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June 8, 2010

Universal Search – Get yourself a pin on the map

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SMX has long since come and gone, but there are still some points to cover, or at least worth an honourable mention. Next up on the agenda is Local search – getting your business a pin on the map could give you that boost you need, in more ways than one.


First of all it’s important to understand what it is and whether it’s an SEO strategy that is important to your business or it it’s even relevant at all. If you have a shopfront with a physical address and a target market in your locality, then yes, this is something you should be looking into–even if you don’t have a website.

If you are a large company with a vast service area (national/international), then optimising for local search might not make much sense. As always, do some research, check your key competitors and make an informed decision about your local search strategy.
If you decide to go ahead with Local Search, here’s a heads up–it can be a very time consuming process, especially if you have lots of locations. Here are a few points to get you started:

Register with Google Places

  • Register your business at Google Places (formerly Local Business Centre)
  • Categorise your business correctly
  • Verify ownership of your business (with a phone call, or a postcard)
  • Add keywords to heading and description of your listing
  • Add product and service keywords in local business listing description
  • Add photos and/or video to your local business listing
  • Complete as many details as you can, these might include:
  • Opening hours
  • Payment types (Visa, MasterCard, EFTPOS, etc.)

Other (non-Google) things to consider

  • Build a website if you don’t have one
  • Use address tags on your home page or contact page
  • Use location microformats
  • Include a downloadable vCard or hCard
  • Get listed in local directories (if you are in Australia, try Hot Frog, True Local and Yellow Pages for a free listing, there are also plenty of “Australia only” directories out there)
  • If you’re international, add your business to Yahoo Local Merchant and Ask Business Search

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the things you could do to fully optimise for local search. That said, it would certainly be enough to keep you busy for quite some time.

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