Local online marketing for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) has certainly taken a higher priority now than ever before. In fact, this is a booming marketplace for local SEOs and digital marketers who are looking to carve themselves into this niche.
Since digital marketing changes at an accelerated pace as compared to many traditional marketing methods, it’s important to understand what’s moving the needle right now, as opposed to what’s worked in the past. When I’m asked to work with a local SMB, I like to consult David Mihm’s annual local search ranking factors survey as a basis point when creating a plan of attack.
Mihm’s local search ranking factors list utilizes 30 of the best minds in the business to rank what’s most important right now in local search marketing. In addition, he lists what’s more helpful this year versus what’s losing strength for marketers.
Among the most recent top ten recommended search factors are four items on your Google Place page. Google has definitely increased the relevance of local Place pages, so it’s now essential to properly manage the content that is included on your page, making sure it exactly matches the information you’re providing to other information providers.
Four additional items in Mihm’s top ten list relate to content on your website. Having consistent, crawlable contact information on your site including physical address and phone number is a must. Another factor is the page rank of your site, which is dictated in large part to the quantity and quality of your content. This is now truer than ever with the recent Google Panda freshness updates.
The final group from Mihm’s top ten covers off-place, off-site factors such as citations and inbound links. Both of these initiatives are essential, yet come with a large investment in time. Implementing a content, citation and link-building program is where a local SMB could really use a local marketing expert. Local marketers who take this burden away in a cost-effective manner could see a long line to their door in the months and years ahead.