Online searching and the internet has replaced the phone book. If customers can’t find you on Google, or other search engines (67.5% of search traffic via Google, according to Search Engine Watch) then you probably won’t be found, unless your local business enjoys a tremendous amount of foot traffic and word of mouth. In today’s ultracompetitive marketplace, Local Search Engine Marketing really matters.
If your local business doesn’t receive top local search rankings for your chosen keywords on major search engines, then you’re losing customers, sales, and
exposure to your competition on a daily basis.
Local results appear when searching for a general or geo-centric keyword such as “restaurants.” Google tailors what you could be searching for by sorting these results by local establishment first and related reviews or articles of those places.
You will notice local results by the inclusion of a Google Maps result in the upper right hand corner with the local listings listed above the organic results. Local results will stay on page one and will not appear further in the search results.
Organics follow traditional text, header, and Meta tag style, while local results pop with a visual appeal over organic results. The main advantage is that user searching for your keyword may see your website appear on-top in local searches, even if you aren’t the top organic listing. This is because Google will show them geocentric results if they are signed into a google account that knows their location.
No matter what business you’re in, there are online directories that your business will need to be listed on, so potential customers can find you. Google is featuring those sites more prominently in local search results – often higher than its own Google+ Local listings. This means if you were relying on your Google listing alone to get found by local searchers, you need to broaden your approach.
Within the current Google search update, general listing sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Superpages.com, are just a few sites that have seen higher visibility on Google search results. In addition, many industry-specific directory sites like Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Realtor.com, Apartments.com, Healthgrades, and many more have also seen heightened prominence for local searches. This means you need to make sure your company is listed on all the sites that are relevant to your business and that information is accurate and consistent across them all.
There are different approaches with local maps and organic results in search engine optimization techniques. Large corporations can outspend smaller businesses in traditional means of advertising, but when it comes to gaining an online presence, it doesn’t have to cost much of anything if you know where to start. Local Maps results even the playing field and are an easier way to bridge the gap between the once unobtainable costs for customer acquisition for businesses. By linking-up with local businesses online and getting listed in local directories you can build a strong online presence in no time.