By Katherine Andes
Google search engines are sensitive to geographic locations. Local furniture retail stores have an opportunity (even over big box stores) to boost their organic search results.
Most don’t take advantage of it.
I know this because often when I search for a particular product locally, what comes up are various web directories like citysearch, bizwiki, or superpages. Sometimes the actual retailers don’t show up until the second or third page.
There’s no reason why your store can’t compete for top positioning with the web directories.
One way is simply to write your home page — and its meta tags — using the primary keywords for your store. If you specialize in one particular product like futons it will be easy to optimize your home page for futons+city.
But if you sell a lot of different products, it won’t be so easy.
Instead of having just pages and pages of products, you should also have portfolio pages built around the various products you sell and the various cities you serve.
When you decorate a whole room or sell a roomful of furniture, visit your customer and snap some pictures paying attention to lighting and framing — even better bring along a professional photographer.
While you’re at it, speak with your customer and jot down any positive comments he or she makes — even better bring along a professional writer to interview and elicit the best possible comments.
You may wish to get a release (consult your attorney) to use the quotes, pictures, and names all of your promotion materials, not just your website.
If your customer is hesitant about identifying himself or herself, you can leave off the last name or the names all together and use an “alias.” But most folks are flattered and willingly give permission.
Then you build a web page around the pictures and testimonials. You will mention the particular city in your page copy and your meta tags. In other words, you are “optimizing” the page for product and location, so that when someone searches for that product in that location, your page turns up.
Important: Limit each page to one product and one city. Over time you will need to build many web pages. By the way, a website with lots of pages, in and of itself, helps boost your rankings.
Google likes 250-300 words per page, so write a few extra lines about the product, the sales rep, designer, installer, and whatever else was interesting about the project. If you can, use a professional online writer who understands marketing and search engine optimization.
Easy Web Tip #18: Every single time you furnish a room, take some pictures and get some quotes from your customers. Then build a single web page around those elements.
Katherine Andes is a consultant who specializes in web copy writing, including search engine optimization, and landing pages — especially in the home improvement market. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.