Is your brick and mortar business ready to tap into targeted local traffic through local search marketing? Studies show that 86% of customers use the Internet to find local businesses.
The traditional method of finding a local business involved opening the yellow pages and searching for the business listing that pertained to your problem. Whether it was a carpet cleaner, dentist, or restaurant, a person would thumb through the pages attracted to the business by the size and quality of their ad. The businesses with the bigger advertising budget got the better ad and positioning, along with the majority of the phone calls.
Today's customers are still letting their fingers do the walking, but they're walking across a keyboard instead of flipping through the Yellow Pages. Over 60% of them use the Internet as their primary source for finding local businesses. . . are they finding you or your competition?
The way to target this local traffic is to get online with your business. It's no longer an option. Local search marketing will continue to grow, as it becomes the preferred method of researching a business's products and services. If you're not online you're missing out on the potential increase in new business.
The other question then for effective local search marketing is if you are online can customers find you? Just because you slap up a website or hire someone to do it for you doesn't mean you'll be found. There are over 90 Billion pages on the web. Finding your local business is like finding a needle in a haystack, unless your site is optimized for the search engines.
Optimizing your site goes beyond the scope of this article, but there are some things you can do to verify how well your website is doing in the local searches (all steps will be done through Google):
First, type in your business name and location and verify whether or not your site gets listed i. e. , Jim's Carpet Cleaning Wherever Iowa
There are two possible positions for your site to be listed in Google - the local listings Map and organic search listings.
1. If your site is listed in Google's local listings it will appear next to a map or your area on the left hand side of the screen. If it's not listed you can add your website for free, which will get you listed on Google Maps.
2. The second place your site may appear is through the organic search as one of the results. Is your site listed on the first page of results? Click through several pages in an attempt to find your site. Don't look past page 10, because your site is basically non-existent - 70% of all search engine users won't look past the first page and 92% will only look within the first three pages for their results.
Second, type in phrases that relate to your business that customers may use to find you. So, in the example above we'd leave off Jim's and just type in carpet cleaning wherever Iowa.
Follow the advice in #2 above, look through the results - does your site show up on the first page? Second? Third? If not, forget it targeted local traffic isn't going to find you.
Doing the research above will yield valuable information on how well your business website is positioned online for local search marketing. It will also show you how well your competition is doing too. Armed with this information you can strengthen or enhance your search position to maximize your exposure to targeted local traffic.
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