One of the common misconceptions about search engine optimization is that it cannot be geotargeted. While it’s not as simple as paid search, where you can go into your AdWords settings and say “I want my ads to appear only for people in these geographical areas”, it is still very possible to narrow down your organic market.
Think of your own search behaviours. If you’re looking for a locksmith and you live in Winnipeg, you’re probably going to going to type “locksmith winnipeg” to ensure that the results you get are in fact located in Winnipeg.
Take a look at the following example. I am located in Winnipeg, but all I’ve typed into Google is the word locksmith.
Results one and three (on the organic side) are for locksmith services in Toronto. The second result is the locksmith Wikipedia article. Only after these results does Google offer local business results for locksmiths in Winnipeg. Now, it’s guessing based on your IP address that you’re looking for something in Winnipeg. However, if you’re outside of the Winnipeg area, it is unlikely you’re going to see those business results at all. Continue looking at the rest of the listings on the page and you’ll notice that no organic listings are from Winnipeg.
Let’s take a look at the next search, using the term “locksmiths winnipeg” (only without quotes):
Immediately Google gives you what you’re looking for – a list of locksmiths in Winnipeg. As well, following the local business results, all the organic results are for locksmiths in Winnipeg.
There are two major takeaways from this comparison:
1. Make sure you’re included and verified in Google Local Business.
A lot of times, especially if you’ve got your business address somewhere on your web site, your business may already be listed in Google Maps. In this case, you should verify your listing. To do this, you’ll claim it and be given an option to verify that you are in fact the correct business owner.
2. Make sure you’ve included the city and province/state in which you do business, especially if your business is local only!
The SEO in me hopes that you’ve already incorporated some search engine optimization techniques into your site but this is a great change to make sure that your geographic location is included. Unless you say on your site that you’re in Winnipeg Manitoba, it’s not automatically assumed that that is where you are.
There are several other local business resources as well. Google is the top priority, given its integration with organic search results and large market share. Start here and keep working forward on your local search efforts.