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What’s the best way to kill your business? In 2017, the answer to that question is to ignore the growing connection between mobile users and the searches they conduct prior to purchase.

Need some numbers? As much as 82 percent of consumers research a product or service immediately prior to purchase, often while en route to the store. These people are red hot buyers.

You absolutely must figure out how to insert your brand into the mix in the moments before they whip out a nice juicy credit card.

Here’s the reality. If you don’t tweak your online presence to take advantage of hyperlocal marketing, your competitor will, and you’re probably going to notice a steep decline in traffic and sales.

Don’t despair.

Here’s what you need to do to tune your SEO for survival in 2017.

What is Hyperlocal Marketing?

Maybe you’ve noticed those “near me” queries that pop up on your mobile device when you conduct a search. That’s no accident.

In their eternal search to deliver the best results, the Google brain trust realized that a huge swathe of the population are in the process of leaving the house, or maybe they’re already driving around when suddenly a need to search occurs.

Google calls this the “micro-moment.” It’s when search interest is highest and the imperative is to deliver the most accurate results that target the searcher’s intent.

Marketers know that it is at this moment people are most interested in the Local 3-Pack, address, business hours, and directions.

Now we’re getting into the heart of the matter. This micro-moment is the one chance a small business has to satisfy that particular consumer’s desire.

Are you positioned properly? That is what hyperlocal marketing is all about. You need to have your existence front and center for this heat-of-the-moment decision. And how do you do that?

It’s not as hard as you might think.

Take Care of the Basics

If you haven’t set up your Google My Business page, what are you waiting for? This is the first step to take in your quest to dominate hyperlocal search results and lord it over all the competition. You’ve probably seen this in action already.

Have you ever noticed in search results, usually off to one side or the other near the top of the page, a map with relevant local businesses pinned to it? That’s the Google My Business feature in action.

That’s where you want to be, but how do you get there? Does it require magic and bunch of superstitious hocus-pocus? Actually, no, it’s pretty easy.

Surf on over to Google My Business. Click on the “start now” button, and you’re off to the races. The form you need to fill out is pretty self-explanatory, but there is one thing you should keep in mind. Completeness!

Don’t go about this task the way some people go through life, namely, incomplete and incoherent. Every bit of information you provide helps Google place your business in the appropriate categories in local results.

Your mission is to make this easy for Google, not difficult.

The skill to which you complete your My Business page correlates directly to how well you compete in that Local 3-Pack we spoke of earlier. Don’t worry.

Filling out the information isn’t like solving a quadratic equation. The questions are pretty simple: name, address, website, telephone number, email address. You get the idea.

Why, for the love of Pete, aren’t you in the midst of completing your profile? You already did? Oh. Good job. Let’s move onto more advanced hyperlocal marketing concepts.

Expanding Your Reach

In this case, we’re not talking about expanding your reach geographically but rather to take the strategy you just used to claim your Google turf with My Business and apply it to other search sources.

Yes, Google is the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but the online retail world doesn’t begin and end with this leviathan. Repeat the same process with the other two major search engines at Yahoo Local Listing and Bing Places.

Now all three search engines, accounting for well over 90 percent of internet traffic, know you have a business.

All this might sound brain dead simple but you would be surprised how many small businesses are either too lazy or ignorant to take these simple steps toward local visibility.

Directing the Directories

Online directories are what we’ll call secondary sources of traffic. They’re aren’t nearly as important as the Big 3 covered in the previous section, but they’re worthy enough to not be ignored.

Now we’re talking about websites like Super Pages, Yelp, Best of the Web, Yellow Pages, etc. If you’re stuttering right now something similar to, “But it would take forever to go through all these directories and get listed,” you’re right. Sure, if you did it one at a time, sifting through the entries like sands through the hourglass.

Instead, go to Moz and find a tool called “Get Listed.” This handy little widget will scan all major local directories for your business name. Take the list and check that the entries found are up-to-date and accurate.

For the remaining directories, if you have more money than time consider hiring a service like that offered by Yahoo to claim your name in the remaining directories.

Primp Your Landing Page

You’ve done a lot of work already. Good job, but you’re not done yet.

We’ve covered the steps necessary to put yourself in front of those red hot buyers at the magic moment, but there is one thing that can still derail the sales process and that is a crappy, outdated landing page.

You know the kind we’re talking about. Graphics that look like they came from a kindergarten art class. Skimpy content that delivers nothing more in the way of useful information than a standard business card.

Hopefully, this doesn’t describe your business. You don’t need to be an SEO guru to get your page in top shape. Here are the critical parts.

We’ve covered the steps necessary to put yourself in front of those red hot buyers at the magic moment, but there is one thing that can still derail the sales process and that is a crappy, outdated landing page. You know the kind we’re talking about.

Graphics that look like they came from a kindergarten art class. Skimpy content that delivers nothing more in the way of useful information than a standard business card.

Hopefully, this doesn’t describe your business. You don’t need to be an SEO guru to get your page in top shape. Here are the critical parts.

  1. Mention your city/state in page title
  2. Make the content relevant to the use of targeted keywords
  3. Talk about product features and benefits
  4. End with a call-to-action

None of this is rocket science. It’s been standard operating procedure for online marketers since the beginning of the Internet Age. Still, you’d be surprised how often people don’t take the time to do it right.

Is Your HTML Rusty?

If your HTML and keyword skills aren’t up to snuff, you have a couple of different options.

  1. Head over to Amazon and buy a Dummies-style book about optimizing a website.
  2. Pay a few dollars to a local web slinger to tune up your page and/or website for you.

A caveat. Long gone are the days when stuffing keywords multiple times gained you anything in the way of legitimate search engine traffic.

In fact, the current iteration of the Google algorithm will likely penalize you for the practice. Today it’s all about writing the way people talk.

Develop Local Content

Have you heard that Google likes content? If not, let us be the first to tell you.

Even on a hyperlocal level – Google likes content. The trick here is to provide useful content that would be of interest to people in your area.

This is not the time to wax rhapsodic about the sidewalk cafe scene in France when you run a barbecue restaurant in Paris, Texas.

Don’t be stingy. Talk up the local food scene, including options that don’t belong to you. Mention and review local points of interest like tourist attractions, museums, parks, and anything a local or someone passing through might be interested in.

Of course, you should feature yourself also, but the main thing is to post geographically targeted content regularly.

The Bottom Line

By now you should start to feel like you have a grasp on the idea of hyperlocal marketing.

One thing is certain. This stuff isn’t going away. The work you do now to get your business in front of hot buyers today will pay off down the road as far as you want to look.

Mobile devices are here to stay. SimilarWeb released recent research showing that 56 percent of consumer internet traffic is from those using a mobile device.

Think that number’s going to shrink? Here’s a tip. It won’t. To become and remain a viable online or brick and mortar business in the future, think hyperlocal.

If at any point along the way you begin to feel like you’re in over your head, IMT can help get your business racing up to page one Google results and probably at a more modest cost than you imagine. We’ll be happy to talk about your needs on our dime.

Article by Jared Sherwood