You’ve probably put a lot of time and money into getting your web site and/or blog set up and ready for potential clients to find online. Like most travel-pros you would probably like to be getting more traffic to your web site (a safe assumption if you are reading this article!). If you aren’t using local SEO strategies, you are missing out on a great opportunity to “get found” online!
Even if you are not in a brick and mortar business and a lot of your clients aren’t local, these simple strategies will help improve your overall SEO. If you are a brick and mortar agency, you’d better listen up! While moving to the head of the search results for “honeymoon travel agent” or “Hawaii specialist” might take quite a bit of work, scoring that “page one” ranking on Google for “Marietta, GA honeymoon travel agent” or “St. Louis Hawaii specialist” will be considerably easier! I’m willing to bet that most home based agents out there are happy to meet with an ideal client at the local coffee shop for a face to face meeting!
So how do you move up into those top spots?
You probably already know that one of the ways that Google uses to rank web sites is the number of other web sites that link to it. There are all sorts of “link building” strategies out there, but there are 3 simple, web sites where you can quickly and easily add links to your business that will have you bumped up into those local search categories before you know it!
I’m willing to bet you’ve already got your business listed with the first one, if not, we need to talk! Yep, the Facebook profile you already have can help with your search rankings as long as you make sure your profile is filled out correctly. Facebook pages rank really well with search engines so it’s worth going the extra step to make sure yours is seen as a “place.”
The most important factor is to list an address in your profile. It can be a post office box if you don’t want to list your physical address. Don’t have a PO Box? You should get one… but until you do, list your physical address, then save your profile. After you save it go back in and edit out the street address leaving just your city and state.
Next, fill out your profile as completely as you can. In one or two of the boxes, list your specialty and your location. Word it in the way clients are most likely to search for your specialty. Mine says “Disney Travel Agent, Atlanta, GA.”
Google Places for Business
If Google owns it, you can bet making sure you take the time to fill out the info will help with your search ranking! Google actually integrates results from Places into the search results (and at the TOP too!) so this is an easy way to show up even if you don’t have a web site. Visit Google Places and follow the instructions to get started. You will need to enter a phone number and a physical address for your business. If you use a PO Box you can use the physical address of your post office and list the box #.
Once again, be sure to fill out our profile info as completely as possible. One exception: if you do not have a brick and mortar location, do not list hours. List “available by phone between the hours of _____ and ____. Meetings available by appointment only.”
Yelp has easily become the #1 place to search for reviews of local businesses. Not only will Yelp help you out with local search, it is a great place to showcase reviews. You can start asking local clients to post a review of your services. Yelp will even alert you to new reviews so that you can respond to them in a timely manner. It only takes a few seconds to fill out your profile at Yelp for businesses.
Are things you should be doing to improve your local SEO? Absolutely but I wanted to give you 3 quick, easy and simple options that can make a big difference for you. Building great SEO takes time and dedication. This is just one piece of the puzzle for online marketing. Once you get people TO your web site, you’ll want to have a good strategy for converting them into clients… but that’s another article for another day!