Search engine optimization is a highly competitive marketing strategy today. If you want to rank for the most relevant keywords for your niche, you're probably going up against major brands with giant SEO budgets.
Given this knowledge, it might seem like your chances of winning the SEO game are pretty bleak. But thanks to geo targeting, it's possible to rank well without the marketing arsenal of the world's biggest brands.
Target Location-Specific Keywords
The most powerful way to get around keyword competition and rank well in search is by targeting location-specific keywords.
Here's a successful case study of a business doing just that:
The Hauser-Ross Eye Institute & Surgicenter, located 45 minutes west of Chicago, recently launched their first ever SEO campaign. Their efforts brought them great success -- increasing their revenue in a major service category by more than 300% and increasing the number of procedures performed during the off season by 33.5%.
This was all achieved by taking highly competitive keywords such as "lasik surgery," and including less competitive but highly relevant additions related to their organization's location, "Sycamore."
This is a strategy that almost any business can leverage. All you have to do is find keywords that take into account user intent when searching, such as:
- Your ZIP or area code
- Community name or neighborhood
- Nearby landmarks
- Popular venues or tourist destination
- Well known streets that are close by
- Local jargon relevant to your community
All these terms can make it easier for people searching for businesses near you to discover your results in search.
Create Location-Specific Landing Pages
You can geo target keywords for organic search as well as your paid advertisements, but be sure to take advantage of this ultra-targeting by creating location-specific landing pages to go with them.
If someone clicks on your geo targeted ad and are taken to a generic landing page, this could cost you conversions. But if they click a banner and find themselves on a landing page customized to their location, your business will appear to be exactly what they're looking for. A great example of this is Kotton Grammer's page for Miami SEO.
There are even tools available to display relevant location-specific landing pages automatically based on where someone is searching from, making your website a highly targeted search result for every person who clicks.
Optimize for Google Local Search
Google estimates that roughly 73% of online activity has to do with local searches. This means it's very important for them to always display relevant local results in search.
Google offers "local pack" search results that appear above all the other organic results for search queries related to local listings. If you want your website to appear in this optimum real estate, then you need to sign up for Google My Business.
Make sure your business' name, address and phone number (NAP) are correct in Google My Business, as well as in other local online directories (like Yelp!). Google cross references these listings to determine your business' credibility -- and rank in local search.
Make an effort to seek reviews for your business on Google as well -- these will appear alongside your business listing in the local search pack.
Consider Using a Targeted Top Level Domain
Especially is your business is based outside of the US, using a targeted Top Level Domain (TLD) can be a valuable geo targeting tool.
Examples of a location-specific TDLs are .ca, .co.UK, .au, etc. If a searcher is located in the US and using Google.com to search, your .ca URL probably won't rank very well. But if the searcher is using Google.ca for the same keywords, your TLD will become much more relevant in results.
There are pros and cons to using a location-specific TDL. If it's worthwhile for your business to target a specific country, then there's a benefit of easily ranking for your preferred target location. For businesses targeting several countries, the method might not be worthwhile.
The fact remains that SEO is and will continue to be a competitive marketing tactic. But it's easier than ever find a way to rank well when you focus on relevancy more than competing for the most popular keywords.
Follow the advice in this post to win the SEO game without having to break your marketing budget to do it.