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What do you want local consumers to do when they need a product or service that you provide?
It’s hardly a mystery, right?
You want them to think of YOU, immediately and without hesitation, as the best possible source of information (and products) in your area of expertise. Not your competition, not the company that’s in the next town. You, and you alone.
The good news is that there’s a way for you to create precisely that reality. It’s called geo-topical authority, and we’re here to help you take the steps you need to become the go-to resource for your target audience.
What Is Geo-Topical Authority?
Let’s start with a quick explanation. Geo-topical authority is just like any kind of authority, except it is both:
- Specific to the geographical area where you do business; and
- Specific to the topics that are most important to your customers.
That makes sense, right? The idea is that your website – and indeed, your entire online presence – should establish you as a company that can provide detailed, valuable, and actionable information about any topic related to what you do.
Let’s consider an example to make sure you know what we mean. Imagine a pest control company that has several nearby competitors. The company that will win out in terms of online searches is the one that has:
- A website that makes it easy to find all relevant information about the business (we’ll talk more about that in a minute)
- Content that’s geared toward answering their target audience’s most common questions
- A coherent online presence that maintains a strong brand voice and vision
This company might publish blog posts or videos to show people how to prevent pests from taking up residence in their homes. That, combined with accurate and comprehensive information about the business, will turn them into a geo-topical authority on pest control.
Why Do You Need Geo-Topical Authority?
The answer to this question might be obvious, but let’s talk about it anyway.
The only way for your business to succeed is for you to differentiate yourself from the competition and make it clear to consumers in your area that you are the best possible choice to help answer their questions and meet their needs.
If your website isn’t designed with geo-topical authority in mind, then the chances are good that you’re missing out on attracting new customers.
In other words, building geo-topical authority will help you beat out your competitors and increase your profits. You can get more online traffic, more foot traffic to your store, more referrals, and a bigger social following – and that’s just the beginning!
What Your Website Needs
Now, let’s talk about what your website needs for you to become a geo-topical authority in your niche. You may already have some of these things, but we highly recommend that you review this list and then get started on adding those things that you’re missing.
You undoubtedly have a home page, but does it have all the information it should? To be effective at building geo-topical authority, your home page must include key information about your company at a glance, so that customers who are in a hurry can contact or find you immediately.
It should also have intuitive navigation, an easy-to-find menu, and a structure that makes it easy for customers with more time on their hands to explore your site.
Customer Service Policy/Customer Bill of Rights
This first item includes one piece of content that will remain internal to your company and one that will be published on your site.
Every company needs a well-thought-out customer service policy so that employees know your guidelines for handling customers.
The flip side of that is a customer bill of rights that lets your customers in on how they should expect to be treated by your employees.
Your name, address, and phone number must be clearly listed on your site – and identical on every page. That’s important because it helps customers find you and also helps Google connect all of your online listings.
Make sure everything is spelled properly and punctuated in the same way on every page. Your NAP listings should be in crawlable HTML, and ideally, you should mark them with Schema to help search engines find your site.
While you’re at it, you should also check your off-site NAP listings if you haven’t done so recently. Any discrepancy can hurt your geo-topical authority.
Reviews and Testimonials
You already know that social proof in the form of customer reviews is important for every local business. For that reason, your site needs a review/testimonial page and a clearly stated policy that lets customers know what you will and won’t publish in terms of reviews.
A typical policy specifies that you will remove reviews that are profane, abusive, or threatening, as well as any that include personal information about the customer or a third party.
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Contact Us Page
You probably have this page too, but again, you need to make sure that it’s comprehensive. You need a complete NAP listing, a list of every possible way that customers can contact you (phone, email, social media, online chat, etc.)
You should also include a map, detailed directions to your store, and photographs of the exterior. The more thorough this page is, the easier it will be for customers to find you.
Location-Specific Landing Pages
If you have more than one location or service more than one geographical area, you should have a dedicated page for each one. That way, customers can find the precise information they need.
You may also want to add store finder location to your home page to make it as easy as possible for local customers in each area to find you.
Your product or service page should be detailed and thorough. It should give descriptions of each item or service, including parameters and prices, and include high-quality images as well.
It may also be helpful here to include reviews or information that helps to differentiate you from your competitors in the area.
In addition to the other items listed, your website needs to have:
- A FAQ page that answers the most common questions you receive and provides a mechanism for users to enter a question you haven’t addressed yet
- An About Us page to tell your company’s story and explain what makes you special
- A call to action on every page that makes it clear what you want users to do
A site that has all of these things will go a long way toward making you a geo-topical authority.
But Wait… There’s More
Your quest to become a geo-topical authority doesn’t end with your website. In addition to doing what’s outlined above, you should claim your profile on all third-party review sites and check your NAP listings.
You should also create content that addresses helps potential customers answer questions and complete tasks. What do your customers want to do, know, find, or buy? The more you do to answer those questions, the more likely it is that your company will be the geo-topical authority you want it to be.