Posted on July 26, 2012 by
Have you noticed the map and listing that shows up when searching for local products or services? A fairly recent change in the Google and Bing search engine results page has increased the importance of location-specific business listings. This change means that the search results are now biased towards those businesses close to the location of the person executing the search.
In this example of a search, the location is set for Denver Colorado with a search for “hair salons”. The results page includes a map of the possible local options. Often, with a more generic keyword search, there are too many possible choices. This means that there are too many results for a logical selection and the search should be narrowed to include the name of a street or neighborhood. In addition to local search, businesses must also understand the keywords used to find their business using a search engine. The example above for “hair salons”, displays a list of nearby businesses specific to this keyword term. Search savvy business owners can research popular keywords using the Google keyword tool to find high-demand keywords.
Most local business owners recognize that a local listing on the web is a necessity. They also know that this listing is not like the paper version of the Yellow Pages, where there is a clear method for paying to be included in the listings. Fortunately, the Yellow Pages is now online and provides an online listing service. Given this new trend, business owners can take control of the search experience for their business by creating free accounts on such sites as Google Places and taking ownership of dynamically created accounts such as those found on business ratings sites such as Yelp!, City Search and LocalPages. A business can still work with AT&T or the Yellow Pages to acquire a paid listing in each of these online directories. And despite all of their hype to the contrary, these directories may not yield the qualified traffic they promise.
Data shows that a large percentage of a business’s current and future customers are using search to help find and buy products and services nearby. The importance of being visible in these search engines is critical and it is only going to become more important.
Whether you are a small seller of food, hard goods, services or a large company that wants to grow revenue, local search should be a vital part of the lead generation process.
Kent is currently Advisor and SEO Strategist to Roaring Pajamas a boutique digital-strategy company located in San Carlos California. His in-house SEO experience spans GoDaddy, QuinStreet, Ask.com, Dictionary.com, Adobe and IBM where he did extensive audits and optimization for local and international web properties. He and his team also execute reputation management, link building and social media campaigns.Kent Yunk View all posts by Kent Yunk →