Regular SEO is not the only optimization that needs to be taken into consideration when designing your webpage. Equally as important is local search engine optimization, which is also equally time consuming. The same basic principles apply, quality content and links. However the tactics differ slightly.
A local search can be essential to a small business. Google revealed in 2010 that the portions of result pages that show map are one in 13. Google changed from its Local Business Center to Google Places, to include information such as hours of operation, photos, videos coupons and product offerings.
Keeping all this in mind, here’s what you need to know to tap into local markets.
To begin, list your business in Google Places (a free service). Familiarize yourself with how all the features work including the tools Google supplies such as; tracking of actions, information on maps, driving directions, as well as impressions. It will be important to get ratings and references as well. Don’t forget to also register at Yahoo! Local and Bing Local.
Next verify your business. Search for your brand name online, including the city you are supposed to be listed in. When clicking on your local result you may notice that it has not been verified. If you are not listed, take action. Google pulls the data on this result from some larger business aggregators like infoUSA and attempts to match it, if this data is incorrect it would be important for the owner to take corrective measures.
Following verifying your business, select the categories that best describe your business. Continue to add as much information as possible, including your businesses hours, email, address, telephone number, web address, photos and any other relevant information.
Obtaining listings from local business directories such as Yelp and Merchant Circle can be a tool to increase traffic and exposure. Make sure your information is uniform across all locations.
Lastly, ask for reviews from customers. Offering special incentives or discounts can increase the likelihood of obtaining reviews from customer visits.