Should you be craving a good cocktail, you’ll probably take out your phone on the spot and type “best cocktail bar” into Google. What comes up? Surely, the top results aren’t the best cocktail bars in the country ―or rather, the whole world. They most likely are locally-owned bars in your city, in close proximity to your area. Right? Right. And that’s local SEO for you.
Given that you’re reading this article, you want to find out how to advertise your New York-based business to the locals, by using the power of SEO. But first, you’ll need to understand the basic principles and what lies beyond online ads.
What exactly is local SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a strategy intended to help your business show up in online searches. According to a renowned SEO expert on Long Island, local SEO is a part of this process with an emphasis on the improvement of local business’ visibility in search engine results, targeting specific audiences in your area. This means that the results appearing on the top of online searches kind of fill in “…near me” for you after you type what you’re searching for ―therefore, “best cocktail bars (near me)” is actually searched, since the engine sets some geographic constraints.
By the means of local search optimization strategies, any business can improve its visibility in local search results and therefore promote its services and products to the local clientele.
Why Is Local SEO Important for Small Businesses?
Small New York companies and basically every business that’s not part of a large franchise are bound to be in need of advertising with a target group in mind, especially if it’s new.
Every day, people perform Google searches with the results pointing out specific local businesses. In fact, Google searches involving the phrase “near me” have seen a massive increase during the past few years; in response, Google started putting an emphasis on results for geographically-related searches based on relevance, prominence, and most importantly, proximity.
In a few words, your business will show up on anyone who’s doing the search close to your facilities, if you’re offering what they need and have optimized local listings; plus, most people are likely to pick a business in close proximity to them ―so it’s a win-win.
Furthermore, it’s a cost-effective marketing solution.
You would have to invest some effort and a lot of working hours in order to upgrade your business information in online directories and set up local listings, but you can use simple and free tools like
Google My Business and Facebook ―and other solutions for cost-effective online advertising. Plus, if your business shows up in Google Maps, customers are more likely to be led to you.
How To Improve Your NYC Local SEO
There are numerous ways to boost your NYC business in terms of visibility in local SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and most are easier than you would expect. To name the top three, you should:
Create accurate online citations
Local citations are created when the name, address and phone number of your business are mentioned online.
A simple first step would be to set up local business listings in most major search engines, as well as in online directories: having accurate listings in Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp and Bing Places will make sure a potential customer verifies that your business is legitimate and trustworthy.
Look into keyword research
Local SEO is no different than regular SEO; it’s based on keyword research, content, links and technical features. If you want to outperform other local businesses, those basic elements are the most necessary features for your website.
When it comes to local strategies, these parts need special optimization in order to obtain a local focus, emphasizing searches conducted in close proximity to the location of your business.
In general, you’ll need to think ahead. For example, if your industry is service-oriented, you should go for keyword variations that include questions, like “where can I find the best [SERVICE] near me”, as most users nowadays tend to ask their voice-operated smartphones questions instead of typing.
Respond to all reviews
Finally, it would be incredibly beneficial for your up-and-coming NYC business if you took the time to respond to online customer reviews. This gesture shows that you care and have your clients’ best interest in mind, while it can also be a positive sign for local search rank. Getting a lot of customer reviews may require some time at first, but once the first few are in, you should be ready to respond and take into account all feedback ―whether good or bad.