Building Your Local Reputation Online
Step 3: Participate in Online Local Community
As mentioned in our previous blog post about blog comment strategy, participating in online community that is relevant to your business and industry is a key way to increase your online visibility.
Blog comment strategy was discussed as a way to build relevant links to your site and to increase visitors within a targeted industry.
In local search optimization, your participation does not have to lead to obtaining a link, but it should lead to increasing your business name’s relevancy to your local information such as your address, local phone number, city, or any other neighborhood area names. The ideal local business profile would be the following, as demonstrated on this local ABC Chennel 7’s special Valentine’s Day coverage web page:
Your Business Title
City, State Zip Code
(Local Area Code) Phone Number
Link to Your Website
Obtaining your local information on other websites doesn’t have to wait till another Valentine’s Day coverage of local broadcast station website. You can start with free online local directory that offer reviews and generate good traffic, such as Yelp.
The key to obtaining local references is to make sure those sites are crawled by Google for local content. Since local references do not get a link back, if a local directory site is not on the list to be crawled by Google for local content, your efforts to build local relevancy for local SEO won’t be so effective.
One of the ways to check is to look through “Web Pages” tab when you search for a relevant local keyword in Google Maps.
In the example above, you can tell SignOnSanDiego.com is one of the San Diego local sites that are crawled to find local business information, by looking at the Web Pages tab.
One thing you need to keep in mind in building your local relevancy through an off-page SEO campaign is that you should not just pick the local listing ranked at #1 and try to obtain all the local references that company has. Your company is unique from any other local companies, and it should be reflected in your local reference portfolio. You should have a unique combination of keywords and service areas, and optimizing for those local keywords to reach your targeted local audience should naturally lead to having a unique local reference portfolio. Besides, if you just follow them, you will never get ahead of them.
To be unique and outstanding, your local reference portfolio shouldn’t be just about Internet Yellow Pages or few major local directories. Be active in your online local community to find more local resources your locals visitor to find local information and contribute helpful content about your industry, and your local references should naturally grow with the trust you gain within the community.
Overall, optimizing for local search engines offers an opportunity to turn online traffic into your offline visitors, and in the process of local search optimization, you will get plenty of chances to create buzz about your business and gain trust as an industry expert within your online local community.