Local business marketing has many differences to the marketing of national or international businesses. As most people turn to the Internet these days to search for products, services and stores, an online presence is just as vital for a local business as it is for a multinational or chain store.
However, local businesses can face a problem when it comes to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Appearing on search results for a customer on the other side of the country, or even on the other side of the Atlantic, is not going to benefit a local business; likewise, not appearing when people are searching for services and businesses in a local area, means your local business marketing is not effective.
Understanding how search engines operate, and how people use them to find local businesses, services and stores, can go a long way in improving local business marketing. The key to successful Internet marketing for local businesses is to make sure your
presence and online reputation is geared toward the local area, as well as toward the type of business that you are in.
Fortunately, search engines are getting better and better at identifying where searchers are from. This geo-targeting ensures that a local business ranks higher in searches when somebody from the same area searches for a product or service. When somebody conducts a Google, Bing or Yahoo search, the IP address tells the search engine where the searcher
is based, which then helps the search engine find local and relevant search results for that person. However, many local businesses fail to have enough information regarding their locality on their business website or other social media networks throughout the web to take advantage of such geo-targeting.
If your local business is based in Chicago, this information needs to be clear on your website for the search engines to understand where you are located. One way of doing this is to include an address footer at the bottom of each page, which will allow search engines to see the location when they crawl the site. Another way is to incorporate the location in the company name or slogan, such as “Pizza Palace – Chicago’s Favorite Pizza Parlor.”
Your website should also be rich in local based keywords. Keywords hold a lot of weight when it comes to appearing in search results, so make full use of H1 and H2 tags, and include the location in these headers. Content should also be localized, so try to mention the location throughout the website’s pages, but make sure it’s natural and organic and not forced.
Check back next week for more information on this topic as it relates to:
- Localize Adwords and Backlinks
- Google Places and Google +
We’d love to hear your experiences with local business search and what’s worked for you in the past!