You have to admit, it’s probably been a while since you used the Yellow Pages (the actual hard copy version with pages, not the online one) to find a business that you are looking for. The Internet has become the primary place that people are getting their information, even when looking for local businesses. If you are working with an Internet marketing agency, chances are they are helping you to develop a strong presence in the local search market. If not, then here are some steps that you should be taking if you want to increase your exposure on the local front.
1. Make sure that your business website looks as professional as possible. You want to have something to show off when people are looking for a place to do business. Your Internet marketing agency should already be addressing the quality and appearance of your site, but it doesn’t hurt to take an objective look yourself and even ask the opinions of your friends, family members and business associates.
2. Now that your website looks great, you have to make sure it contains all of the pieces of relevant information that your potential customers will need in order to find you. If you are strictly an online business, make sure your site is very user friendly and easy to navigate. You should definitely have a toll free number (you can get this very inexpensively) in case a customer has a question that is better handled with a phone call rather than an email. Don’t worry, it’s easy to set up an online voice mail and you won’t have to be sitting by the phone for all hours waiting for a call. If you have a physical location, then an exact address and phone number, along with hours of operation, should be prominently featured on your site. Do not make your visitors search too hard for this information, they will leave and go somewhere else.
3. Choose keywords that are related to your geographical region. For example, if you are operating a business in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, you would want to include those words in your content, title and meta tags to get better local search results.
4. Always submit your local search information to the local search services, like Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp and Bing. You want to make sure that your business appears on the results page, regardless of the search engine of choice of the potential customer. If you cannot figure out how to accomplish this, ask your Internet marketing agency for help.
5. Ask customers how they found you, so that you can keep track of how well your local search marketing efforts are working and if any changes need to be made.
Local search is not very different from the regular search engine optimization that you are going to need for your site, but it is an important component of your Internet marketing plan and should be carefully managed. People are constantly using mobile devices to get the information that they need, and mobile devices lean heavily to local search results. Get your company more visible and get more customers in your door (or to your site!).