The majority of small businesses online are looking for customer in their town. Good news is that recent research suggests that the majority of online searchers are also looking for local goods and services online.
What this means for marketers is that you must pay special attention to winning the local search engine wars. The good news is that when a local shopper types in a very specific localized search term, the search engines are getting much better at showing listings of real, local small businesses.
The following are a few steps that will make it even easier for local searchers and the search engines to find your business.
GoogleMaps, YahooLocal and MSNLive all have local directories that allow you to enhance your listing with lots of extra information about your business. In some cases you can add product images and even video.
Check out your Social Search Profiles
Social search sites exist to list, rank and review local businesses – getting and promoting good reviews on these sites can be very important.
Here are the leading sites:
Get Your Local HTML Sparkling
- Put local terms in you page titles — not Home page — Kansas City Electrical Contractor
- Put local terms in your anchor text — not Kitchens — New York Kitchens
- Put local terms in your H1 and H2 tags
- Put local terms in your body copy
Google Maps has a feature that makes it super easy to embed a map rather than simply copy an image or link to a map. This means that you can use a map with all the functionality right on your web page.
To create a map for your business, simply visit Google Maps, conduct a search for your business (you've got to be in the Google Maps directory to show up — get listed), hit the "link to this page" link and copy the HTML code for your map.
Don’t forget to place your address, including reference to suburbs, neighborhoods and cross street and local landmarks.
Update Your InfoUSA Listing
InfoUSA compiles lists for direct mail and telemarketing but they also provide a great deal of the directory listing information for many of the smaller search directories. Go here and make sure your listing is correct and up to date. You can also add things like your web site address to the profile.
Create Community Content
You should create several pages of content on your site focused on local angels. You can report local news, talk about your firm's history in a town, give an overview of non-profit activities, even report on the various suburbs your staff hails from.
A blog is one of the most powerful local search tools going. It makes it very easy to post about things going on in the community, school events, neighborhood block parties, and the local sports teams.
Get Local Inbound Links
One of the most important factors for search engines is that other sites are linking back to your site. The thinking is that this is like a positive vote for your site from somebody other than you. Go out their and find some local directories or strategic partners that will link back to your site.
Don’t forget links from Chambers, leads groups, local chapters of associations and even alumni directories.