Last week we covered an overview of local search and how to register with the local feature of each of the big three search engines. If you want a review on how to register see: Google, Yahoo, Bing.
Today we’ll discuss other local search directories. These directories provide a large amount of local search traffic and are growing in popularity. Each of them has different features and are attractive for various reasons. Today’s blog is simply a listing of the options available. It doesn’t hurt to get listed in all or most of these forms depending on what your business does and the value the local search provides.
While these sites aren’t necessarily the most heavily searched sites they are targeting local people who are performing local searches and looking to buy. So when a customer does find your business on these sites converting that person to a buying customer becomes easier. Registering at these sites expands your reach and your personal web.
Local search is a fast easy and free way to ensure your business is findable on the web. The major sites that provide local search are Google, Yahoo and now Bing. They all have their own sing up method and none are difficult to complete. The local search feature will not drive huge amounts of traffic to your site but it’s an important first step. The local search registration will be valuable when a customer is looking for you and is foundational to completing the three-step process I outlined yesterday. Lets take an example.
I’m Joe Average and I live in Marietta Ga. When I search the web using Google for “Flowers” from my computer located in Marietta. Google knows I’m in Marietta because I have either previously entered the information or they look at the IP address of my computer which will provide them a proximity. When Google presents the search results one of the first listings will be a Google map with local businesses that might sell flowers in Marietta or the surrounding area. If I’m looking for your particular Flower shop and you don’t show then I’m likely to find another Flower shop.
Two other important points 1) customers have the opportunity to rate your business via local search engines and 2) You can offer a coupon via the local search. These are two opportunities you don’t want to miss. Encourage your customers to rate your business and mention that there is a coupon out there to help encourage them. People love coupons and you can customize it any way you want.
As I mention above this step is a foundational necessity. The Adwords and social networking will truly begin to drive traffic but you want to be sure that you are findable through local search. Additionally on Google you’ll want to complete a profile so if someone searches for your name they can always find you on the first page of Google although it will be at the bottom.
Finally, I’ll post a few short instructional video’s running through the sign-up process for each of these sights. In another up coming post we’ll spend some time reviewing other local search options that will drive traffic such as Kudzu and citysearch.
I’ll soon be addressing an organization about social networking. Most everyone in the organization has small businesses that serve the local market. Many are in real estate, financial advisors, mortgage brokers, carpet cleaning, catering, and other truly local businesses. They don’t need a national audience and they don’t need to spend money or waste time with efforts that won’t bring them benefit. So what are some strategies they can use with their customers for marketing locally?
There are three areas that to considered for small local businesses and one commonly considered area not to considered.
Lets start with what not toconsider. What I’m about to tell you may come as a surprise. You may need to sit down before hearing this from a web guy. BUT DON”T waste your time with SEO. SEO – Search Engine Optimization is great if you are a web-based business that serves a national audience. SEO is great if you have lots of money to spend on it. However SEO just doesn’t provide the return on investment that is required if your business doesn’t serve a national audience. This being said does not mean you shouldn’t understand your marketing message or the Key words that are important for your web site.
So what should you focus on: Local Search, Paid Search and Social Networking/Web 2.0. Look for tomorrow’s post addressing Local search which is free and/or cheap to implement.