Local search is a subcategory of overall search that can give a big boost to your business whether you are a big brand national services advertiser in local markets or a local business looking to expand. Some analysts expect local search revenue to double this year and become even more critical when emerging mobile phone technology allows people to stand on the street corner and ask about a local pizza shop, FedEx or Kinko's.
Currently, many businesses don't know how to maximize local search listings because available information is too confusing or doesn't spell out how to use local search listings for full advantage. Think of it as optimizing local search practices and you will reap the rewards.
For instance, did you know that many top data providers and local search sites allow businesses to list for free? A list is offered on the next page, not only of the well-recognized search engines like Google Maps, Google Local Business, but also the local data providers such as Amacai/Localeze and top internet Yellow Pages site, DexOnline.
Also, pay attention to your creative, your ad messaging and your landing page. Major search engines and some top local search sites have started to use "quality scores" coupled with your keyword/category bid price to determine where and how often your ad will be displayed.
And simple things such as getting a link on another key website like the Chamber of Commerce can extend your reach with little effort.
See below for 10 ways, with examples, on how to improve your business through local search.
1. Get listed for free
The top data providers and local search sites allow businesses to add/update basic local business listings for free. Visit these sites to find your local business listings and verify/update as needed.
Top local search sites
MSN Live Search
Top local data providers
Amacai (or Localeze)
Top internet yellow pages sites
2. Location, location, location
Do you have more than one business location? If one location is in Pinole, Calif. and the other is in Northridge, Calif., make sure you have specific content on your advertisements and website that references both locations. This also applies when submitting and/or updating your business address information on top local search site, as mentioned in the previous tip.
The below example shows two Public Storage business listings on Google Maps.
3. Think locally
Make sure that the content on your website and/or the actual keywords you choose to target use local, geo-designated terms. When consumers search, they're often looking for products/services in a specific geographic area, therefore you'll get a higher response if your ad appears in searches that are specific to your area. For example, if you are an auto dealer in Portland, opt for "automobiles, Portland OR" rather than simply "automobiles."
The below example shows two sponsored listings for Honda cars. The first listing (http://www.honda.com/) was not optimized for local visibility. Typically you would see such a listing appear for a general search such as "Automobiles." However, the second listing (http://www.carsdirect.com/) references the local area in which the ad is targeted to: Portland. Not only does this ad reference "Portland" in the ad title, but it also mentions it in the body of the sponsored link text as well.
Next: Be relevant