Using Local Search to Drive Customers to Your Business
One of the best ways to get started with search engine optimization (SEO) on your website and drive customers to your local business is to work with local search, both in major search engines and on mobile platforms.
Local based keywords are often far easier to target with link building than broader keywords, as you're usually going to target a lot of long tail keywords. For example, think of the difference in trying to rank for a keyword phrase like best happy hour in Seattle, as opposed to a phrase as generic as just "happy hour."
Why Target Local Search Phrases?
One of the best reasons to get involved in local search is to refine your traffic base to a more targeted audience that's more likely to be interested in your products or services. Searchers that look for the best happy hours in Seattle, for example, are more likely to be looking for a restaurant or bar to go to that night.
In other words, those searchers are in a "buying mood." On the other hand, a person searching for a different phrase like "dress shoes" may not be in a buying mood at all. They may simply be looking for ideas before heading out to their local shoe store.
Because of this, local SEO specialists can expect higher traffic and conversions from local search optimization than almost any other SEO practice. A keyword phrase with only 50 or 60 global monthly searches with a geographical local phrase is still a valuable target for most businesses, even though it would be a waste of time for most other websites targeting keywords on a national, or even international level.
Local Business Directories
One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to start link building in local search is by filling out profiles on local business directories, especially some of the major players like:
- Google Maps
- MSN Local Live
Also look for more focused directories relevant to your niche. For example, if you were targeting the keyword phrase "Seattle best happy hour," some of the directories you might also include a business profile on include:
Don't forget to also include your business listing in any available local newspaper websites and popular local blogs. For example, larger cities like Seattle have dozens of online newspapers and blogs dedicated to the local nightlife in the area. Offer local bloggers free covers and passes to check your club out, or offer a free meal to a potential blogger. This low-cost advertisement is a great way to build local interest in your business and hopefully solicit a positive review, and juicy backlink.
Editing WHOIS Info
One of the most common mistakes business owners make is using their personal information as the WHOIS info rather than the business information. When you purchase a domain, the address you use for the registered address will automatically fill out the WHOIS info section -- but this isn't set in stone.
You can change this information by logging into your registrar account and changing the information associated with the domain name. Google likely uses this information to accurately rank and display information about your business. If you're not sure what your WHOIS information is, you can enter your website address at Whois.net.