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Getting better conversions with location-based SEO

Marketers often get a lot of exposure and traffic to their website, but the actual conversions they receive may be much lower than they hope. The problem isn't always the amount of traffic they are receiving, but who is actually coming to their website. One of the most common problems entrepreneurs face is that they are reaching people outside their zone of business.

A photographer I know told me that his website gets tens of thousands of visitors a month. Unfortunately, the traffic he is getting is coming from people at least 500 miles away. I told him that he needs to focus on developing a location-based marketing strategy so that he can reach people in the San Francisco area.

Any online business should try to have a good SEO strategy. Customers who come to a website through a search engine are usually looking to buy, as opposed to those who stumbled upon the site randomly. Local businesses should target search terms that are more likely to appeal to their target audience. You need to be much more creative when you are targeting a more specific geographical audience.

Here are a few approaches that should work for you:

* Incorporate the name of the area into your keywords. This is the most obvious localized SEO strategy. Unfortunately, you are likely to find that the competition for these keywords is likely to be very high. Other local businesses probably feel that they don't have many options for optimizing their site online and are likely to choose the same search terms.
* Try targeting other sites of interest than cities or regions. If you are a business that is trying to market to local college students, don't bother with the name of the city. Choose keywords specific to that school. You will probably find that you will get much better conversions that way and target a keyword none of your competitors are looking at.
* Think about your competitors in your search results. This may sound crazy, but if people search for your competitor and your name comes up right under theirs, they will be reminded of the fact that they have another option. They may be tempted to give you a second look.
* Utilize long-tail searches that include your customers in them. One of the search terms my friend used was "photographers for weddings in San Francisco." Believe it or not, this long-tail search term worked well for him because enough people were searching for it. There were also so many fewer photographers marketing to that audience and almost none of them thought to use that term with SEO to reach their clients.

SEO strategies operate the same regardless of what your keywords are. Also remember to set up a good profile for your business. When you are a local business, you need to be more personal with your portrayal and business profile. You won't be able to encourage someone to visit your store and buy from you if you can't connect with them personally online.

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