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.
One of the major challenges for new businesses in Princeton is the turnover in students, faculty, and employees. Now, that students will likely be back full-time in the fall, be ready with an awesome site to catch their eye.
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"
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.
According to Best Designs, original graphics are the most successful.
“Original graphics make up 40% of all successful visual content that accomplishes marketing goals, but 43% of marketers struggle with the consistent production of captivating visuals.”
Since we are communicating one message, the artwork that supports it must work very hard to support the message. This is where local market know-how can really help. Original photos and images of your business in Kipps Bay interacting with your neighborhood can add value.
It also helps with when your calls to action focus on local events in and around Princeton or at your business location.
Every email, no matter how trivial, should have a call to action. This is where all the hard work above pays off. If we omit one, we just wasted resources that could have been spent more cost effectively.
We cover email list building in great detail in our post on small business email marketing. Again, we will just hit the highlights here as it pertains to Princeton. Every neighborhood has summer fairs. While these were severely impacted by COVID, in our post COVID world they should roar back with a vengeance. It would be smart to see if you could piggy-back off one or more of them.
Incentives, deals, free trials, and samples are all great options when developing your calls to action. See if you can partner with your neighbors to create a shared promotion. This way one shopper in Princeton has two or more places to visit while out in the neighborhood.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you're thinking about finding help in Princeton for your small business, here are the things to keep in mind.
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:
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.
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.
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