5 Things You Need to Grow a Local Presence

Developing a local web presence is essential for your business to sustain a competitive advantage in your community and surrounding areas.

What Is Local Presence?

Local presence is making your website and mobile site ready to find for nearby online searchers. That means that people who are searching for information, products and services in the area near to your home or satellite office or place of business can readily find your website or mobile site.

One out of every five searches is local, according to Google. This is the type of search in which the searcher types the city or town for the product or service in which they are seeking. If you sell what the searcher is seeking, then it is important that your website or mobile site appears in the results of that search.

You can connect with these prospective customers who search for nearby companies by making your website and mobile site local-friendly. You can grow your local presence by doing the following five things:

#1 Website and Mobile Site Content

Growing a local presence starts with the content in both your website and mobile site.
Make sure you include your street address, phone number and hours of operation on every page. Add photos, videos and links in your site(s), especially those that pertain to the customer base nearby.

List the areas you serve. This means listing the cities and towns in your county or surrounding counties in which you serve customers.

You should also include a map showing where you are located. If you are a retail business, this can help customers find your store faster so you can increase your brick-n-mortar traffic. Creating a geo sitemap and KML file for your website can make it easy for Google to find out where you are. All you need to do is go to the Geo Sitemap Generator, and fill in your company details such as your company name and address. Then, download the files and upload them to your website’s root folder. After that, go to Google Webmaster Tools to add your website and your geo sitemap’s URL under Site Configuration > Sitemaps.

Having a mobile site is incredibly vital for growing your local presence. That’s because in a 2012 study, Google and Ipsos OTX Media CT found that 94% of smartphone users look for information about nearby businesses on their phones. Among these searchers, 90% take action.

In a more recent study in 2013, Nielsen and Google found that nearly 75% of mobile searches trigger follow-up actions such as a purchase, store visit, phone call, referral or further research. In fact, 55% of these actions take place within one hour of the mobile search. Moreover, most follow-up searches occur during afternoons and evenings with 77% of searchers at home or work where a PC is available.

If you don’t have both a website and a mobile site, make this a priority in your business plan.

#2 Work Your Google My Business Profile

Google may have gotten rid of Google+, but make no mistake about the importance of its local platform: Google My Business (GMB). You absolutely must claim your business's GMB profile (Google probably already created one for you) and get active with it. Maintaining a robust GMB listing improves your website's chances to rank higher in local, organic searches. 
Even better, Google also provides business owners with a suite of marketing tools to use on the GMB platform, intended to help you convert web searchers to customers. These tools mean that your business's GMB listing is more than a mini-website sharing contact info and directions. Google built GMB to help you drive new customers to your business, not just traffic to your website. But you need to claim your GMB listing to use them.
Here are five things you can do right now to get your GMB profile going:
  1. Claim it.
  2. Fill out your listing with complete and accurate information, including linking it to your website and social media.
  3. Upload pictures and images.
  4. Use GMB's blog post function to upload announcements, promotions, and valuable information your prospects want to know to your listing.
  5. Set up alerts so you get notified when someone posts a question or review to your GMB listing. Then respond. These are sections where prospects and customers can interact directly with you.
GMB is the Internet's local business directory. The more active your business is on its GMB listing, the more Google likes your business – and that can't be bad.

#3 Encourage Ratings and Reviews of Your Site

A third way to grow your local presence is by encouraging ratings and reviews of your website and mobile site. You can do this by listing your business in various directories that contain ratings and review features.

Many consumers go to these ratings and review sections to see what other people have said about their experiences with your products and services. A positive review can support their purchase, whereas a negative review may discourage their purchase. This is why encouraging your customers to provide an excellent rating and express a favorable review can help you win new business from new customers.

Nonetheless, you’ll need to monitor what customers say about your business. Send a note of gratitude for customers who write positive reviews and appreciate customers who express negative reviews. You might learn some things that can better your business.

#4 Spread the Word with Social Media

Building a local fan following can help you generate word of mouth advertising and referrals. Create an account and develop a local social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Make sure to add your address, phone number, website and mobile site URLs in each of your social media accounts.


Slogan: Support your local disc jockey

Get involved in conversations. Start by inviting your friends and contacts to visit your social media sites. Become a fan or follower of other businesses in your area. Interact with their fans and be sure to promote your company products and services.

If you have the budget, you should advertise to your audience on these sites. Always include your social media sites in your emails and on your website and mobile site.

#5 Local Search Engine Marketing

Pay-per-click advertising on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing can increase awareness of your presence to local searchers. PPC advertising allows your company to target your area audience. Choose the keywords searchers use that are most related to your business and its products and services. Your advertisement will show up on the search engines when searchers use these keywords. You’ll likely have a competitive advantage because so few local companies capitalize on this opportunity. If you do, you’ll be one step ahead in getting new business from searchers near your office.

What’s Next?

Your next step is to execute these five things. When you do, you’ll be able to start growing a local presence.

Eric Wagner

While Eric now focuses on internet marketing, he also has a background in web development. He loves being among the first to find out about new tech—and better yet, being a part of making that tech succeed. Eric is known to be a good listener, seeking to understand how each individual sees the world. He is a harmonizer in group settings, cultivating unity while constructing the overall goal and strategy. When he’s not busy helping i7 clients dominate the online marketplace, Eric enjoys drone videography (he’s got a UAV pilot’s license), woodworking, community service, and all things outdoors.

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