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And, either way – it’s not an overnight process. Your overall plans and strategies must continually be monitored, measured and updated.
For your online marketing, it’s the same deal. If you approach it as a “set-it-and-forget-it” business, you’ll eventually be out of business. Nothing new here.
However, one area of important focus for online branding and customer attraction success – is local search marketing.
If you are not listed with your information in the local search engines (Google), or worse yet – all the information is outdated/incorrect, it may/will begin to affect you.
Especially if your competition is doing better than you are.
Here are some tips to help you in the local search markets.
Google’s local search is growing fast. One measure indicates 20% of all searches are local, and it’s changing. With the advent of mobile, applications like Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook and others, your penetration across platforms and apps will be more and more important.
Try these steps to start:
Type in your name, company name. Are you there? Try Bing, Yahoo too. You may likely be there if a ‘formal’ business. Google gets data from large aggregators like InfoUSA, Acxiom and others. The data may not be correct. Data consistency is important, and it’s your job to make sure it’s right across all. Your address, phone numbers, everything – must match. Go to Yellowpages.com — are you listed correctly there? That’ll be an important place to make sure you have it right too.
Google places (places.google.com) allows you, for free – to set up your own account and get validated as THE business owner. You probably also have heard about Google Maps, often referred to as the ‘actual’ local search. In fact, in local – the map is a central piece of the puzzle. Visit Yahoo and Bing to verify and updated. Try getlisted.org (free) to get a faster service, but don’t skimp here. In October 2010, Google updated the way that the blended results appear, with business info and maps all ‘mixed’ together. You can read more about Google business listings here. And, if you have many businesses (like a franchise network), you can read about bulk uploads here.
Your website and online assets should be mobile friendly. If you have a blog (WordPress), there are plugins you can use to make it detect where the request is coming from, and serve up the correct pages. Yes, it’s that important. You can see more information http://www.google.com/mobile. The “my location” feature is designated for mobile users, and you’ll see maps/local info served up, and the various smartphones it supports. Street view for Google mobile is something you definitely check out.
Make sure to register in Bing and Yahoo local as well. It’s free. Getting reviews across all the platforms is what is key to ranking/visibility success. Sure, it’s not the only way, but if all else was equal/good, the reviews will bring you over the top. And, you can use localeze.com to help you with submissions and within the top Internet Yellow Pages (yellowpages, superpages, insiderpages, etc).
Finally – make sure to study your competition, find out where the reviews are coming from, and what they are doing. You can even set up a Google.com/alerts system to track this automatically for you (brand/keyword targets).
This should be your first steps to reach higher local search ranking.
Want more information on local search to help you? Sign up for a free local search marketing webinar here.
Jon Rognerud is the #1 online marketing expert for Entrepreneurs. His best-selling SEO book, "The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization" from Entrepreneur Press/McGraw-Hill is in bookstores now. Act fast, and get a free gift here. Connect with Jon on Google+
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