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Using Local Search for Your Small Business

Everyone by now knows how important search engine marketing can be for a business. But for a long time now local small businesses have asked themselves what does the internet actually mean for them? If you own a local auto repair shop, car dealership, or clothing retailer then you depend on local customers for sales. You don’t ship products to customers half way around the globe or even to the next state over. You’re a local business and your customers are local too. But if you haven’t noticed in the last few years a change has taken place in search engine marketing that even your business can benefit from. It used to be that people searching for something on the internet were searching for something that they couldn’t get locally. Well the times have changed and now about 20% of all internet searches are done by people looking for something local. In fact they might just be looking for something your business may offer. Gone are the days of dragging out that heavy phonebook to find a plumber, florist, or a place to rent a tuxedo. Now people use their computers, iPhones, Android phones or Touchpads and do a local search. The question is, can they find you? So what exactly is a local search? A local search starts when someone types a keyword into a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Now it used to be you might type in something like “Auto Repair Nashville” to get local business listings. But that’s not the case anymore. Now search engine use your IP Address to determine your location. So if I type in “Auto Repair” and I live in Nashville the search engine uses my IP Address, determines my location and automatically displays results for the Nashville area for me. The catch here is that if the major search engines do not know you exist or the information they have is inaccurate then they’re going to display your competition instead of you. You might not think this is such a big deal, but it can be. According to Google the keyword “auto repair Nashville” is searched for approximately 1,600 times per month locally. That’s 1600 people that need auto repair work every month that are probably going somewhere besides your business to get their car fixed because they can’t find you. That why local search has become so important. It drives more business. Now you might say that I do come up for local searches already. But many small businesses that appear in local searches still don’t have a website. So you come up on a local search but your competition has a website. If I want more information so that I can make a more informed choice of who to go to then the business with a website has the advantage. A basic business website is both affordable and an advertising necessity in today’s internet world. Whether your business is already appearing in local search results or not there are a few key points to remember that can easily enhance your local search presence.

Location, Location, Location.

Make sure on your website you include your physical address. The search engines will read every piece of information you have to offer. So make sure to include your business address and phone numbers in the footer of your website.

Make sure your listings are complete.

Local listings are important in verifying information for search engines. For example you might find that you have a similar business name to someone else. So search engines use resources like SuperPages.com and Citysearch.com to verify information. If you have an old address or phone number listed then you might confuse the search engine. Clear and accurate data is necessary for every listing. It’s also important to be as complete as possible.

Get listed as much as possible.

The more listings you have the better. There are a number of places online to list your business. Use them because the more you do the better off you are. Think of each listing that you create as being one more point in your favor. The major search engines like to see a lot of listings about you.

Reviews are important.

Not every review is a good review but they are all important. Google for example draws from multiple sources and displays reviews for searchers to read. Those positive reviews will help drive more business your way. Remember whether the experience was positive or negative people like to write reviews and other potential customers will be reading them. Local search is already huge. Millions of searches are done each day now for local businesses and if you’re not included then you’re missing a huge opportunity. So take the time and do a search. See where you rank. And ask yourself is it really good enough?


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