In previous blogs I discussed different types of SEO, and now it’s time to go back and expand on a few things I mentioned. Today, I’m going to go over local SEO for summer camps.
So what is local SEO? Surely, you’ve used a search engine to look for something near you. Maybe you’ve searched “Mexican restaurant near me” or “Italian food in Boston.” Optimizing for search engines to rank you high in those location-based services is local SEO.
If parents are looking for camps online, they’re more than likely searching with the location. To make sure you’re ranking for your location, there are some tips and tricks you can use. If you’re lucky, they may even get you into the local pack.
The Local Pack
This is the local pack. More than likely, you’ve seen it, and you’ve clicked on it. It’s a great place to be.
With that said, the local pack has become increasingly complicated (with rotating results, etc), but generally, if you land in the top 20, you’re in a good spot. As long as you’re one of those 20, when people click “More people,” you’ll be visible. And studies show that many people click to see more.
So how do you get there?
Google My Business
If you Google a business with a Google My Business page, it comes up like this:
Easily, you can find out information about the business such as hours, menu, and address. Scrolling down, you can even see events and read reviews. This is what a well built out Google My Business page looks like.
To begin working on your entry, the first step is to claim your business. Search your camp’s name, and if it hasn’t already been claimed, you’ll find a link that says “Own this business?” Click the link, and follow the easy instructions to get set up.
If you don’t see “Own this business?” it’s likely your camp has been claimed by someone at some point throughout the years. You can claim it back by following these steps.
Make sure to put as much information as possible on your Business Page – photos, keywords, hours, whatever you can think of!
More than likely, you’ve searched for a camp (or something about camps), and you’ve seen plenty of the online camp directories – Go Camps, Summer camp Directories, ACA, or something local. While it may seem that there are a ton of these websites, and some of them may be sources you’d never consider for yourself, making sure you have a current listing is simply another easy opportunity for you to be found online. Plus, if they link to your website, there’s a chance you’ll get some of their “link juice,” which will help your SEO.
In addition to the camp directories, there are basic online directories such as Yellow Pages and Yelp that are great to take advantage of.
If you’re just getting started with directories, here are a few to look at:
- Angie’s List
Many of the directories that exist for camps aren’t free, so you may want to identify only one or two to list your camp in.
In addition to general online and industry directories, consider local directories! If your city or county website lists business or “What to Do” or anything similar on their website, ask to be listed!
NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
Consistency is an important part of local SEO. You want to make sure that your name, address, and phone number are listed on every page of your website (the footer is a great place), and you want to make sure that that information is consistent across the web.
To check out your consistency online, Moz has a great tool. I wouldn’t pay for them to help boost it (though you certainly could if you have the funds), but it is a great way to see what’s duplicate, inconsistent, and missing.
Reviews play a big part in local SEO. When people positively review your business, Google (and other search engines) trusts them and is more likely to put your business in front of others.
It’s important to note: these reviews don’t have to be done on Google. Reviews anywhere reputable online will help you, but it’s a good idea to strategically focus on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.
To start acquiring reviews, reach out to parents, staff members, alumni, and campers you know are loyal and love your brand. Ask them to leave a review. You’ll be surprised how many will take the time to do it.
Another great way to get reviews is to include a link in your post-camp surveys. This method is slightly more risky because it opens reviews up to people who may not love your camp, but the risk is worth it.
This falls into the category of on-page SEO, but make sure that your location is all over your website. Adding a map with a location marker to your page helps. Using a free plugin for maps makes them easy.
These tools will help you track your competitors to see where they’re getting listed, giving you an idea of where you can hope to get listed next.
An easy win for any camp is local press coverage. Many small newspapers will do an annual article about a camp, so if you’re not getting one, reach out! And if that doesn’t work, write your own press releases and distribute them to local papers.
If you’re interested in more information on press releases, make sure to subscribe. There’s a blog coming up.