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If you own a local business, increased website traffic is not necessarily a good measure of online marketing success. After all, if you’re an electrician in Chicago, who cares if you’re getting more website traffic from China!
For a local business, the real measure of online marketing success is leads within your service area. In order to get them, you need more website visits from people within your service area. Before I tell you how to get more website visits in your service area, let’s get you some baseline data.
Using Google Analytics to Figure Out Website Visits in Your Service Area
To get the number of visits within your service area, you will need to create an advanced segment. If you haven’t done this before, it’s a simple 5-step process—and you only have to do it once!
1. In the Audience Overview report, click the arrow next to “All Sessions” along the top:
2. Then, click the “Create New Segment” button:
3. Name your segment—I would suggest something like Visits within Service Area:
4. Define your service area in the Demographics section.
a. Decide if your service area is a Region (state or multiple states) or City (can be one or multiple) and select the appropriate choice:
b. Decide if your service area is a single region or city or it its multiple regions or cities
a. If you are selecting a single region or city, choose “contains” and then select the one within your service area:
b. If you are selecting multiple regions or multiple cities, choose “matches regex” and type in the regions or cities you want to include separated by “|”:
5. Save your segment:
Now, when you apply that segment, you will see Visits within Service Area separated out from All Sessions:
How to Get More Website Visits in Your Service Area with Pay Per Click
I’m going to start with pay per click (PPC) because it has many different advanced targeting options that aren’t available with search engine optimization (SEO). The one we’re most interested in here is the ability to target ONLY people in your service area. We call it a geo-qualified PPC campaign.
Some businesses can surely benefit from broader keywords, but for most local businesses, geo-qualified PPC campaigns are extremely important for quality leads at a lower cost. For most home services companies, your services aren’t going to benefit someone several states away.
Targeting only the cities, counties, states, and zip codes you serve with your PPC campaign will help you generate more relevant traffic—which will ultimately help you
- Increase your account’s Quality Score
- Lower your bounce rate
- Increase online conversions
- Get more qualified leads from the web
By limiting your PPC advertising to a defined geographic area, you can focus your marketing budget on the areas that matter most to you—this is extremely ideal for small businesses with small marketing budgets. In general, the more focused the keyword, the more qualified the traffic.
How to Get More Visits in Your Service Area with SEO
I can’t tell you how many businesses have come to Blue Corona with hardly any mentions of their service area on their website. Sure, they might have their address in the site footer, but there are other places where your service area needs to go. For example:
- Title tag – Every page of your website has a title tag, which tells the search engines what your page is about. The page title is indicated in your site’s code and is displayed in the browser. It is also used by other sites like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing as the link text for your page displayed in the search engine results. The text in the title tag is weighed more heavily than other text on your page, so it’s important to have your service area in your title tag.
- Meta description – The meta description is similar to the page title but does not show up in the browser or on the web page itself. It is specified in your site’s code and displayed by the search engines in the search results under the page title and URL. Words used to perform the search are bolded in the meta description; so if someone is looking for “electricians in Chicago” and you have that phrase in your meta description, Google will bold it.
- Heading tags – Heading tags are used to mark up content on your website. Just like title tags, the text in heading tags is weighed more heavily than other text on your page, so it’s a good idea to mention your service area in at least some of your heading tags.
- Body copy – Try not to look spammy, but you can mention your service area in your body copy as well. For example, “We’ve offered exceptional electrical services to the Chicago area for over 75 years!”
You can also add unique landing pages for each major city that you service. We call these geo-targeted pages, and my coworker Brandon explains them beautifully if you want to click that link.
By adding more mentions of your service area on your website, you increase your on-page keyword density for geo-modified searches. If you have several mentions of “Chicago” and “electrician” on your page, Google will perceive your website as more relevant for searches with those keywords.
Local SEO refers to strategies used to get your business in the “7-pack” of Google’s local search/map results. These seven local listings often appear before the organic listings, leading to better click-through-rates for your company from potential customers.
I’ve seen many companies that rank fantastically in organic results, but fail to populate within the local search results. That’s because Google uses a slightly different algorithm for its local search results than it uses for its organic (non-paid) search results.
In order to get your business in local search results, you need:
- A Google My Business page – (Previously referred to as a Google Places or Google+ Page) Not only should you have one, but it should be filled out as completely as possible. Most importantly, don’t skimp on your business categories!
- Consistent citation and NAP (name, address, phone) data across the web – Google likes to make sure that you’re a real business, so it looks for consistent business info across online directories like Facebook, Yelp, Bing, and more. An example of an inconsistency would be having a Facebook page that says “ABC Heating” and having a Yelp listing that says “ABC Heating, Cooling & Electric.”
- To be located in close proximity to the searcher – Say you’re a plumber located in Bethesda, MD and you’re willing to travel all the way to Frederick to complete plumbing jobs. Unfortunately, because your business location is in Bethesda, it’s probably going to be difficult for you to rank in Frederick local search results. Basically, it helps if your physical address is in the city the search is performed.
- To have reviews (preferably positive ones!) on local directories – I just did a quick search for “plumbers in Las Vegas.” The top listing had 38 Google reviews!
- A website optimized for your location – This is what I talked about above—including your service area in those main areas of your website’s pages.
Want to Get More Website Visits in Your Service Area?
Blue Corona has extensive experience getting local businesses more visits, leads, and sales from their service area with both pay per click and SEO. How can you get started? With a free competitor analysis!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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