How to Use Local SEO in Princeton to Drive More Traffic

Djkeddie, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Ivy League Powerhouse Tucked Away in a Bucolic Borough

Princeton is all that you would expect in an ivy league college town. It is a beautiful borough that is hard to believe that you are within an hour drive of New York City and Philadelphia. But look behind the scenery, and you will find a lively and vibrant business community.

Not surprisingly, the local business community mainly serves the university and its students. The university provides a stability that is enviable. Given its status, Princeton enrollment is a subject to the economic shocks that affect less prestigious schools. However, like any college or university dominated town, businesses face the similar challenges. Yearly turn-over in its customer base.

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 search using keywords that are relevant to their product or service.

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

SEO for a Small Business Needs to be Local

Building an SEO profile for any small business involves knowing how Google works to gain visibility for our business website online.

Like everything else, NYC is competitive. There are simply a lot more businesses competing for attention. For example, SEO agency NYC is much harder to rank for than SEO agency for Dallas, even though they have roughly equivalent search volumes. This is why a mix of on-page and off-page SEO can help.

On page SEO, as the name implies, is content and keyword driven. Off-page focuses on building the credibility of the page through links, referrals, etc. Technical SEO is the behind the scenes work that SEO professionals do to ensure the coding of the website follows SEO best practices.

Even the best small businesses will struggle to compete for high volume keywords so local SEO can help you close that gap.

Why Digital Marketing is Important in Princeton?

One of the major challenges for new businesses in Princeton is the turnover in students, faculty, and employees. Local digital marketing, when used effectively, can help you get noticed.

  1. Local digital marketing in Princeton is about being visible, at the right time.
  2. Once you identify the target, it is important to raise awareness among them that your business exists. 
  3. Local digital marketing lets your target the right customers when they are nearby. It is so much easier to get what you need when it's a short walk or drive from where you are.

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 Princeton for your small business, here are the things to keep in mind.

  1. Find a firm that knows your area. If your small business is marketing in Princeton or the surrounding area, you'll want help from someone who understands the lay of the land, the daily flow, and turnover that is inherent in a college town.
  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 Princeton, 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 Princeton

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 completed your keyword research and 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 Princeton 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 Kingston”, or “seo service Princeton Junction”.

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 locations are in or near Princeton. 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. Please see the Princeton Merchants Association or Princeton Chamber of Commerce for listings that might pertain to you. 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 Princeton can be a crucial way to get your company noticed online.

The same tips would apply if you were wanted to go more broadly, for example, the state level with Local SEO New Jersey

If you are interested in what more we do, you can see our Small Business Marketing in Trenton. If you want the full state, you can see our Small Business Marketing in NJ.