If you’re like most tutors, you likely receive most of your local business through word-of-mouth referrals from parents and students. And sure, word-of-mouth is a great way to expose yourself to “leads” that are already in your network, but what about those individuals who are outside your reach? They’re likely searching online for a tutor, just like you, right now!
In this article, you’ll learn some ways you can optimize your website to receive more locally-based visitors to your site. Optimizing your website for local keywords sounds tricky, but with a little brainstorming can be executed pretty quickly and efficiently.
1. Research Keywords Important to Your Prospect
To get started, just imagine the types of customers you want to attract to your business. Put yourself in their shoes. If you were looking for a tutor in your area, what would you search for in Google? Take out a piece of paper and start keyword brainstorming.
As you’re preparing your keyword list, keep in mind that some keywords (usually broader/generic terms such as “algebra tutor”) are harder to rank for than specific locally-based keywords like “algebra tutor in san francisco”. Fortunately, you’re not looking for potential customers who live hundreds of miles away. You want people in your backyard to discover you!
To make doing keyword research easier, consider signing up for a free trial of a keyword suggestion tool such as Keyword Discovery or WordTracker. These tools make it easy to generate hundreds of keywords at a time. However, keep in mind, you may just want to focus on optimizing only a few keywords to start and then add to that list as you gain more experience.
2. Brainstorm Keywords Based on Geography
Keywords are the road maps for potential customers to your website; the more precise the address, the easier it will be for qualified customers to find you. This is what SEO consultants call ‘grabbing a keyword by the long tail’. In the keyword world, the long tail is the difference of giving someone an address that says “United States” or a specific address such as “The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.”
So, with this in mind, make a list of what areas and neighborhoods you are willing to travel to with your tutoring business or the areas from where you want your customers. If you have an office space and don’t make house calls, make a list of areas where your customers travel from or near.
For example, let’s say you were a tutor located in Boston, Massachusetts, but were willing to travel as far as Medford for a gig. Your first instinct might be to optimize your website for “Boston tutor”, but if that was a more competitive space for you to rank for, you might want to be more specific with “middle school algebra tutor boston ma.” Also consider branching out and optimizing your website for niche areas you work in, too. You may find that a long tail keyword such as “middle school tutors in Medford MA” (or even better, “middle school alegbra tutors in Medford ma”) lead to just as many quality leads!
3. Learn More About Google Caffeine
HubSpot, a marketing software company in Cambridge, Massachusetts has a great video which shows how Google uses geography and preference to deliver different results to users (aka Google Caffeine).
As you can see by the video and by the complimenting blog post, Hubspot has identified some areas where businesses can appear in these highly personalized local results. Their suggestions to small business owners include signing up for Google Local so that there is higher likelihood that your business will appears in Google business results for specific search terms (local listings usually appear in the forth search position, next to a map of the geographical area).
According to HubSpot, the way Google determines what order results appear in Google Local is determined by how well optimized your website is for those specific terms. So, keep in mind, though you may sign up for Google Local, placement in that forth spot on search results isn’t guaranteed. Your position in search results will depend largely on how much content you produce and how well it is optimized with your long-tail local keywords.
4. Build Content Optimized with Your Unique Keywords
As I’ve mentioned, all this amazing keyword research you’ve been doing is useless if you’re not building content and optimizing your website’s pages with your keywords. This part of the optimization process can be the most challenging for new businesses because it often requires time and consistency, but, it’s the heart of the project. This is an investment. By using these tactics, your website’s value can only build over time.
Be sure to include your keywords in blog posts, your website’s meta data, and also it may be good to consider creating specific landing pages which target specific keywords. The more content you create and the more website pages, the more entry points you’re creating for potential customers to enter you website through.
However, keep in mind that you want to create attractive spaces for your customers to explore. Though a well optimized blog post might draw someone to your website, you’ll be responsible for making sure that the content is helpful, interesting and able to turn your customers into leads.
That’s why it’s so important to take a look at your site analytics using a service such as Google Analytics to see how people are discovering your tutoring business and also what pages are exit points, too. Using Google Analytics you can discover which keywords are the most popular at bringing visitors to your site and also discover which keywords you’re not optimizing for that might be potentially business-producing.
If you’re a tutor looking to optimize your site locally, what questions do you have on how to get started?
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Google just announced a new service this morning for local advertisers. It’s called Boost and highlights the advertiser’s location on the map: http://mashable.com/2010/10/25/google-boost-local-advertising/
You are right on the spot in explaining how to tap into the gold mine of long tail keywords. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!