Whether you’re a small startup or a new business, it’s always a challenge to get yourself noticed in a dynamic city like Chicago. Not only is Chicago one of the busiest US cities, but it’s also a known haven among entrepreneurial small business owners who dream of going big. As with growing any business, you should never neglect your online reputation.
A solid online standing can work wonders with your local reputation. You can make your brand known and rise above your competition with a winning website. How do you transform your ho-hum business page into a competitive website? By optimizing your site through SEO.
SEO Tactics for Chicago Businesses
SEO or search engine optimization is an effective marketing strategy that helps businesses rule search engine searches. Using the latest SEO tactics, you can get a higher ranking on Google and other search engines.
When using SEO for a competitive city like Chicago you must first understand how markets are classified and targeted. In creating marketing strategies, consider nearby areas or neighborhoods and extended markets in the city.
When targeting nearby towns, neighborhoods, and communities, don’t just focus on one area. Include neighboring areas as well. When targeting extended markets, consider most of the Chicago city area, suburbs, and communities. Pranjal Bora, the Head of Product Management at Digital Authority Partners, says that by partnering with a professional SEO expert in Chicago, you’ll find the best areas for expanding your business further.
Be Part of Local Citations
Getting cited in local citation sources is proof that your business exists in a local area. This is similar to having your business on a local directory page. In Chicago, your business should be on the pages of the city’s online Yellow Pages and Yelp.
Start by claiming your business profile through postcard delivery or by phone verification. After claiming your business profile, you can edit, change, or correct listing information. Optimize your profile by adding your correct business name, business address, and your business phone number or BAP.
Your BAP must be consistent in all your citation sources as well as your online access points: official business page, blog site, product sites, and social media platforms. Yelp and Yellow Pages are just two of Chicago’s top local citation pages. Use tools like Whitespark.ca to find the best local citation sources.
- Chicago Craigslist is a free site and is great for all kinds of businesses. Go to the Craigslist Services section and look for the City of Chicago Craigslist.
- CBS Chicago is another free citation site and is open to all kinds of businesses.
- Facebook – this is a free citation site, and all you need to do is visit Facebook Business to start a business Facebook page.
- Time Out Chicago – another free citation site. You can claim your business by visiting its online site and submitting your business information.
- LinkedIn is a free citation site that accepts all kinds of businesses. Visit LinkedIn for instructions on developing a company page for your company.
- Tripadvisor – this is a paid service but it has valuable benefits. You start by claiming your citation through the Trip Advisor business listings.
- YouTube is a social media site that’s ready to use for free. Create a YouTube business channel to start.
Use Local Content Publishers
Getting your website in the best local Chicago citation sites is just one step. You also need to create high-quality, consistent content to keep your audience engaged and publish your content in the city’s top online publishing companies.
Having your content cited or published from these top publishing sites can build your online reputation faster. Also, you can link to these publishing sites to further improve your engagement.
Chicago has several content publishing sites that cater to different niches like news, local events, entertainment, food/restaurant, business/technology, sports, music/entertainment, and travel. Some of the best content publishing sites to consider are the Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Magazine, NBC Chicago, Chicago Reader, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, and Chicago Traveler.
But these top publishing sites won’t accept content from just any contributor. You must show that your content is engaging, unique, and relevant, something that’s related to your services, products, or brand.
The Chicago Chamber of Commerce
Local businesses in Chicago support the community and other businesses by joining their Local Chamber of Commerce. Having your business included in the Chamber can be a profitable backlink that further improves your local reputation.
Local chambers have online directories. These directories include the business names and other important information such as phone number, address, and website. Joining a chamber means your website will be a part of their online directory, which helps your customers find you online.
Aside from having your business posted on the chamber’s directory, you can use the group’s site to further improve your rankings. You can submit a guest post to the local chamber blog to showcase your expertise in a certain field. You can also sponsor a local chamber event, or, if you have the budget, you can sponsor the entire group in their various activities. Any of these strategies can help earn good outbound links.
Be Seen on Event Websites
Chicago is host to many annual events, especially in the metropolitan area proper. Participating in these events will give you more chances to engage your audience while improving your local presence.
Having your local event posted on event websites is another great opportunity to improve visibility. Local events sites exist for different industries, markets, and niches. Some of the top event sites to consider in Chicago are TimeOut for general events, Metromix for entertainment and nightlife, and the Chicago Reader for music, entertainment, and the arts.
Be Seen in Chicago Universities
Getting links from top Chicago universities is not just an honor but it also has many benefits. Educational websites have one of the highest domain authorities amog other markets. Thus, links from these sites can dramatically improve your reputation.
The best part of links from educational institutions is that it’s easier to accomplish. You can offer student and faculty discounts for links. You may also sponsor university events, on-campus shows, and other school activities to get links.
To get valuable links, some of the top universities are Columbia College, University of Chicago, DePaul University, and the University of Illinois- Chicago.
Your Chicago-based business can benefit immensely from SEO. You can improve your business reputation and brand with these tips in mind. Take the time to determine the right SEO tactics to get the best exposure for your business. The city has a competitive market, but you can beat your completion and grab the spotlight with these technical SEO strategies.