Local Search Marketing

How To Do It Yourself

Step 1: Analyze your Business Listing and Check for Errors

istockphoto_6874991-vector-foreman-frustrated-and-in-shockOver 40% of business listings on the Internet are inaccurate and 98% of them are not optimized to generate leads. Discrepancies in your listing on any website will hinder the search engines from promoting your business on their site.

It’s very important to have an accurate listing of your business name, address and telephone number on every site on the Internet … including your own site. Here’s a tool from the USPS that will provide you with your actual address. Use it.

You can easily do an Internet wide search of your business listing and scan it for inaccuracies. Go to Yahoo.com and searching for “your business telephone number.” Your telephone number will often times be associated with your business address. If you find discrepancies, fix them immediately.

Step 2: Optimize Your Business Listing

istockphoto_9068852-market-repairmanAnyone can fill out a business listing. The secret is to optimize it for the search sites so they will promote your business to your potential customers. In order to do this correctly, you must know the exact words and phrases prospects use to find the services you offer.

Then, you want to use those keywords along with geographic modifiers in your business description, category selection and in the services offered section. You can also take further advantage of these keywords in your alt text with you logo, photo and videos if you chose to include them in your listing.

Our favorite keyword research tool is from Market Samurai. You can download a free copy of the software and use it to research the most profitable keywords for your business listing. Proper keyword research is the most overlooked step in this process.

Step 3: Optimize Website Page

istockphoto_3712111-global-communicationYou do not need a website in order to have your business listing place high on the search results page … but it helps. Problem is, most local business websites are not optimized for the search engines, and because of that, they’re not attracting customers like they could.

There are over a dozen specific things you can do to optimize and localize your website … and we’ll show you how to do all of them. If you can’t do these things yourself, we’ll provide the list for you to turn it over to your web master.

People who design websites are not local search marketing experts. So don’t be angry or disappointed when you discover that 10 of the 12 critical components for local search success are missing from your website. It’s not their fault. And remember, you don’t even need a website to profit from local search marketing.

Step 4: Claim Your Business on Google, Yahoo! Bing … etc.

istockphoto_5383944-box-guyThis is one of the most important steps in Local Search Marketing. When you claim your business listing, you provide the local search sites with a high level of confidence that you’re business actually exists. More importantly, you’re helping these sites gather accurate information about your business which allows them to promote you with a high level of trust.

Claim your business on these sites:

  1. Google Local Business Center
  2. Yahoo! Local
  3. Bing Local Listing Center
  4. Best of the Web Local
  5. City Search
  6. Merchant Circle
  7. Yelp
  8. TripAdvisor (travel industry)

Make sure that you follow the rules for each site when you claim your listing. If you break or try to bend the rules, there’s a good chance Google and the rest of the search engines will ban your business from their directory. We see this happen all the time and it can be devastating to a business owner.

Step 5: Submit Your Business Listing to the Most Frequently Searched Sites

istockphoto_2433211-mr-computerThere are dozens of places (other than search engines) where people look for the products and services you offer. They look in local and vertical directories, on Internet Yellow Page sites, on 411 directories with their smart phones and on GPS devices in their car.

Not all of these sites require you to claim your listing, but when you do, it provides the search engines with an additional level of trust. It’s important however to have your business listed accurately on all of these sites whether you claim them or not.

You should get your business listed on all of these sites. You can go to each of them one at a time, or your can submit your business to Universal Business Listing for a one time fee of $30. You can also access most of these site by submitting you business for free to InfoUSA and Localeze.

Search Engines / Directories / Internet Yellow Page Sites

* Yahoo!
* MSN / Live.com
* Google
* Citysearch
* YellowPages.com
* SuperPages
* WhitePages
* Yelp
* Local.com
* Quebecor/canoe inc.
* InfoSpace/Idearc
* Ask
* BlackBerry/RIM
* infoUSA Express Update
* Acxiom
* Dex
* iBegin
* Insider Pages
* OpenList
* Yellow Book
* Yellow Page City
* Yelp
* Disney
* Merchant Circle
* Collarity
* Yellow Bot
* YP
* Menu Networks
* Mobio Networks
* Search Bug
* Spock
* Topix
* YP.com
* Zingy
* Deep Data
* AllPages
* LocalMatters
* BeanPool
* HelloMetro
* OneCallNow
* Search Initiatives
* SwitchBoard.com
* Electronic Directories (Yellow Pages, Inc)

GPS Navigation / Mapping Sites

* MapQuest
* OnStar
* tomtom
* Lowrance
* TeleAtlas
* DigiWalker
* ViaMichelin
* Zenrin

411 Sites

* V-Enable
* TellMe

Step 6: Gather Business Citations for your Business

istockphoto_9504509-checkboxA business citation is where your business name and address shows up on the Internet. This is one of the methods that search engines use to determine if your business listing is accurate and reliable. The more citations you have from trustworthy sites, the more visible your business listing will be on the Internet. It is also one of the most important factors in how well your business listing ranks in the search engines.

If you want to see an example of a citation, look at our testimonial page. We provide our Maui customers with a powerful business citation next to their photo and testimonial. We also give them the additional benefit of linking to their website, which is not necessary in order for it to be counted as a citation.

The secret to getting powerful citations is knowing where to find them. Unfortunately, the websites and blogs that cite business listings are different for every industry and every community. Find those citation sites in your community and optimize your business listing for each site.

Read my very informative article on Gathering Powerful Business Citations here.

Step 7: Get 5 Star Reviews for Your Business

istockphoto_4505871-blue-man-thumbsCustomer reviews are one of the best ways for potential customers to determine the quality of the service you offer. Good reviews translate into more business. At the same time, the search engines tend to rank business listings based on the quantity and quality of the reviews. Both matter!

It’s important to accumulate as many positive reviews from your customers as possible and encourage them to post those reviews on one of the many review sites on the Internet. If you do have any bad reviews, my article on Getting Bad Reviews Removed will show you how it’s done.

There are dozens of review sites. Some of the more popular sites include: Trip Adviser, Yelp, Merchant Circle, InsiderPages, Kudzu, Angie’s List, Google, Yahoo!, Bing and others. We’ll show you how to set up your account on the very best review sites for your business, and show you how to enhance your reputation through generating positive reviews.  We’ll even show you how to effectively deal with poor reviews in a positive way. *&#%$ Happens.

You can learn more about customer reviews from my post entitled: 5 Star Business Reviews – How To Get Them.

Step 8: Rinse and Repeat

istockphoto_6758130-super-sales-teamLocal Search Marketing is not a one time event. There are certain things you’ll want to do on a regular basis which include adding citations, generating positive reviews and keeping your listing up to date. If you do these things on a regular basis, you will take over the front page of results.

The really cool thing about local search marketing on Google, Bing and Yahoo! is that you can see exactly what your competitors are doing. If you have an optimized listing with more reviews and citations than your closest competitor, it will be very, very difficult for them to knock you off the front page.

The key to top placement and unlimited local leads is to do the work today and benefit from your efforts for a long time to come. Those who are intimately involved in their project will see the best results.

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