Localization: Why it is Important for Your Studio
Stick a pin in a map where your studio is located, draw a circle around it, and chances are 80% of your clients live inside that circle. It makes sense: most people prefer to shop close to home. This (and mobile phones) is why Google search results are influenced by where your studio – and your customers – are located. The fancy term for this is localization.
To see how localization works, type “wedding photographer” in Google (or click here). Over on the far left you’ll see where Google thinks you’re located. Click the “change location” link, enter a new zip code or city at least 100 miles away, and you’ll see a different list of websites on the 1st page of Google. This is because Google assumes you are searching for wedding photographers near you.
In order to take advantage of localization, you just need to let Google know where your studio is located. Then when people in your area search for photography, you’ll come up higher on the first page.
Here are 3 ways to localize your website for Google:
1. Get your studio’s address listed everywhere. Google Places is the most important, followed by Yahoo Local Business, Bing and more. Make sure your address, zip code, phone number, and areas served are all correct and up to date.
2. Use local keywords in your website. Back in the old days, some websites would list all the zip codes or cities in a state in an attempt to get noticed by Google. That doesn’t work anymore. But using localized keywords still works. For example, instead of saying “The Smith Wedding“, you can say “The Smith Wedding at Walden Woods, MI“. On your “About” page, list directions in real English to your studio from nearby landmarks. For example, if you Google “photo lab off I 75 in Flint” our lab is at or near the top of the first page (depending on where you are located).
3. Write about local events. If you have a blog, instead of an article titled “Parade Photos“, take advantage of localization by making the title “Beautiful Fall Photos of Woodward Avenue Parade in Birmingham, Michigan.” The same goes for album or slide show titles, website pages, Facebook posts, or anywhere else you can mention your location using natural language.
What if you don’t have a physical studio, or you don’t want to list your home studio’s address online? While some of these tips may help, Google will favor your competitors that have real locations in their search results. That’s what localization is all about.
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