Use Your DUMBO Hometown Advantage in Local SEO

Koushikrishnan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

DUMBO: Gentrification Under the Bridge 

Having been a New Yorker for the past 22 years, New York differs completely from when I moved to the city in the late 1990s. DUMBO is one neighborhood that has seen some dramatic changes. 

A fun or sad fact depending on where you sit regarding gentrification. This neighborhood’s nickname was originally created in the 1970s to deter development. This story may be more urban legend than fact. 

However, this much is true. As more and more neighborhoods in Manhattan gentrified and became more expensive, people expanded into DUMBO, with its easy access to the Financial District and other parts of Manhattan. DUMBO’s old abandoned industrial sites were quickly developed into luxury condos. The neighborhood quickly gentrified and is now one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn. 

DUMBO is now one of the city’s major arts districts, with Klompching Gallery. There are many unique eateries from a chocolate factory to artisanal bakeries and cafes. 

DUMBO occupies an unique location geographically because it is both easily accessible from both Brooklyn and Manhattan. This allows businesses to draw both from businesses and residents.

Why Web Design Matters in DUMBO?

Great web design is important no matter where you are located. However, in densely populated areas like DUMBO, where mobile usage is high. These best practices are highly important especially

  1. A design that is as unique as you. You need to stand out from the crowd and a great UX can communicate that to your clientele.
  2. Mobile is important because customers are looking for solutions that are near to where they are. Leaving the neighborhood is not convenient.
  3. Superior mobile UX lets customers know you have exactly what they want or need.

Why Should I Care About Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Google 3 pack example

Without it, it would be more challenging to find your business online. Less than 10% of the local pack results would have landed on the first page of the search engine results page. 80% of any search volume goes to the first page results. 71% to the top 5. Without local SEO, you are unlikely to make the cut.

Local SEO helps to level the playing field somewhat so small businesses can have the opportunity to be visible when people are near their location and searching for products or services that are relevant to their business.

This is an example of the 3 pack for the search "Italian Restaurants Near Me"

Local SEO Is About Making a Bot’s Job Easier

Bots are programs that crawl the web to perform the basic tasks or ranking a page based on its relevance to a category. They are the professor who is about to grade your work.

The grade you will receive is based on three things. 

  1. Content: The bot will use its natural language processing tools to determine what it thinks is the key theme of the page.
  2. Clarity of Indexing: Next, based on the theme it has determined, it will index your page according to keywords it feels is most relevant to the theme. Hopefully, you have done a good job and its assessment matches yours.
  3. Reputation: To me, it is the clearest way to explain domain authority. The more people who cite your work (link), or the more times you’ve been quoted in other work, the more clout your business website will have. The higher your clout is the better your final grade will be.  

What does this mean for local SEO

For content, it means that you need to have relevant information focused on that particular location be it neighborhood, town, or city.

With indexing, there needs to be sufficient use of the location in your text, so the bot knows that you are writing for a particular local audience.

Finally, using the reputation metaphor, being known and trusted in your neighborhood is a lot easier than being known nationally. Therefore, you don’t need as high of a score to rank reasonably well.

Why Local Digital Marketing Matters in DUMBO?

With so much choice packed into such a small area, the key to success in DUMBO is standing out and being noticed. Local digital marketing can help you do just that. 

  1. Local digital marketing in DUMBO is about differentiating and owning a small niche. Then, exploring how you might expand from it.
  2. Digital is important to raise awareness among both DUMBO residents and business people in FIDI. 
  3. it lets both DUMBO and FIDI neighborhoods know you are nearby, open, and accessible, especially in the spring and summer when a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge adds to the experience.

Localization: Basic Technical SEO Tips

If you aren’t afraid of a bit of simple coding, there are a couple of technical SEO tips that can help make the bot’s job easier by making some adjustments to your meta tags (headers, title, etc.) and header or body text. 

Quick Overview of Structured Data

Structured data in this context provides a way to present useful information to bots. Schema is a standard way of using structured data across the digital landscape. To use a simple metaphor, structured data is like a form, and schema is the template that helps put the right information in the right place.

To use schema code, you need to be able to access either the header section or the body section of your web page. Generally, the schema text is put in the header, but I’ve found this can slow page speed. I cheat and put it right after the <body> header. It works equally well.

If you don't know where these are, you may want to skip this section or consider hiring an SEO expert, SEO agency, or SEO company.

Location

There are a number of technical adjustments you can make to help bots better scan your page. In this post, we will focus only on how to help the bot find your business location online. 

This is the code that you need to insert to ensure that you pages are tagged properly for your physical location. I’ll highlight the important part you will need to add in on your own. If you want to skip ahead, I find the Merkle schema tool to be very helpful.

Schema markup for localization

Basic Off-Page Tips That Send Strong Location Signals

local seo dumbo

If you want to take full advantage of the Google 3 pack to drive more traffic to your site, then the time spent optimizing your business's content and site is worth the effort for a small business.

  1. Make sure you've claimed your Google My Business page. If one doesn't exist, it's fairly easy to create one.
  2. Every city is full of lists, best restaurants, bars, gyms, and the like. Inquire how you might get a link from them.
  3. Local news – Internet news sources are a great way for local businesses to be seen.
  4. Awards – Research the ones that pertain to your industry and inquire about entry requirements
  5. Local business development groups.
  6. Get to know your local market over social media

In other words, build your SEO around the places where your local community is active so they can find your business online. If you need help with local SEO for your business, please see our eBook Easy, Simple Guide to SEO.

Things to Remember…

If you're thinking about finding help in DUMBO for your small business, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Find a firm that knows your area. If your small business is marketing in DUMBO, you'll want help from someone who understands how DUMBO works. The best marketing firms understand what makes DUMBO so special and can communicate to your clientele.
  2. Find a company you can trust. If you can't trust a business to have your best interests, you're already going to be left in the lurch. Make sure you have a guarantee that your business will be treated fairly by all parties.
  3. Get the size of help you need. A larger firm can provide more resources and can do more things. A smaller firm, on the other hand, can feel like a neighbor in DUMBO, with the added benefit of one-on-one help from the best the company can offer.

How to Adapt Our Small Business SEO Tips for DUMBO

Aside from all the general tips above, here are some specific actions you can take based on the three key elements of local search algorithms:

Proximity 

All of this assumes that you have developed your keyword list. If you have not, this section will be more effective once you do. Please see our previous post on digital marketing in DUMBO and then come back.

Go through your keywords list and select those which are good descriptors of your business. If it were me, I would use something like “digital marketing agency”, “seo services”, for example. Then make a list of the neighborhoods you service, for example “seo services Jay Street”.

Now comes the harder part, that is frankly a bit tedious. For each combination, see if you can create a somewhat unique post that’s 500-1000 words for that keyword. For us, it is a post like this. I try to write a post that helps my potential clients learn something or do something they didn’t know they could. 

Prominence 

Now, this is the good part. If you do write quality posts for these keywords, you will be raising your prominence. Google knows that all these neighborhoods are near Dumbo. So, for each good post you write, you help raise your prominence on a given topic in a given location.

Prominence is also helped by the basic techniques I mentioned earlier, such as being a part of local business groups, e.g. the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce or Dumbo.is. Any local listing helps.

Relevance

This is why I like the blog technique because it hits all three key areas. If your keyword is a descriptor of what you do and the neighborhood is one you serve, it is highly likely that you will score points on relevance.

Finding the right SEO for your small business in a neighborhood like DUMBO can be a crucial way to get your company noticed online.

These same tools would apply if you want to target local SEO in Brooklyn or, more broadly, local SEO in NYC

See more about Small Business Marketing in DUMBO. If you are more interest in the borough, you can see our Small Business Marketing in Brooklyn. If you want the full city, you can see our Small Business Marketing in NYC.