Local shoppers are going online to find products and services in your town — you must find ways to get found when they do!
Right now, in every community in America, increasing numbers of people of all ages are turning to the world wide web to find products and services right their at home.
This trend, known generically as local search presents a huge opportunity for small businesses that focus on winning in this arena. Below are seven steps every local business should explore today in order to gain a competitive advantage in their local markets. (Someone in your market and industry will do this, why not you?)
1. Register with the primary local and social search engines Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Ask, Local.com and TrueLocal are all awaiting your information as they build local search directories. Make sure you are listed.
Judy's Book, Craig's List, and Insider Pages are sites building directories with user generated reviews. Get in those as well and manage your online reputation
2. Optimize your web site for local search 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
3. Put a map on your site The whole mapping category just keeps getting easier to use. Google Maps, both mapping and local directory, recently added 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. Many businesses can benefit from this tool, especially when it comes to local search.
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. I've simply pasted that code below so the map shows up in this post, but you could put it on any web page. Then create directions in text to your business from various routes and you've created some nice local keyword rich content. (This is a good web content strategy even if your clients don't need to find your office.)
4. Check 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.
5. Add local 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. Don't forget to put your physical mailing address on every page — that's local content too.
6. Add a blog A blog (not a free blogger one, but one that resides on your domain) is one of the most powerful local search tools going. You can simply post about things going on in the community, school events, neighborhood block parties, the local sports teams. It's helpful if you can do this and post content that is relevant to your primary business, but as long as the towns and neighborhoods you want to score well in the search engines with are in your posts and titles, you will get some serious lift for those terms.
7. Get local inbound links The search engines give lots of credit for links that are coming back to your site from other sites. Go out their and find some local directories or strategic partners that will link back to your site but don't have them link back to your business name - Joe's Pet Shop. Have them link back to your site with a local search term like — Toledo's Biggest Pet Shop.
About the Author
John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award winning social media publisher and author of Duct Tape Marketing. He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing small business marketing system. You can find more information by visiting www.ducttapemarketing.com