Geomarketing: Digital Marketing for Local Businesses (Part 1)

Geomarketing

Geomarketing is a fancy schmancy word, with a fancy schmancy definition. However, as a local business, it is something that absolutely needs to be part of your digital marketing strategy. You are wasting time and money if you are not targeting local consumers with pinpoint accuracy.

If you are a local shop owner, you will most likely want most of your company’s web traffic coming from local people, who will then visit your local business. Does that sound right? Geomarketing is a technique small, local shop owners need to learn.  

A local business, having been around almost any amount of time, has a good chance that Google and Bing are already doing some of your geomarketing for them. When a person searches, either on their computer or phone, for “[something] near me”, the search engines will list known local businesses near than person.

Pizza near me

If a person searches “[name of business] in [some town]”, Google will give them the local business’ address and phone number, with a map location. Would it make sense if your business also showed up with almost any local search? Geomarketing can do this.

Some of the best free advertising for a local business is coming up in seemingly unrelated local search results. Imagine someone in your area is searching for when is the next Community Yard Sale Day, and your business website pops up on the first page of results, maybe even in the first spot.

That would be a pair of eyes seeing your name, reminding them you exist, that would not have normally seen your listing, and who is now thinking you. Does that have value? This is part of geomarketing, I’m going to tell you how to do it.

Geomarketing using Local SEO

Searching Google, Bing, or another search engine for a pizza place, salon, or even a plumber will result in a list of whatever the specific type of business is within the local community. These listing are off-the-cuff and without planning by the business.

However, in order to receive the highest ranking possible for your website, Google and Bing need things like the exact location, the hours of operation, and the type of your business placed hard coded and prominently displayed on your site.

We want to ensure Google and the other search engines have the exact, most up to date information, and to do this it needs to be on your company website.

HTML Geo-Tags

Geo Meta Tags should always be used when targeting a specific location for geomarketing and search engine optimization. However, there have been statements by Google, and others, that Geo Meta Tags are “generally not used” because they often contain the wrong information.

However, “generally not used” is not the same as not used at all. It is just weighted lower. All things being equal, a site with the correct information in the meta tags should rate higher than one without. Correct geomarketing will take advantage of even the smallest, most overlooked elements.

Below is an example of Geo Meta Tags with the exact location of a small business called Pizza Villa in Parkesburg, PA. It is not on their website, but it should be.

Place after <head> and before </head>:

<meta name=”geo.region” content=”US-PA” />
<meta name=”geo.placename” content=”Parkesburg” />
<meta name=”geo.position” content=”39.959492;-75.914265″ />
<meta name=”ICBM” content=”39.959492, -75.914265″ />

If you need help generating your Geo Meta Tags, go to www.geo-tag.de/generator.

NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)

Making sure your business name, address, and phone number appear correct is paramount for effective geomarketing. You may think this is a no-brainer geomarketing technique, but you would be surprised. Here are 3 rules for including your NAP information on your website:

  1. Make sure it is on every page. Don’t force visitors to hunt it down on an “About” or “Contact Us” page.
  2. Ensure it is consistent.  Make sure the information appears the same everywhere on your website.
  3. Use Schema structured data markup. Using data markups mean search engines are not assuming your information. You’re telling them.

Schema.org is sponsored by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. You can let their algorithms make assumptions about your business, or you can tell them straight out: “This is how my name should look. This is where I am located. This is what I do. These are the hours I am open.”

This is one way NAP could appear to visitors:

Pizza Villa
112 W 1st Ave
Parkesburg PA 19365
(610) 857-2692
www.pizzavillaparkesburg.com
Hours: Mon-Fri 10am – 9pm
Saturday 10am – 10pm
Sunday 11am – 9pm
Categories: Pizza, Sandwiches, Italian

This is how the HTML code would look with Schema.org vocabulary:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Restaurant”>
<span itemprop=”name”>Pizza Villa</span>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>112 W 1st Ave</span>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>Parkesburg</span>,
<span itemprop=”addressRegion”>PA</span> <span itemprop=”postalCode”>19365</span>
</div>
<span itemprop=”telephone”>(610) 857-2692</span>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.pizzavillaparkesburg.com”>www.pizzavillaparkesburg.com</a>
Hours:
<meta itemprop=”openingHours” content=”Mo-Fr 10:00-21:00″>Mon-Fri 10am – 9pm
<meta itemprop=”openingHours” content=”Sa 10:00-22:00″>Saturday 10am – 10pm
<meta itemprop=”openingHours” content=”Su 11:00-21:00″>Sunday 11am – 9pm
Categories:
<span itemprop=”servesCuisine”>Pizza</span>,
<span itemprop=”servesCuisine”>Sandwiches</span>,
<span itemprop=”servesCuisine”>Italian</span>
</div>

Additional tags can be found at schema.org/LocalBusiness.

Mapping

Inserting a map will add extra functionality to your website, making it easier for site visitors to physically navigate to your business’ location, and is a geomarketing must-have.  SEO for local businesses uses some old school tactics. A map is the kind of visible content that will add some extra weight to your local search listing.

For information on how to add a map to your site, visit Google Map Help.

Geomarketing with Content

Content is extremely important. It is the glue that will hold your geomarketing together. Not only will specific content bring visitors to your local business site, but a large volume of quality content will add weight, and thus give it a higher ranking. A business with 100 pages of good content will rank higher in results than a local business with a basic 5 page website. Does that make sense?

Wordpress
pixelcreatures / Pixabay
Website and Blog

For this reason, I recommend building your whole local business website using WordPress, or something similar. WordPress is not only powerful site-building software, it is also free. Additionally, many hosting companies provide one-click installation. You can have all the “standard pages” for your business, along with a blog/news section.

The blog posts will be the content that brings new and fresh visitors to your site. You will want to use the 80/20 rule. This means 8 out of every 10 posts (or 80%) should be of local interest, and 2 out of 10 posts (or 20%) should be about your local business. All posts should be a minimum of 500 words for the search engines to consider them authoritative.

It will be the local interest posts that will bring new and potential customers to your site, and it will give existing customers a reason to visit even when they are in the market for your product or service. You are creating brand recognition and loyalty because of your community centered content.

We will dive more into geomarketing blog posts in future articles. There is a ton to cover.

Curated Content

Curated content is the sharing of news, blog posts, photos and more, created by others, and you feel will be og value to your fans and followers. As a digital marketing technique, roughly 80% of social media content should be curated. Effective use of curated content for geomarketing means that content comes from other local businesses and organizations.

Curating on Facebook

Like As Your Page

Your Facebook Business Page is one of the ultimate geomarketing tools. Your Business Page has a news stream, similar to a personal account. As a Page, you can “Like” other pages, and your Page news stream will fill with posts just as if they were “friends.” Here you will find local interest posts to share.

You can and should also share links to local news sites and blogs. Google has their handy-dandy news alert feature. Our friends at Pizza Villa could set up a news alert for “Parkesburg” and the “Octorara Area School District” to stay on top of local happenings to share.

Curating on Twitter

Twitter can be a hard nut to crack, especially for a small local business. Geomarketing here can very difficult. However, it is even more important for a local business to zero in on nearby Tweeps and Twiends.

Use Twitter’s advanced search features to find other locals near your location. The guys at Pizza Villa could use near:”Parkesburg, PA” within:10mi in the search. You now have a list of users that could be followed and may follow back, and content to retweet.

The 80/20 rules is also applied to Twitter. This means 80% of your content should be retweets and shared content, and 20% should be about you. People will tune out or unfollow if all you talk about is your business, or they could perceive you as just spammer.

Sharing content has several objectives. You are creating value for fans and followers, you are creating connections, and you are forming a community around your brand.

Geomarketing Local Businesses (Part 2)

We have so far only briefly addressed two aspects of geomarketing, and already have a pretty lengthy article. Next week, I am going to discuss even more geomarketing tools for local businesses. You will learn how good social media marketing and online advertising can create a loyal community and superfans.

~ Pizza Villa ~

Pizza Villa - Parkesburg PA

I do not know the owner of Pizza Villa personally, nor am I in any way associated with them professionally. However, I have been a customer for decades. My parents started going there for take-out pizza and cheesesteaks starting at least 35 years ago, and I have continued to be a patron as an adult.

Pizza Villa is one of the oldest surviving businesses in Parkesburg, Pennsylvania, located in historic Chester County, and there is a reason why. They have consistently provided the best pizza, cheesesteaks, and wings in the area for decades.

Parkesburg is conveniently located close to many of Pennsylvania’s popular attractions, with the Valley Forge National Historic Park just 34 minutes to the east, and Dutch Wonderland only 30 minutes to the west.

If you ever find yourself in Chester County, traveling along U.S. Route 30 in Pennsylvania  (once known as the Lincoln Highway), drop down into Parkesburg to have a slice. By the way, while you are in Parkesburg, check out the old train station, known for having been a filming location for the 1985 film Witness, starring Harrison Ford.


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