18th May 2015
Local Website Optimization
In my previous article, I mentioned the benefits of having a website for your small business. Most small businesses are locally based-owned and operated. The Internet is an effective and cost-efficient way to drive customers to your local business and the tool that makes it work is Local Optimization. According to research done by Webvisible and the Nielson Company, 63% of consumers and small business owners turn to the internet first for information about local companies and 82% use search engines to do so.
This means that consumers are no longer turning to the yellow pages to find local products and services, they are going to the Internet first. (In fact, you can find the whole yellow pages listings online already.) Consumers are not just searching for “widgets” anymore, they are searching for “widgets AND my city” in an effort to narrow their searches to their own neighborhood.
For example, if you own an auto repair shop, potential customers might do a search for “auto repair in Rancho Cucamonga”. Potential customers want not only to see your prices; they want more information about your services and capabilities as well as a map and directions to your location.
Local Optimization is the way of the future. Searches on Google, Yahoo, and Bing are coming up with the local business results at the top of the list and are showing a map of the local results. It will not be long before it becomes the sole way to find companies. Now, what can the average small business owner do to help their enterprise get spotted? Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Submit / Claim your local business listings on the major search engines. This includes Google Places, Yahoo! Local Listings, and Bing Local Listing Center.
2. Add your business to several of the top local business directories. Yelp, CitySearch, InfoUSA, and SuperPages are some of the more popular local directories.
3. Gather reviews for your local business listings. Ask customers, business partners, and friends to submit a review for your business to help you build your online reputation.
4. Optimize your web pages for Local SEO. Some of the simple things you can do are add your complete, local address and phone number on every page of your website. List your location in your page title tags. And consider creating individual web pages that “talk up” a product or service and mention the specific location.
5. Build an AdWords pay-per-click advertising campaign using your business keywords AND your local city.
By applying these simple, basic tips for Local Optimization, you should see an increase in search traffic to your website. As more people are using the Internet to find local products and services, Local Optimization should be an important component of your marketing plan.