Local Search marketing refers to the use of special search engines and online business directories such as Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Yelp, City Search, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, Kudzo and many others. Local search is not merely a component of a more broad search marketing campaign, but is a solid strategy in of itself.
The old method of using search engine advertising to reach local markets was to use local qualifying keywords and target locally through a national distribution. But marketers can achieve even better local results through the use of the local search directories and local search engines.
Searchers do not have to type in geographical modifiers or local identifiers to get local search results. Several major search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, can identify searchers by IP address. Marketers now find they are reaching more people with IP-targeted local campaigns than with a national campaign using local keywords. IP-targeted ads deliver better CTRs (click-through-rates) and costs per conversion.
Additionally, local search results often appear at the top of the main search results.
The major search engines often have partnerships with local information providers, such as Ask Jeeves’ partnership with CitySearch. Professional SEMs can utilize listings from local search providers so that they get greater search engine visibility and branding impact on the major web search engines.
The reason for this success is that searchers are not just searching for widgets anymore, they are searching for widgets in their market area. Even if an advertiser doesn’t have an actual ‘brick-and-mortar’ store, searchers still want to do business with someone local when possible. This market trend has spawned the growth of Yahoo Local, Google+ Local and other similar local search engines.
People don’t just rely on search engines to find local businesses. There are hundreds of local directories that that people use to search, and you should get a page set up on each. Not only will it help your local SEO, but it also gives another way for people to find you. Each industry will have its own set of aggregators, and doing a search for “City + industry” will help you find your options.
Search For Competitors
You should always know what your competition is doing. For local SEO, you want to know where they are listed. Searching for their business name and phone number (in quotation marks) will bring you additional places to list your business information.
Try searching without an area code to bring up more localized places. Also search the business name with an address and city. You may need to click through a couple of pages since the first page will be results related to that business specifically.
Again, putting in your industry will narrow down results, and you can also search for your industry, such as “dentist directories” or “San Diego dentist listings.” And don’t forget your local chamber of commerce website. It’s a great resource.
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