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June 14, 2006

Helping Marketers Go Local

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Having trouble navigating through the local search system? We recommend you take a look through Matt McGee’s Local Search Marketing Guide, which shows marketers how to start shifting their advertising dollars from traditional organic and yellow page techniques to local search. The Guide offers a great comprehensive look at local search and has caused many marketers and SEOs to sit up and take notice.

Matt’s Guide breaks down local search by engine (Google, Yahoo!, MSN) or by other local provider (CitySearch, InfoUSA and MerchantCircle), and visually shows users how to pilot through each service, pointing to its location and detailing how it works and how they can best market it.

The screenshots Matt uses are great for users interested in seeing what change will have what effect and where. It’s a virtual Local Search for Dummies.

Now, if you’re like most sites, you haven’t seen a dramatic impact coming from local search just yet, but its coming. As users become more familiar with its presence and Google expands its Local OneBox listings on its SERP, local search is primed for a strong takeoff.

Why is local search so important? Because it’s highly targeted and its searchers are uniquely motivated. Users don’t search locally without a reason. They’re looking for a plumber in their hometown because they have a problem they need fixed today. The odds are in your favor that if they find you, they’ll contact you. However, if your company’s name isn’t listed, you’ll miss out and a local competitor will claim your conversion.

Local search is especially useful for smaller companies without a Web presence. For a nominal fee, many of the local search providers will host basic Web sites for small businesses, allowing them to display contact information and appear in local searches.

If you’re having trouble with local search, we also recommend this article from the January edition of the SEO Newsletter.

(via SEOmoz)

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