Written By: Wendy Ogryzek, June Bachman and Teresa Mitchell ~
Yester year’s cutting edge flip-phones are being traded in for phones with brains. Smart phones give you instantaneous, local internet search results. So what do smart phones have to do with your business and local search results? Thanks to the efforts of Bing, Yahoo and Google they are so smart that they are changing how we use the internet, when we use the internet and what we expect from a keyword search: results relevant to where we are. Local results.
More of a computing and search tool than a person-to-person communication device, smart phones deliver local results based on where the phone is, not where you live or work. So if you are sitting at a bus stop in Redmond craving a deli sandwich you can type “deli” into your smart phone’s browser and search engines serve up a list of delis in Redmond. Pretty smart, huh!
If your business has a local presence - here is how you can maximize your local strategy for Bing, Google and Yahoo – so your business will be found!
First, it is paramount that you claim and verify your local listing with each of the search engines:
- Google Places –
- Bing Local -
Listing your business in the local search engines provides search engines and your potential customers with more and accurate information about your business – hours, brick and mortar location, phone number.
Because the search engines are mining databases to deliver local search results make sure your business is listed accurately in major business databases. These include:
Supply as much information as you can to your local business listing. The information you provide sets you apart from your competition, as well as provides helpful information to consumers.
Additional Local Strategies:
- Business Name - Add primary keywords and phrases to your business name to drive more referral traffic. Most directories list in alphabetical order ... try to get your business listed higher by keeping this in mind.
- Address - Be complete, specific and accurate. Test your address in local mapping webpages such as Mapquest, Google maps, to be sure your address is easily recognized.
- Zip Code – While the +4 digits won’t help with local search optimization be sure to include your zip code.
- Phone Number - Just use your primary phone number - using the numbers - don't use your acronym if you have one. Classic letter keypads are not available on many cell phones - and also may not work on VoIP services.
- Secondary Phone Numbers - Try to avoid adding more than one telephone number. Using one primary number to be consistent with the various directories.
- Meta descriptions, directory listing descriptions, taglines - many directories have a link back to your website with a little description. Be sure to describe your business in specific detail and use your primary keyword phrases.
- Categories - Think about the best categories and make sure you are listed in the correct category for your business.
- Keywords - se your primary keyword phrases
- Services, products, brands - Mention the obvious - spell out what you have to offer to your customers.
Additionally, there are localization efforts you can add to your website. Search engines are looking for the following local elements on your website. Make it easy for the search engines to index your site locally:
- Add a physical local to each page of your website
- Add your local phone number to each page of your website. Include your 800# for your customers and your local phone number for the search engines.
- Add your physical address above / before your form on the contact us page
- Add a directions / location page to your website.
- Write out directions instead of just using a link to MapQuest.
- Be as detailed as possible and include as many location descriptors as you can.
- For example, ABC Company is located in the Redmond Town Center shopping mall on Redmond Way in the downtown Redmond area of Redmond Washington.
- Include driving directions from all possible directions.
- Link to Google maps and Yahoo maps on the location/directions page.
- Add the link to your website (since Google and Yahoo maps use longitude and latitude in their location URLs - it may help a spider learn more about your location - note Mapquest does not use longitude and latitude)
- Include your location in your title tags.
- Add a list of all of the cities and towns your business covers on a page, somewhere on your website (home, about, contact) ... add these cities to your keyword tag.
- The link to your location/directions page should include your location information - instead of saying "click here for directions", say "directions to our Redmond location."
- Get Reviewed.
- Ask your clients to write reviews for you.
Adding location efforts to your search engine strategy will result in yet another manner for you business to be found – both on the web and on mobile devices. After all, the search engines are intent on delivering their customers accurate, location specific and relevant to their customers – who are your potential customers too!