Many online business owners overlook local search marketing. This potentially risks losing share in their largest market. As with all search engine marketing, time, skill and patience is involved; however the rewards justify the commitments. Local search marketing involves the targeting of a specific geographical audience in a sites’ search marketing campaign.
To successfully market a website to a local audience, there are several critical steps every website owner must take:
1. Add Your Site to Local Search Map Directories:
This is a simple step that can achieve quick results. The most popular is Google Maps. Google Maps simply requires a website owner to fill out a form. Required information includes location, contact information and business hours. Google Maps can also incorporate videos and pictures. You will be required to have a Google account, but both are free anyway. Registering with Google Maps will increase your search engine rankings for local searchers utilizing Google Maps. Website owners should also register with Yahoo! Local and Bing Local. Search marketing is still required here, however, so don’t overlook the search marketing basics of keyword research and regularly enriching the site with quality content targeting your most relevant keywords. If one adds business information to these map directories then the local search marketing campaign has more substance attached to it, as, for example, Google Maps, will recognise the fact that the site is registered and will hence take the site into account for certain search terms, for example ‘search marketing Ulverston’.
2. Implement Local Search Geo Tags:
Geo tagging allows website owners to add geographical information in the form of metatags, which will help their local search marketing campaign. These tags can be attached to websites, videos, photographs, RSS feeds and more. Most commonly submitted in the form of coordinates, they assist spiders with locating your business on maps. When local searchers enter geocentric keywords, Google will know you are relevant and the searcher will see you. This is becoming more and more popular for optimising local search, as Google maps and other map directories use the same co-ordinates.
3. Google Webmaster Tools:
Google is well known for the many webmaster tools they offer, so it should come as no surprise they can assist you with local search marketing as well. In the settings portion, there is a section called “Geographic target.” Filling this information out will assist search engines with locating your business geographically. Geographic search marketing, in the future, will be a huge industry, as the majority of people will search for plumbers, builders etc using the search engines.
4. Local Search Directories:
Be sure to take the time to submit your website to any local web directories. This will improve your SERP rankings for local searches and indirectly for the short-tail phrase, minus the location optimised towards. As an added benefit, it will provide you with some backlinks, which will also improve your rankings. Directories like Business.com and Yahoo Local are also essential. The search engines are considering their stance for local search marketing campaigns, as the sheer quantity of competition in the future will be significantly increased.
After these steps are performed, website owners can take things up a notch by employing mainstream search marketing techniques to focus on the local market. Article marketing, keyword research and blogging can all be used to market your business locally. Utilize keywords that include your geographical information in your articles and blogs. Develop your keyword list not only for uniqueness and relevancy, but for geo targeting as well. This will typically mean a little more effort on your part, but can help improve your local rankings. For example, if local search marketing is utilised efficiently for their geographical market, then a company in Cambridge could optimise for ‘Cambridge’, ‘East Anglia’, Cambridgeshire’ and other relevant locations. These places can be placed with the relevant shot and long-tail phrases associated with the business.
Local search marketing is really just a just a subset of search marketing or SEO. Like any field of optimisation, it does take time. If you do not feel you have the skills or time to fully implement an SEO program for local searches, consider outsourcing to an Internet Marketing Company. Local Search is a great and essential piece of any successful Internet Marketing Strategy.