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Round Here MarketingMarking Territory in Local Search -SES

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Just in case you forgot, there is a business world outside of cyberspace where sites are made of brick and wood and have doors that people walk through looking to spend some money. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to assure your place in the various local search engines so people in your hometown can find your store when they want to drop by.

How valuable has local search marketing been for your organization? Discuss at WebProWorld.

With roughly 20 million small businesses in the US, making the local presence known to people around town is essential to staying afloat. Even those who, for whatever reason (however silly that reason may be), have yet to establish an online presence with a company website, can benefit from making sure they get their business listed in online local search directories like Verizon SuperPages, among others.

At a mid-morning SES session, Justin Sanger, President of LocalLaunch provided an essential how-to presentation on local search directories. Easier than having and maintaining a website, simple strategic placement in these directories can get business information picked up by Google and Yahoo! spiders.

As the Internet becomes more and more utilized, people are just as apt to type “Memphis coffee shops” into a search engine as they are to pick up one of four 12-pound phonebooks to look it up. Sanger emphasized that online directories were of huge importance.

“Putting your business information in SuperPages is critical,” said Sanger.

But putting in your business information isn’t at simple as it sounds. The strategic marketer will understand that everything is a delicate process. Sanger provided the guidelines for accomplishing this the right way. Most of what it entails is controlling the information floating around about your business.

1. Clean your core business data. In layman’s terms, this simple information management-finding out what information is floating around online and checking to see if it’s accurate. Check InfoUSA and to see what information is available and make sure all information with traditional data providers is up-to-date.

2. Use business profiles with optimized meta content. There is a trend within the local search arena focusing on user-generated content. Since there is nothing for spiders to crawl if all information is offline, user-generated content is considered very important. Content provided by users is the info used to place things into those neat little indexed categories. Part of this comes from filling out a local business profile on Yahoo!, for example.

“Business profiles represent structured meta data,” Sanger said.
He also suggested paying attention to how Yahoo! local results are making their way into regular SERPS on Yahoo! and Google.

For another example, see Jayde profile pages.

3. Riding coattails by studying SERPs. This is optimization beyond your website. Google and Yahoo! SERPs contain the highest volume of targeted local searches. Note the top results for “auto repair San Jose,” for example, and compare what information is available on competitors. Try to tailor your listings to match so your business is listed in this top six.

4. Keep tabs on user ratings. In the consumer content world, consumer reviews are key factors in your SERP position. Adjust and readjust your strategies and business model by keeping up with what people are saying your business. Rateitall.com is a consumer review aggregator detailing a city-by-city listing of businesses and what people think about them. It’s a good idea to encourage those who like you to give you a favorable review.

5. Strategic utilization of yellow pages. The cost of taking advantage of online yellow pages, like Verizon SuperPages, is minimal, making it well worth the trouble to be listed. When choosing a category to be listed under in SuperPages, it’s a good idea to check the SERPs to find the category that results on the first page.

Other, simpler tactics just involve some legwork. For those with webpages, add a physical address to every webpage. A footer with your physical address (Google seems to prefer all on one line) can make a huge difference.

Also, fill out all business profile forms for all of the major engines. While you’re at it, find the new Bruce Clay chart and fill out a profile for them.

Other directory links:

Amacai
Acxiom
SuperPages
Switchboard
AOL
LocalSearchGuide
KelseyGroup
TrueLocal

**Information organized and written according to the notes of Mike McDonald, who is in attendance at the SES Conference in San Jose.

Round Here MarketingMarking Territory in Local Search -SES
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