Local Digital Tactics That Build A Broader & Stronger Consumer Base
Local searches in the search engines are quickly becoming the norm for consumers looking for products and/or services. The search engines have adjusted their algorithm to become more local rather than universal. Note that social media has what SEO wants, and that is masses of people (consumers) engaged in content. To create successful engagement, you must merge your local SEO strategies with social media, then implement Web Analytics to re-evaluate consumer behavior. Search engines have begun shifting the responsibility of business listing from themselves to business owners. The most important ranking factor for local searches is the proximity of the searcher to the relevant address that is provided in the search engine's local business center. Google features like G Maps and G Places make it easier prospective customers to find businesses in their area.
The basics of enhancing engagement include providing content that is relevant, accessible, and authoritative. However, understanding the integration of Google rankings with social media is another reality that business owners must take into consideration if they do not want to be left behind.
The search engines tend to rank local results that are claimed in their systems higher than non-claimed results. Part of the reason for this is that in order to claim a business listing, the business owner must verify the physical mailing address or phone number of the business. This makes the business listing more legitimate in the eyes of the search engines. The search engines can also use the metric of customer opinions to rank local search results. Customers can choose to leave reviews of businesses on their online local business listing that search engines then use as a means to rank businesses.
Understanding your audience and their needs is one of the most crucial aspects of maintaining their engagement in your site. So, to successfully engage your audience, immerse yourself in research that will give you insight to what they are searching for.
Conduct field and readership studies; mine social media; listen to blogs, posts, and message board threads; subscribe to RSS feeds and establish accounts in micro-blogging sites like Twitter to interact with potential audience members. Use reverse IP look-up to monitor where your consumer base is coming from; analyze referring data to identify which social sites engage your consumer base; analyze traffic and trends—this social behavior will inform you about gaps in your site. Perform frequent engagement analysis to determine what pages are more popular and which ones are not, and optimize the ones that are not popular with A/B testing. Watch RSS feeds’ popularity. Try to capture aggregated personal information, which provides further demographics about the consumer base. Conduct CRM analysis for additional insights and perform competitive analysis for market share.
Of course, audience research does not stop once you have published your content and updated your site. After publishing your content, you will need to learn even more about your audience. You can do this through metrics tools and site surveys that can help you adjust your content to serve your audience’s needs more effectively.
One tactic to understand consumer base is implementing surveys. Ask a series of clear and concise questions, including questions regarding your site and how relevant the content is for the audience. Because audiences have a wide variety of demographics and needs, surveys cannot cover all of them. Remember, even at their best, surveys only provide an understanding of the audience after content is developed. It is always better to know more about your target audience before you customize your content for them.
The beauty of the Web is the pace with which you can adjust your content to better meet users’ needs. Unlike print, Web publishing is not finished when the content is published, so you have the opportunity to “try, try again.” This is a perpetual, iterative process to modify published content as you continuously form a more advanced comprehension of your consumer base.