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.
To successfully market a website to a local audience, there are several critical steps every website owner must take:
1. Add your site to map directories: This is a simple step that can net 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. SEO is still required here, however, so donâ€™t overlook the SEO basics of keyword research and regularly enriching the site with quality content targeting your most relevant keywords.
2. Implement Geo Tags: Geo tagging allows website owners to add geographical information in the form of metatags. 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.
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 â€œGeographic target.â€ Filling this information out will assist search engines with locating your business geographically.
4. Local 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. 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.
After these steps are performed, website owners can take things up a notch by employing mainstream SEO 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.
Local search marketing is really just a just a subset of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Like any optimization, 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.
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