Chances are as a small business or an entrepreneur the products or services that you offer are targeted to a local area. When this is the case it is very important to develop your search engine optimization strategy with a plan to attract localized searches. If you are a pizza shop in Philadelphia it makes logical sense to target searches of people looking for a pizza shop in Philadelphia or if you’re a lawyer in New York it is logical to target searches looking for a lawyer in New York and not someone looking for a lawyer in California.
There are three Search Engine Marketing techniques to maximize local search (using Google as an example). This blog entry will focus on the two easier ways to maximize local search, part two of this blog will focus on a more complicated strategy to maximize local search
Get your Website listed on Google local business results
This should be mandatory for any business with a physical location. By getting listed as a local business you will be included in Google’s maps and also will be shown in results that target your location. For example if you are a restaurant in Philadelphia you will be included in Google maps so that a person getting directions to your location can simply just type in the name of your restaurant instead of your address to find directions. Also if a person is on Google maps close to your location you will show up.
Most importantly you will be queried in the result set under local business for restaurants in Philadelphia with a map of your location attached. These results typically are at the top or near the top of Google rankings. This does not apply to every type of business but will work for most businesses that have a physical location.
This is very simple to accomplish, here are the steps
- Visit www.google.com/local
- Click the link “Put your business on Google Maps”
- Set up a Google Account and confirm via email
- Click the link “add your business”
- Add your location information
- You will be sent a postcard from Google with a PIN number to confirm your business is actually in that location
- Log back into your Local Google account and add your PIN number for confirmation
Pay per Click (Google Adwords) Advertising
For many businesses Pay per Click is a great way to drive traffic to your Website. Be aware, many businesses do not profit from their Pay per Click advertising campaigns. It is important to keep a close eye on your PPC analytics to be sure your ads are profitable.
Google Adwords is a great strategy for localized businesses because you can control who sees your ad by location. Google generally knows the location of the person who does a search on Google; this is very beneficial to your business. AdWords allows you to set up your advertising campaign so only people within a specific geographic location (zip code radius, by city, by state, etc) sees your advertisement. This prevents people who are not in your physical location to click on your ad which will cost you money.
For example, let’s say you’re a bankruptcy Lawyer in Chicago; it is important that you target your Adwords so only people either in Chicago or within a specific zip code radius (possibly within 50 miles of your zip code) sees your ad when they search for a lawyer. Targeting your location using Adwords is an easy way to drive business to your Website when a searcher searches for bankruptcy lawyer.
Part 2 of this installment will focus on a more complicated strategy in maximizing your results on search engines. The blog entry will focus on Natural Search Engine Optimization and how to rank high on Google and other search engines when a searcher is looking locally for your products or services.