Search engines are where the majority of people with easy access to the internet automatically turn to when they want to find some information. They may be looking for a top-rated dog walker, a 24/7 dry cleaner, a close by vegan restaurant or any number of other things, but they all want to get that information fast.

For businesses the conundrum is all about how to get themselves noticed in a market which is generally quite crowded. A Google search which throws out 25 pages of results isn’t likely to greatly excite the businesses who feature on pages 2 – 25. Everyone is competing to make page one, but even then they need to compete against ‘sponsored’ (paid for) ads which masquerade as genuine results and can easily fool casual browsers.

Only the luckiest of the lot can rank that highly, but by concentrating on promoting local connections a business can probably improve their search engine rankings and attract more genuine traffic to their site.

So what’s the secret?

While there is no magic wand to wave, a locally based New York City business may well find that by adjusting their SEO/keyword strategies to rank for keywords related to NYC itself will help them attract a bigger share of the web browsing market. Considering that just under half of all internet searches are thought to be connected to local places or services this is something major that any business with an online presence needs to be exploiting.

Here we look at how this works to learn more about why what is known as a ‘local search’ is so important, and how a New York City business can make the best use of this type of opportunity from theory into action.

How ranking high for NYC related keywords is vital if you have a local New York City business

There’s nothing more frustrating than looking for a local product seller or service provider only to find that the top ranking searches are either not great matches or sometimes not even particularly local. In part this is due to the influence of sponsored results – which we touched on briefly already, and partly down to huge national companies having so much more opportunity to gain keyword status and traffic, both of which help secure their chances of a top spot. However, all is not lost, as getting the local keywords right can make a huge difference and bring many benefits.

Benefit #1 – It taps into the way people are searching

Most people are pretty lazy when it comes to search engines, but this isn’t a bad thing for business owners if they have content which is local keywords SEO rich. This is because when someone types say ‘Italian restaurants … then before they can add more detail Google tends to helpfully offer to finish the sentence with ‘near me’, and automatically start the search. Now presuming that Google has also correctly identified your location you are going to have a list of possible eateries on the screen within seconds.   

Alternatively, of course, someone may wish to type the exact name of their target local area, such as ‘Italian restaurants in New York City’, or they may not be actually living in that area but still want the information – which obviously a ‘near me’ search wouldn’t be suitable for.

Benefit #2 – There’s the opportunity to exploit more angles

For example, keywords can be chosen to capture the market for searches which are even more specific, such as ‘vegan food at New York City Italian restaurants’, or ‘child-friendly NYC Italian restaurants’. It’s important to consider all aspects of your business and make sure there’s a way those searching can tap into things which competitors may not offer – or offer but not actually bother to promote.

Benefit #3 – Local searchers are looking to spend

Unlike general selling sites it seems that those browsing via a local area search are not idly passing the time, but active would-be spenders, and almost three-quarters of them go to a land-based store in their locale as a result of the search.

How to exploit local search SEO opportunities to benefit your business

There are plenty of things you can do to make the most out of this potentially lucrative opportunity, although if you lack the time, skills, or energy to design, launch and monitor this you can always hire New York SEO experts to take care of things for you.

Make the most of Google

For example, there’s a free listing available via ‘Google My Business’ which will be shown to those looking for you by name or by relevant search terms/keywords. With three-quarters of all searches being run through this mega search engine it’s well worth claiming this for your business.

Add your business to online directories

There are certainly plenty of these around, and a surprisingly large number of businesses are not listed on them. That’s a serious oversight as not only does being listed raise the credibility of your business,(if you add your name, business address and a contact number), it also acts as a place for satisfied customers to leave ratings and reviews. Of course, all these things boost your SEO presence too.

Work your location into website content in a natural way

There are very simple ways to do this, such as making sure your full physical business address (if you have one) appears in a natural looking place on all or most of your website pages. Then there are approaches which involve a bit of effort, like making sure website and/or blog content has a decent amount of local keywords which are used strategically so they seem natural. Go too far and you risk being penalized for keyword stuffing. Don’t forget to add your local keywords to the article or page title, major headings and in the meta description.

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