Local Search Replaced Yellow Page Print Ads
Did you know that search engines are the #1 resource used by consumers looking for products and services from local businesses? If you’re like most people, that’s where you turn for answers, too. But of course, that’s not how it was always done.
Before the Internet and Google, people relied on the Yellow Pages for finding local sellers. If you owned a local business, marketing was simple. You placed an ad in the phone book. Poof, done!
These days, a Yellow Pages print ad is unlikely to make your phone ring. If you have a business that depends on local traffic, here’s what that means for you: your website better appear prominently in search results or you’re losing sales to your competitors.
Optimizing your local search listings to ensure your business appears prominently to consumers in your local market is the solution. In fact, it is one of the best and most economical ways to attract new customers to your business.
However, optimization is easier said than done. To be successful in local search, you need to know what you’re doing. That’s where Charlottesville SEO Web Development comes in. We can help you appear in the all-important Google Map results and in dozens of directories where you’ll be found by prospective customers in your local area.
How People Search
Both Google and Bing say that over 20 percent of all desktop search queries are local. This translates to approximately 3 billion Google search queries every month that include local terms (according to Comscore reports). Local searches involve some type of geographic parameter such as: “Boston hardware stores” or “plumbers in Charlottesville,” for example.
Approximately 50 percent of queries on mobile phones and tablets are local. That percentage is expected to increase in the coming years as mobile-device use continues to expand.
Now you get a sense of how important local search is and why positioning your business to capitalize on that trend should be integral to your marketing strategy.
Companies that invest now in local search will gain a significant competitive advantage. You need to be there when customers look for you online, plain and simple. Playing hard to get might have worked for you in the dating world, but in business, it equals failure.
Who Needs Local Search Marketing?
Local search marketing is critical for stores, restaurants, medical practices, hotels, and more. But they’re not the only ones who should maintain a local presence.
Even businesses that don’t depend only on local customers, such as companies selling on a national or international scale, still need to be visible via local search to potential vendors, strategic partners, prospective employees, and customers in their area.
The bottom line? If you can’t be found by the locals, you’re probably missing opportunities to grow your business.
Start with Google My Business
Google My Business puts your business information on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Plus so customers can find you, regardless of what device they’re using. They can get directions to your business in Maps, your hours of operation in search, or a phone number they can click to call you on their cell phone.
Google My Business can also help you build a loyal fan base. Your customers can rate your company and write reviews. They can use the +1 button to endorse any content you post, and re-share your Google Plus posts across the web.
Charlottesville SEO Web Development can help you get started with a professional listing on Google My Business.
Local Search Ranking Factors
Once you’ve established your Google My Business listing, you can focus on other factors to improve your ranking in local search results. Begin with search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s rank for specific words and phrases that searchers are likely to query when seeking your products or services.
If you have a catering business in Charlottesville, you’ll want to use the words “Charlottesville catering” on your website. Keywords should appear in your text as well as your meta-tags, which Google uses to index your site. Also be sure to include your full address in one or more places.
Next you’ll want to add quality content, and plenty of it. Add pages to your website that describe each of your products or services. You might also consider creating a blog to provide visitors and subscribers a continual stream of educational information.
Acquire Citations and Reviews
A great way to improve your local ranking is to take advantage of local listings. Look for opportunities to have your business represented in business directories such as your local Chamber of Commerce, or service organizations like the Rotary Club. Seek opportunities to list your business on reputable websites where local consumers can find your business. Such references are called citations.
You can also post listings and profiles on social sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Plus.
Finally, encourage your satisfied customers to write reviews of your business and post them on sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and Amazon. Their favorable comments can be found online by people searching for businesses like yours.
Local Search Optimization Is Important but Not Simple
Local search is cost effective but complicated. Acquiring new customers via local search visibility requires strategic implementation and ongoing monitoring and management. Achieving top results won’t happen overnight. It takes a consistent effort over an extended period of time.
Charlottesville SEO Web Development can help you in your quest for online visibility in your local geographic market. Call us today in Virginia at 434-284-2840 for more information on how your business can gain prominence and dominance with professional local search optimization. If you’re reading this after hours (Virginia time), please send us a note using the brief form in our footer (below). We look forward to hearing from you!