New York City has over 250 zip codes spread throughout the boroughs. Manhattan alone has 41! When going after a local market with your SEO, best practice dictates that you incorporate your zip code into your content to help narrow it down. After all, if you're a pizza joint in Manhattan having someone who lives in the Bronx come to your site doesn't really help you or them (unless you have exceptional delivery drivers!) NYC pizza might be the Holy Grail of keywords for your industry, but is it really the right local keyword for you?
1. Get Extra Specific
Obviously if you are a pizza restaurant in New Haven, CT you don't need to focus your SEO down to a specific neighbourhood, but when you work in a metropolitan area like NYC it pays to go hyper local with your SEO.
Chances are people aren't going to hightail it across Manhattan for a piece of pizza (more power to you if they are!). After niching your SEO down from NYC to Manhattan, take it a step further and focus on the neighbourhoods (like the Upper West Side or the East Village) you serve. This will help ensure the right customers are finding your website.
You could list which subway or bus stations are the closest to your location, or even provide a few local landmarks to help people find both your website and physical location.
2. Get Involved In Your Neighbourhood
Everything you do, both online and off, can be leveraged for SEO.
Are there any local events you can participate in/contribute to that will help with your local branding AND build a few links to your website? Maybe your pizza place can cater the neighbourhood block party — its a great way to get everyone in the community to at least try your products and maybe get a shout out on a local news or neighbourhood website.
Are there any other local business you can form partnerships with to help your local branding and SEO? This kind of cross promotion can be great for business. Maybe your pizza restaurant could host a pizza-off with other pizza joints in the area and invite local families to be the judges.
3. Get Social
When you live and work in a local area, social media is a fantastic way to connect with your community.
Post updates about what is going on in your store, share other local events, have conversations with your customers and local leaders and more! Social signals are becoming increasingly important for SEO so the more times your content is shared on social sites the more valuable it becomes to the search engines.
For instance, maybe you write a blog post about the proper way to toss pizza dough. Maybe it gets picked up by a local food blogger who posts it on their Facebook page. Their readers can share your post (and visit your website!) on the social network of their choice, creating more social signals and links for your site. You could then reach out to that food blogger and see if they'd be willing to write a review of your pizza and get even more content out there.
4. Get Reviews
Don't just hope a blogger will come in and review your business! Ask loyal fans to write a quick review on Yelp, Google and other local review sites about their experiences. Reviews are incredibly influential, both in the B2B and B2C worlds.
Think about when you go looking for a new pizza place to try — how many reviews do you read (or at least skim) before you pick a place? Consumers use reviews to help ensure they make the right choice and spend their money where they're bound to be happy with the result. Real customer reviews are essential for local SEO. And as a thank you, give customers that review your business 15% off their next order!
These are just four ways to get hyper local with your SEO. When your customers live and work in a very specific community its important to go after that location is as many ways as possible with your SEO. The stronger presence you can build online and off the better success you'll have over time.
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Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, a full-service web marketing and Boston SEO services firm. With over 12 years of experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting SEO tips to his company blog, the Brick Marketing Blog, and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.