Whether your venue is located in a small town or a big city, the quality of your local SEO strategy will determine whether your venue shows up on the first page of search engine results. You might be wondering where to begin with local SEO. It seems complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. What local SEO really comes down to is creating great content and experiences for customers, and optimizing it in simple ways that make it more discoverable through search engines such as Google and Bing.
Here’s a simple guide with five steps for developing a local SEO strategy to promote your venue.
1. Optimize your venue’s on-page local SEO
To begin, you’ll need to optimize your website’s content for search using on-page SEO. On-page SEO means making your web pages full of good, useful information so that your venue ranks for keywords.
Use local keywords throughout your content such as:
- H1 titles on-page
- H2 (you can have as many H2’s as you’d like)
- In the “alt text” of at least one image
- In the URL
- In the meta description
To find keywords, think of phrases your customers might use to find you in your specific location. One simple way to see what people might search for as it relates to your venue is to type the name of your venue into Google’s search bar and see what it auto-populates with- do this with your location name included as well, to see if results vary so you can narrow in on those local terms.
You can also use a tool such as Ahrefs to help you find keywords your potential customers are using. So for example, if a couple is looking for a wedding venue in Chicago, what might they search for?
Ahrefs gives us some ideas. Couples might search for “wedding venues near me,” or “best wedding venues in Chicago,” when looking for the right venue.
You should also find secondary keywords to use, which help support your main keyword. A simple Google search will do the trick.
For example, wedding venues in Chicago shows related keywords at the bottom of the first page:
Optimize your venue’s website pages on-page text and meta descriptions for local seo
Now that you have a keyword, and a few supporting, related keywords, one way to optimize pages – or make your pages stand out to Google – is to use the keyword throughout the key areas of the page.
For example, for BBJ Linen, a keyword for one of their articles is “romantic wedding ideas.” So in their H1, they use: “Romantic Wedding Theme Ideas…”
Here’s an example of BBJ’s H1:
Further down the article, the first H2 also has the keyword. It reads, “Romantic Wedding Ideas.” This is how you want to set up up your own website pages.
The rest of the article has different variations of romantic wedding ideas in different H2s. You can use the secondary keywords in an H2 (one of the search terms at the bottom of Google’s home page).
Your meta description should also have a form of the keyword. The meta describes what your content is about.
Here’s a meta description example of local search engine optimization for a venue:
2. Optimize your venue’s off-page SEO by leveraging relationships to get links
Why are links important to a hotel and property’s local seo?
The number one ranking factor for local search is link signals, according to Moz.
To get on the first page of Google for local keywords specific to your business, you need to get your links on local websites, blogs, and publications related to your venue.
One of the best ways to get links is to develop relationships with these places. If you partner with a local catering company, for example, ask them to add your venue’s website to their catering website, perhaps under a “partners” section.
In addition, reach out to blogs and publications that cover local happenings to develop relationships with them. Connect with the editor and then ask to write an article they can share on their website. You can then add a link to one of your blogs in the article you write (you are the expert on the given topic, after all).
Create something worth linking to
Brendan Hufford, SEO Director at Clique Studios, says, “The No.1 way to get links is to create something worth linking to.”
“Whenever I think of content worth linking to, I think of creating the best possible content on a given topic,” Hufford says.
“So, if I’m going to write an article about how to paint my kids’ bedrooms, it’s literally going to be the best article ever on painting kids bedrooms – with videos embedded in it and an infographic and fun little things that are really cool like anecdotes and GIFs.
Hufford continues: “(The article) is going to be really long-form, and it’s going to cover every single thing somebody would want to know about painting their kids’ bedroom,” Hufford adds. “From the technical side of it, to the creative side of it to the ‘20 things different things we tried’ and add all of these pictures of how it went and mistakes that we made. Then when people find that, they are going to want to link to it.”
To learn more from Hufford, here is a video where he answers questions about SEO.
3. Embed Google’s My Business Map on your venue’s website
For Google to see the connection between your website and your Google My Business listing, you’ll want to embed the Google My Business iframe into your website.
If you use WordPress as a CMS, here’s how to embed a Google Map to your website:
- Go to Google Maps
- Search for your business
- Select share and a screen will appear. Select the “Embed map” tab. The code that comes up will begin with “<iframe.”
- When you’re in your account on WordPress.com, go to Posts, Add (or Pages, Add), and open the page on which you want to embed the map.
- Open the HTML editor and paste the code directly into the page.
4. Take the steps to get into Google’s Local Pack
You know the pack of three businesses that come up when you search for a local business? Like this?
All of the tips in this article will help you get in this local pack. But there are a few more things that will help:
Encourage online reviews
Online reviews are a big deal. According to Moz, review signals (the amount and the consistency at which reviews are posted) impact whether or not you’ll rank in that local pack.
To get reviews from clients, send an email after each event and ask your client to rate you. So if it’s a couple, ask them how their experience went working with you on their wedding.
Stay consistent with your venue’s NAP
Your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP), should be consistent across all of your listings. This is a good signal to search engines.
Examples of places you can set up a business citation is on Apple Maps, Facebook, Yelp, and Yellow Pages.
Google My Business should be the first place you set up a citation if you haven’t already done so. Here’s how to verify your business.
5. Create separate pages for each service your venue offers
A website page for each service you offer will help increase the chances a potential customer will find you on the first page of search results.
If you are a local event venue and host conferences and meetings, weddings, and other special events, create pages for each of those services. When a customer searches for “corporate events” in “x location” your venue has a chance of showing up if you have a separate page for corporate events where you use the location supporting keyword.
As discussed earlier, with any piece of content, it’s got to be as good as possible in order for it to have a chance to rank well.
Local SEO is a way to promote your venue to prospective clients. Whether it’s a couple searching for a venue for their big wedding day, or a corporate event planner searching for a place to host a meeting, local SEO can make a significant impact on who finds your venue.
Megan Wenzl is a writer based in Chicago. She enjoys creating useful informational stories to help businesses succeed. When not writing, Megan enjoys watching endless amounts of Netflix and playing golf.