Adding a Local Focus to Your Search Engine Marketing

by Stephen Logan - Date: 2010-06-10 - Word Count: 731 Share This!

Whilst the Internet is all about expanding horizons and reaching out to a global audience, there is no excuse for overlooking your local customers. Neglecting this potential niche market is a huge mistake and one that can be easily avoided.

SEO, as you are probably already aware, is all about developing your website to attract the attention of the search engines. You use keywords to flag up to Google what it is that you want to rank for, content to anchor this authority and then links to build strength. Yes, there are plenty of other attributes that go into developing a search engine presence, but this is your core focus.

Now when it comes to local search the principles remain much the same. Essentially it is SEO, just with a slightly different focus. Rather than simply targeting your primary keywords, you need to ensure that your locale is being highlighted. But all of this can be achieved without losing focus on your main goals.

Let's take a quick example of how you can do this. Of course you have you contact page should anyone want to give you a quick call, but why not include this information in your page footer. Not only will this provide a quick reference point for your visitors, but it will ensure that each page is anchored with a specific address. Simple, but effective.

Going a little further, you might also find ways of including references within the body copy itself. Don't go mad and write your home town everywhere, but if there is a reasonable opportunity to do so, make sure you take it.

If you don't ,or can't change your on-page content to subtly include a few reference, try something else. How about your Meta description? Every page has the capacity for a Meta description (or it certainly should). This can be used to simply describe the page or, better still, to sell the click to the search engine visitors.

Meta is important in so far as it is actually seen on the search engine results pages themselves. It also forms a small part of your site's overall SEO strength, therefore shouldn't be ignored. Here you have a piece that many visitors won't read but the search engines certainly will, therefore providing you with a great opportunity to write something engaging, but optimised for local and general keywords.

Next up are the search engines themselves. If you've ever used Google, Yahoo or Bing to find a business in your local area you will have probably encountered a list of results in a special box accompanied by a map. Well, you can get your business listed here and it won't cost a penny.

This is perfect SEO, as not only will you appear at the top of the search engine results, but you will also be confirming your location to them. This means that your site as a whole can be anchored in a geographic position, which will do plenty to help your organic results in the area.

If you do have different stores dotted around the country, you can set up an individual page and map for each one. This should ensure that you maintain a local presence far beyond simply your main store or headquarters.

So what is the benefit of all this extra work? Well, whilst globally your online competitors - no matter how niche your market is - may run into the hundreds, if not thousands. This makes it incredibly difficult to stand out. That isn't to say that it can't be done of course, but your competition rate is likely to be significantly higher than your own country, county, town or city.

Plus, with the Internet now being carried on a wide variety of mobile devices, it is far from being just a static medium. So when somebody is on the move they may well be looking for whatever it is that your offering; if you manage to come out on top, you might well get yourself a new customer as a consequence.

Local search, just like search engine optimisation is all about common sense. You don't want to go overboard and ruin the hard work you've done elsewhere, but you want to make sure that you're seen. Get on some local directories, sign up for the search engine map and include some identifying text somewhere in your site. Whilst there's plenty more you can do, this is a pretty good place to start.

Steve Logan works as a Copywriter for leading UK SEO Agency Impact Media. They offer a full range of search marketing solutions including expert Local Search Marketing.n
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