Optimizing your website to show more frequently to those around you is one of the BEST ways to unlock website traffic. But before you can do that, you have to define your audience. 

 Simply saying "I want everyone from ages 25-60 to see my website" isn't exactly what we would describe as a well-defined audience. And, without a well-defined target, how will you know where to aim? Taking the time to define your audience, narrow enough that it's specific for you to target, is important and will save you a lot of time and wasted effort with search engine optimization. 

A well defined audience looks like this: Let's say that you have a clothing boutique. The majority of your shoppers are in their 20s and 30s, and they're female. Most of them come from within a 10 mile radius of your store. That's a perfect place to start! You want to have a specific age, gender, maybe even consider writing out profiles of your ideal client (perhaps who is most profitable for you?) if you don't have a product or service that dictates those parameters. 

Once you have a target audience in mind, NOW it's time for the good stuff! Local SEO is one of the best places to start if you're just dipping your foot into the search engine optimization waters. 

How to get more local customers with Local SEO

MAKE SURE YOUR SITE IS OPTIMIZED FOR YOUR LOCATION
If you have a general "contact us" page, that doesn't do a whole lot to tell Google about where your store/business/service area is! If you have multiple locations, make a specific page on your website for each. Maybe you know that people search for "Nashville Lawn Services." Build that phrase into your page in the title and meta data, with unique content. These terms are your local keyword terms. Side note: be careful not to over-optimize! Stuffing your page with the same keyword over and over can get you penalized. Make it natural, and you should be good! 

CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS
I'm not talking about the phone book! You may recognize these popular online listings: Google Maps, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing. You definitely need to claim your Google My Business listing if you haven't already (you can't show up in the local pack without it!) Listen up this is super important: Make sure  each place your business is listed online is consistent, and has your name, phone number, and address displayed the exact same way! These are called "citations," and they are a signal for the search engines, but they have to match exactly. 

GET REVIEWS
This is tricky, but it can be done! If you have any face-to-face interaction with customers, that is the best time to ask for a review. Once you lose that contact, you will be asking via e-mail and it gets tougher! Ask at the time the service or product is delivered, and make it personal. If you are relegated to e-mail, make sure you have made the process as easy as possible. A quick "Thanks for using ____ for ____! We want to know how we did. Tell us by leaving us a review (insert link)." Give them a direct line. The more reviews you have online, the better you will rank. 

SCHEMA MARKUP
Ok, no that is not another language. This one requires just a teensy bit of code and web savvy, but we promise it's not too difficult. Schema is basically marking up pieces of information on your website to help Google understand more about who you are and what you do. Everything you need can be found at schema.org - our favorite markups are for local businesses, and reviews. Markup your information and this will definitely help your click-through-rate! 

DON'T FORGET ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
Make sure you have filled out ALL the information you can in your description on each social platform. Put in your address, your web address, your phone number - everything you can. You can put your city in your Twitter description, if local is your focus. Social is such a powerful tool, but don't just do it halfway. Commit to one social channel and take some time to put a strategy in place to engage with your customers. 

Put one or all of these steps into place and you're on your way to an increase in website traffic! 

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