Once you’ve read that article and possibly done some other research on why local SEO matters and how to do it, you’ll need a little more detail to help put all those tips into action. I’m here today to help you put some of the most important work in when it comes to local SEO – getting set up with Yelp and Google.
If you don’t know already, Yelp is a hugely popular review site that often appears very high on Google results pages and can strongly influence customer opinion one way or the other.
If anyone has written a review for your business already, then it’s on Yelp and all you have to do is claim the business as your own. If you’re just starting or your clients haven’t written any reviews yet, you can also start your own business page (and then start encouraging customers to give you reviews).
You can do either of these things by going to this page on Yelp’s official site and typing in your business name and location to get started. The process is easy and Yelp walks you through it step by step.
They will probably try to sell you some advertising during this process, but I wouldn’t take that option just yet. Try doing local SEO on your own or with an SEO professional before paying a big company that doesn’t know your business personally to advertise – you’ll likely get better results that way.
To get reliable information about your business on Google Maps (while also opening it up for Google Reviews and a few other business perks straight from the search engine giant), you also need to register your business with Google. Luckily, this is an even easier process than registering for Yelp.
Go to the Google Business page to get started, and the site will easily walk you through the process. Within a couple of hours at most, you should be entirely set up to get business on autopilot through Google.
What are the benefits of each of these sites?
Having your business on Google will help customers find you, especially local customers or potential clients traveling through your area (because Google has all the other search engines beat when it comes to local and mobile search).
Having your business on Yelp won’t necessarily steer customers to your site (although it certainly can’t hurt), but can show the level of respect and admiration the community has for your work. You can also use it as a platform for directly interacting with customers, which I’m sure we’ll have a post about in the near future.
More than anything else, solid local SEO helps photographers like you win on Google.
If you’re reading this you probably know that SEO is important to helping your business find success. But how much do you really know about it, and about how to use it to your advantage?
Here’s the single biggest tip you’ll get to market your photography.
You need to focus on winning local clients. Why? As a photographer, you’re a local businessperson. Yes, there are plenty of photographers that travel the world, but if you’re just starting out, that’s not you – and if you ever want to get there, you’ve got to win the local SEO game first.
So what is local SEO as opposed to regular SEO?
It works in much the same way, except that you’ll specifically be focusing on getting customers within your general geographical area. Here are a few solid strategies:
Make sure that your address, including the city/county, is highly visible on all your business properties (main site, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
Register your business with sites like Google and Yelp, which will help you get reviews and appear near the top of Google for people searching in your town (especially when they search with mobile devices!)
Have customers “check in” at your business on social media, and try to market your social media pages to people in your geographical area through sharing and possibly some targeted ads
Use hashtags that will put your work in front of locals on Instagram and Twitter, such as the name of your town
Use the names of your town/city, county, state, and maybe neighborhood (if you live in a large or spread-out city) on your main site frequently so that they can be considered as keywords by Google
Doing all these things will optimize your site for local SEO marketing. Think of it this way: SEO in general is kind of like having an article about your business somewhere on the New York Times website. A lot of people might find it, but it might not be relevant to them, and it can often get lost in the haystack.
Local SEO, though, is like having your business on the front page of a local paper. Yes, the pool of total people who can see it is smaller, but it will be much more relevant to those that do see it.
If you’re interested in local SEO (and you should be if you want to succeed), check out this great article from seo.com on the subject, with some content-driven strategies that could also help you out. Also consider signing up for our cheat sheet, as we have huge but little-known tips there that can help with both local and general SEO.
Come back next time for an article delving deep into one of the specifics of local SEO marketing: using external properties like Google Maps and Yelp to win customers and get your photography business to the top of Google. While all the strategies detailed above are important, this might be the biggest key of all to winning at local SEO.