One of the major trends in Search is the growth in local search. As people have become more savvy about search engines and search engines have become more savvy about what people want on the results page so localising search results has become more and more of a priority.
In fact so strong has this trend been on search engines such as Google that it has severly impacted on the performance of traditional local advertising services such as Yellow Pages and Thomson Local – you may have noticed just how much smaller their printed directories are these days! It is harder and harder to justify paying for your business to be included in these printed directories.
Local search is about to explode! So, get prepared. Why? Well, the arrival of smartphones means search results are being tailored to the users location. So, if you’re standing in Reigate High Street and search “cinema listings” the odds are very high you’ll be given the current movie listings at Reigate’s cinema – you won’t even have to geo-limit the query. It will be assumed you want local results. So, you need to prepare your business website and advertising for this mega shift!
There are a growing number of ways to get your business advertised locally. You can:
- Use the online directory versions of Yellow Pages & Thomson Local (free and variously enhanced listings are available)
- Use other more specialist online directories to advertise, many with a strong local or regional bias
- SEO your website so it is found high up in the natural search listings (e.g. if someone searches for “Reigate Hotels” or “Hotels in Surrey”):
- using traditional SEO techniques to optimise for local keywords (geographical qualifiers people add when searching online)
- using so-called microformats / geo-location tags in your website
- Capitalise on social media such as Facebook & Google+ – create a business page for each of them and get local people to join you.
- Create a .kml file that stores your businesses latitude/longitude making your business visible on geographic browsers, such as Google Earth
- Register your business with Google Places, so you can be found on Google Maps and in Google search results
- Use Paid Search Networks to advertise your business on a pay per click basis with a local or regional emphasis
You may be wondering about the extent to which you can localise paid search/PPC advertising. Yahoo allows the selection of sub-regions (e.g. South East England), but with Google you can narrow it down to an even finer degree – down to town level. Now there are caveats to this of course, but it’s worth considering.
So, if you have a local or regional business and you have a website to promote it then there are plenty of means of advertising online to get new business. You don’t have to rely just on word of mouth, and you don’t have to risk large amounts of your precious cash to advertise!
At Affiniti we can help your business capitalise on these opportunities, so get in touch and tell us what you need.