this would be a quite expensive business decision (unless you need to have office in other offices).
Do a research end gather the list of the major cities in the local areas that you want to expand into.
Create a highly optimized page for each city with different content… Again, different content! Do not take the same content and just change the name of the city. You will defeat the whole purpose of SEO. Use relevant and optimized pictures, and videos for each city. All different and unique content!
Step-2: The URL and the Title of each page should (or must) contain the name of the city and your keyword (i.e. Internet Marketing Company Alexandria Virginia, Internet Marketing Company Springfield Virginia, etc.)
Step-3: Create a page on your site with highly optimized content and media, and put a list of the cities that you created. Internally link to those pages with anchor text (i.e. Internet Marketing Company Alexandria Virginia)
Step-4: In each page, you should internally link, at least, to your Home Page, as well as the main page where you put the list of the cities.
Step-5: Make sure you have a link in your Home Page to the main page that you created with the list of the cities (with anchor text).
Step-6: Don’t forget to update your Site Map.
Step-7: Don’t forget to update your Google and Bing Sitemap.
If you are having hard time getting listed in the local search results in some localities, you need to start doing your off-page SEO (in other words, your link building strategy) with your keywords that includes the name of the city (just like the way you created your internal pages and page titles).
Important Note-1: Off-page Search Engine Optimization requires link building, which further requires varying your anchor text. Here’s our blog post on this matter –> How Important Is Varying Your Anchor Text In Your Backlinks
Important Note-2:You should also gain some knowledge about internal linking. Here’s our post on this subject –> How Internal Linking Can Affect Your SEO and Page Traffic
Do you have any other strategies to expand into other local areas? Would you like to share a few pointers with others for Local Internet Marketing? Please feel free to comment…