Local search engine optimization can be just as time consuming and competitive as “regular” SEO. The same rules apply — you need to have good content and quality links. However, the tactics are slightly different in specific areas.
Local search is essential to small businesses. In 2010, Google revealed that the proportion of Google result pages that show a map is one in 13. A few months later, Google changed from its Local Business Center (LBC) to Google Places, which enables businesses to communicate with customers as well as supplement their Google profile information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons and product offerings. We assume Google is serving maps more than 1 billion times a month.
With all of this in mind, here’s what you need to know to successfully tap into local markets.
Where to Begin
List your business in Google Places — it’s free. Watch a number of training videos and explore the features, including tools like tracking of actions (meaning how many times users showed interest in your business listing), clicks for more information on maps, driving directions or direct clicks, as well as impressions (how many times users saw your business listing as a local search result). As you’ll see, it will be important to get ratings and references, too.
While much focus is placed on Google Places, don’t forget to also register at:
- Yahoo! Local
- Bing Local