After moving to Habiganj, I have setup an office here. The office is the Academy serving local people with resources and courses related to web marketing. Now I have to invest my time into local SEO.
Yes local SEO matters, people are using the web on the go. Search engines and social networks know the location of their users and therefore they want to show relevant results in that location.
When I was in Dhaka, planning to move to Habiganj, I did a lot of research about local places in Habiganj. I wanted to gather as much info I could on the internet without asking a friend or making a phone call.
So think about it, people from all over Bangladesh, or around the globe are doing online search for local places.
Can you afford losing that kind of digital exposure?
Let me bring you some of my findings and what I am doing to optimize my local SEO, both for my Academy and for my clients,
Google Maps/Google My Business
This is a no-brainer. If you have a physical office, or store you must have your business listed on google maps. If you are serving customers in that area, then google may show your business on google maps as well.
Creating a google map listing is free. Just go to google maps/my business, and search for your business. If it is already there, just claim it. If not then create your business in the map and then move on to the claiming process.
Most businesses already show up on maps, you have to claim the business to add more information like pictures, hours and manage the reviews.
Claiming a business: Google will send you a postcard at your business location. The postcard will have a verification code. Enter the code into your google my business account and your business will be verified.
When someone searches for a business/store in that area, e.g: Doctors in Dhanmondi, then your listing will have the chance to show up alongside other business owners.
I added my Academy in google maps and now waiting for the post card verification.
A Website is a Must Have for a Local Business
Google map listing is good, but it has limited features. Your customers want to learn more about your services before they even contact you. You need a website to showcase your products/services.
In your website you can share every detail about your business, your story, how to contact/visit you, testimonials, relevant images and any helpful information.
Your website should be linked to from your google map listing. When people search for your website on google, a map may also show up next to your web listing -making it an even better experience.
I have used a sub-domain for my academy: academy.tamalanwar.com for my Academy’s website in Google Maps. Let me see how that works out.
Update: I am now using the main domain for my Academy website, which is AcademyBD.com
Verifying your website in google maps: If your website is already verified via google search console from the same gmail account, you don’t have to do anything else. Otherwise you have to open a search console account to verify it.
Optimizing Your Website for Local
These are some more optimizations you can do for better local SEO results,
- Use your country domain name, such as .com.bd, .co.uk, .co.in or .ca
- Change your target country in google search console. So that your website will appear more for people searching from that specific country.
- Use your native language in your website. I may use Bangla to write the copy of my website.
- If your website content is in your native language, then use the language tag in your website and in search console.
- Use a data center/web server which is located in your location (or close to your location)
I was unable to do any of these tweaks for my Academy site, since it’s a part of my main website, which is made for global audience.
Create a Facebook Local Business Page
You can’t ignore Facebook these days. A large part of the world thinks Facebook IS the internet. Create a page for your business and set the category to “Local Businesses.” This will give you the option to make it a local place and have check ins.
Check-ins are a cool thing in social media. People can check in from your business location or from the web. Just like google maps, you can add your address and a map marker in Facebook page. This will make it easier for your customers to find your store.
Use your Facebook page regularly as a way to broadcast and interact with your customers. Ask your customers to check-in to your page and leave reviews. When they check-in -their friends will see it and learn about your business.
I have created a Facebook page for my Academy and have employed these tactics. In my country most people who are online use Facebook. So most of my marketing for the Academy is happening in my Facebook page.
Local directories/yellow pages: Get your business listed in local directories, web sites dedicated to local businesses or yellow pages. The more incoming links your website receives, the better visibility you get from google and other search engines.
Bing Places: Add your business to Bing Places. It’s a competitor of Google maps and Facebook uses Bing Maps in their network. So it’s worth your time to have your business listed in Bing maps. Unfortunately Bing Places is not available in my country Bangladesh. What you can do is to go to Bing Places website and ask them to add Bangladesh in their services.
FourSquare: Another hip check-in app. Add your business for free in FourSquare. However they require a $20 fee to be able to manage your business. I added my Academy over there but haven’t paid them.
Yelp: If your business is in the United States, you can list it on Yelp. Yelp is a popular local search engine and app. You should definitely have your business listed on that place.
Publish Local Targeted Content: If you want more local customers coming to you via organic search, publish local content. By local content I mean things which are relevant to your local audience or an article that talks about the local area.
Have Your Say
Do you manage a local business or store? Are you using the internet to reach local customers? Let me know your thoughts and give me some more tips about how to further optimize for local SEO. Your feedback will be appreciated.