There’s local SEO, and then there’s hyper-local SEO practices that drill down even further. What’s the difference? While there are several differences between local and hyper-local approaches, the biggest one is that hyper-local SEO tends to be targeted to a very small area. While local SEO focuses on entire zip codes, metropolitan areas, or even states, hyper-local SEO focuses like a laser on specific towns, communities, or groups of shoppers. Its target audience is smaller, but its approach is more specific, which means a robust target audience that’s more likely to stop in and take advantage of a company’s local offerings.
How to Hyper-Localize: A Guide for Beginners
- Embrace the long-tail keyword: Google will often fill in a customer’s location data for then, in the background, when they perform a search for something that a local business sells or offers. That’s not good enough for hyper-localized SEO, however. To participate in this narrower approach, businesses should embrace the power of hyper-local, long-tail keywords. Add a specific town or urban neighborhood to traditional keywords, and drive visits to the site in a new, far more local way.
- Get rid of generic content: Every website owner has experienced the crush of content deadlines in an effort to improve their SEO. Often, these deadlines are met by producing more generic content that doesn’t recognize local customers, cultures, and customs. While it works for general SEO and can produce great results for an overall Google ranking performance, it’s nowhere near “best practice” status for hyper-localization.
In order to draw hyper-local customers, the website itself must be targeted to hyper-local shoppers. That means using local words and phrases, embracing the local culture when crafting the tone of blog posts, and making a connection between the company’s products and its hyper-local uses in the community. This approach is perhaps best taken on landing pages tied to each specific retail outlet. Google will pick up on this and reward it with higher rankings in search, better performance in the “local box” and a trickle-down ranking boost for the rest of the company’s pages.
- Embrace the deal site: Sites like Groupon present an excellent opportunity for hyper-localization, because they allow website owners to offer discounts on specific products and services to customers in a very narrow geographic area. Deal sites can target specific cities, suburbs, or rural areas, reaching customers who are within a very short drive of the business and driving both inbound link traffic and lucrative in-store visits.
- Citations, citations, citations: When it comes to hyper-localization, citations are key. For business owners targeting a narrow geographic area, this means getting listed in key business directories in the community. These directories, and social review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, can help the company increase its visibility in hyper-local searches and the Google “local pack” box above geo-targeted search results.
- Testing and more testing: Don’t settle for implementing a strategy that “seems” effective in a hyper-local sense. Instead, commit to ongoing testing of new approaches that target the local customer. Whether it’s an A/B test of display advertising and hyper-local keywords, or simply an occasional local search to see what comes up in Google’s search results, it’s important to see what others are seeing and analyze what is most effective.
Go Beyond Local SEO to Reach Hyper-Local Customers
The hyper-local approach to search engine optimization has gained in popularity over the past several years as Google’s local search product has really taken off. Add in the restriction of the “local pack” to just three results from its original seven, and it’s easy to see why many businesses are moving to hyper-localize and reduce their natural competitors. By following these key strategies, it’s possible to target an even narrower segment of customers, improve search engine performance, and increase overall ROI.