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Search engines and the internet gave us instantaneous access to a world of information. Cell phones have replaced phone booths. And, local search is making the phone book obsolete. Local search occurs when a web surfer searches online with the goal of finding something with a geographic location. In other words, anything you used to look up in the phone book is now considered local search, if sought after online. With local search your customers can use the internet connection at the office or a mobile device to learn your exact location, your product lines, your hours of operation, and get driving directions, all within a nanosecond.
Let Your Fingers Do the Walking … uh we mean “Typing”
Local search changes the way your customers will find you and renders the phone book obsolete. The best part is that local search is leveling the playing field. Deep pockets and full-page color ads will no longer determine who gets noticed. Local search provides small businesses with the opportunity to be found just as easily as their larger competitors. Additionally, it is estimated that nearly 40% of all searches include a geographic intent. For some businesses this can be as high as 100%. Needless to say, it is now critical for your business to be found for local searches – especially if “where” you are is as important as “what” you do.
The Fastest Way to Get Listed Locally
To be included in local search results quickly, go straight to the search engines and either create a listing, or claim your listing. Your listing may already exist, since the major search engines have mined online data to create many local listings. If a listing for your business already exists, it is even more important that you claim it … before a swindler claims it – and directs the traffic to their website instead of to yours.
Additional Tactics to Increase Your Local Listings
After you’ve claimed (or added) your listings to the major search engines, you may wish to consider the following strategies for expanding your local reach:
How to Increase Your Local Search Rank
Next, optimize and maximize the potential of local search to drive your customers to your front door by implementing the following items:
We have some parting advice. First, consider the search engines’ motivation to make local search such a priority- that they are going to great lengths to make something so valuable (the phone book) so obsolete so quickly. They are trying to satisfy the end user, the person sitting at the keyboard or the out of town guest, to get their needs met. Second, if you have read this far without pausing to claim you local search listings with Google, Yahoo! and Bing, do so now! Failure to do so will be to you and your business' detriment. And lastly, if you are planning a camping trip this summer to the Olympic Peninsula, where it rains 300 inches a year, take your phone book with you, it will make a great fire starter for roasting s'mores. Happy camping!