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A successful local marketing strategy requires more than just choosing a few general keywords and setting up pages on Facebook and Yelp. Small businesses and consumers are constantly getting smarter. So if you want to stay ahead of the competition and make sure local customers can find your business, your local marketing strategy has to evolve. Annie Pilon from SmallBizTrends.com has 10 tips for mastering local search marketing.

Small Business Trends recently spoke with David “Rev” Ciancio, director, industry insights for Yext, a company that helps businesses manage their digital knowledge and reputation everywhere it lives online including listings, maps, apps, Knowledge cards and more. During the conversation, Rev shared a number of helpful insights for small businesses looking to step up their local marketing efforts. Here are the top 10 tips.

Go Beyond Google My Business

Google isn’t the only place where all your business information should be listed and up-to-date. There are hundreds of them out there that  range from general sites like Yelp, Facebook and YP.com to ones meant for specific industries like TripAdvisor for hospitality businesses, and YaSabe, USA Yellow Pages site for Latinos.

Rev said overlooking these business listings is the number one mistake that local businesses make with their online marketing efforts. Yext offers a solution that can help you easily control and update all of your business listings across platforms. But even if you don’t choose to use a paid service, monitoring these listings manually should be a top marketing priority.

Scan Through Online Directories Regularly

Updating your digital knowledge isn’t just a one-time task either. You should sift through all the places online where your customers can find these facts about your brand regularly, especially if you’ve made any recent changes, like updating your holiday hours or adding a new service. Doing so should only take a few minutes if you are using Yext. If you are managing your digital knowledge manually, it will take much longer as you’ll need to update each intelligent service on its own..

Rev adds, “A lot of small businesses prioritize their marketing efforts upside down. It’s been reported that the average half-life of a Facebook post is about five and a half hours. Said another way, if I posted something on Facebook five and a half hours ago, there’s a good chance no one will ever see it again. A small business owner could spend hours crafting and monitoring social media posts and to ensure that customers and prospects see them, they should take the time to sift through these online networks to make sure their hours and other information is all correct and up-to-date. If someone can’t find their business in search, they’ll never see that beautiful Facebook post.”

Use Keywords

Keywords are a major component of any SEO marketing strategy. But when you think of the keywords to focus on for your local business, you have to go beyond just your industry and location.

Ciancio explains, “If you are a pizza shop then you obviously want to use keywords like pizza and restaurant because those words do still describe your business. But let’s say your pizza restaurant is also really kid-friendly — you have high chairs, booster seats, coloring books, kids menu options, changing tables in the bathrooms and a clown that comes in once a week. In that case, you’d also want to add ‘kid-friendly’ or other keywords to differentiate your restaurant.”

Add Reviews to Your Website

Reviews are another important part of local SEO. Sites like Google My Business and Facebook give customers an easy way to share their thoughts on your business. But how do you encourage more feedback? One option is to add a reviews section to your own website

Rev says, “You can have them on your own website too, you just have to follow the rules — you can’t sift through them. A third-party software can help you navigate these rules.

-Annie Pilon

To read more tips and access the full article, click here.

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