Monday, June 9, 2008

Simple Secrets to Hooking the local market

Big Fish -- Small Pond... Simple Secrets to Hooking the Local Market
By Derek Gehl
Visit the Internet Marketing Center to get more great tips!

If your have a local business -- like a service or a store -- you know you MUST have a website.

But how do you get to the top of the search results when you have to compete with every similar business on the Internet?


You only have to compete with similar businesses in your AREA.

Think about this... Erin lives in SoHo and needs to make some color prints during her lunch break.

She hops on the Internet, does a search for "color printing SoHo," and Google Maps shows a bunch of businesses in her neighborhood.

It even shows her where they're located.

She prints out the map and heads off to get her copies done.

Erin uses the location name in her search because if she just Googled "color printing" she'd get millions of useless results.

So if you depend on local business, use those same location-specific keywords throughout your site. You'll get to the top of the search results for the specific market you're aiming at.


Because most of your competitors won't know how to "optimize" their websites to snag those local searches.

In fact, a letter I received recently from a chiropractor based in LA is the perfect example. He commented that he's "getting terrible placement" for his clinic site.

Well, he doesn't need to compete for his keywords with chiropractors all around the world, since he can't treat patients everywhere. If he adds a geographic location to his website keywords, he's only going to face competition from the other chiropractors in his area.

With a site targeted directly at his local market, this is one chiropractor who won't be suffering from injured rankings!

3 easy ways to optimize your site for local search

So, what's involved in getting top search engine rankings for the region you want?

1. Use "geo-keywords"

First, decide on how specific to be with your location. The smaller the geographic location, the more targeted your customers will be... although of course you will appeal to a smaller audience.

The chiropractor in Los Angeles would want to include "Los Angeles" and "LA." But he'll also have to say exactly where he is -- the city, the neighborhood... even the street. People will use all those terms when they perform their searches.

And here's a tip: When you're deciding on the location keyword, think about how locals would search for it.

For example, Southern California is often referred to as "SoCal;" while residents of Port Coquitlam in British Columbia call it "Poco." If you're targeting locals, you definitely have to speak their language and use those keywords on your site.

Make sure you work your location keywords into your copy and code wherever possible. Use them in your headlines and subheads. And throughout your copy for extra impact.

One of the pages on your website should be a directions page, complete with a Google map.

By using location keywords often you'll tell the search engines that your site is relevant for those words.

2. Display your address and phone number

Have your full street address on the footer at the bottom of each page and on the side navigation bar.

Include a phone number with a local area code. This will give the search engines all the information they need to nail your location.

3. Get inbound local links

Search engines reward you for having links pointing to your website from other reputable sites and organizations.

Local directories give you an easy way to build up your inbound links... and get your site seen by highly targeted groups of local buyers!

You can submit your site to:
Goog411 --
Yahoo Local Business -- -- Yellow Pages --
Ask Local --
MSN Local/Live Maps/InfoUSA --
CitySearch --
SuperPages --
Internet Yellow Pages --
Better Business Bureau --
Chambers of Commerce -- --

Most of these directories offer both free and paid listings. Test out the free service before upgrading to paid to see if it works for you without having to pay any further fees.

Don't forget to look for other local directories and networks too. Search on "location name + directories" and see what comes up. More and more are appearing every day!

Here is a great resource for more information:
Be search engine savvy when you're filling out your listings. Whenever possible mention keywords, area names and product names so you can be found!

If your business is local, follow these 3 tips and watch your site blow away your local competition.

Visit the Internet Marketing Center to get more great tips!