A high position in the search engine results is the golden ticket to increased traffic and sales volume. Small business owners frequently optimize their Web sites for Yahoo, Google, and MSN. If a small business wants to differentiate itself from the competition, it should also incorporate local search engine optimization into the online marketing plan.
Historically, the yellow pages were the place to find a nearby business. These days, people are busy and they want a wealth of information at their fingertips. They get this information by conducting online searches on their PC, laptop, or mobile device. Smart online business owners take advantage of this and list themselves on local search engines.
Google Maps, Yahoo Local, SuperPages, CitySearch, and Live Maps are just a few of the major relevant engines. A business can submit its listing through Google Local to become listed on Google Maps. In terms of neighborhood queries, Google is the most aggressive of all the engines. Getting a spot on the top 10 nearby results with a phone number puts the small business owner in the money. Yahoo Local lets owners list their sites at no charge and automatically syncs the data with Yahoo Maps. SuperPages and CitySearch include reviews and social elements with their maps.
The small business Web site should have address and contact information listed on all pages. It should be included in a footer area of each page, as well as added to a “Contact Us” section. When using geographically-relevant keywords, alternate versions should be incorporated. For example, some searches use both TX and Texas and do not equate them with each other. In addition to optimizing the business site, the company should get listings on directories, yellow pages, and consumer sites catering to the area.
If the business services different geographic areas, it should create an individual Web page regarding each. Links with targeted anchors should be set up to point to these pages. High PR pages should contain these links and point to the geographic-specific pages. Placing some home page links to these city pages will also help with the rankings.
While the competition turns the other way, savvy business owners perform local search engine optimization. Doing this and engaging in other regional online marketing efforts will improve geographically-based engine rankings. Soon the small business will have so many new orders, it will need to expand!