How to Convert Web Traffic into Foot Traffic

How do you SEO?

If you have a website, you might have spent some time adding keywords to your content to make your site easier for search engines to understand and categorize. This process, called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), helps your site rank higher in relevant searches. Yet, what if, in addition to your website, you have a retail establishment or storefront that you need filled with customers?

SEO that gets you found by consumers across the country (or the world) might not help you in the local marketplace. You need SEO that covers both organic searches and local directory searches.

So what’s the difference?

Organic Searches: Organic search results are the (unpaid) listings on a search results page ranked by relevance to your search terms.

Local Directory Searches: Think of these as the online version of a phone directory. Local directory searches are made by consumers looking for products and services within a specific geographic area. For example, someone searching for the terms “house cleaning Philadelphia” is trying to find a cleaning service within a precise area.

Optimizing your SEO for local searches helps target your business listing to regional consumers. According to some experts, 97% of consumers currently search for local businesses online versus any other method.

The same basic rules apply to local SEO as organic SEO.  The main distinction is putting more emphasis on your location. The following are the three fundamentals of optimizing your website for local searches:

  1. Identify Target Words and Phrases – local search terms build from your existing SEO keywords with your specific geographic information. Use your city, state and zip code in your content and in your meta tags along with your main keywords and phrases.
  2. Promote Your Location – as with real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. Mention your location and phone number (within reason) on your contact and about webpages as well as in relevant content.
  3. Claim Your Business Directory Pages – Yelp, Google Places, Bing Local, and Yahoo! Local are all local business directories designed for local searches; all you need to do is complete your profile and maintain it for accuracy.

Top online marketing experts are noting an increase in mobile searches as more and more consumers are searching for products and services on their phones while out and about. Many of these searches lead to local business directories or are performed directly through the local directories, rather than on the general Google/Bing/Yahoo homepages.

To capture some of this foot traffic, there are a few basic things you want to include in your local directory pages:

  • The basics of what you offer
  • Your contact information
  • Images and descriptions

As with any directory, it’s vital to keep your contact information up to date (nothing is worse than traveling to an address you found online, only to find the business has closed or moved).

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