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Local Search Optimization

VCOMP Support - Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Search engine results pages (SERP) everywhere are now being increasingly populated by Local Search results, which are likely to become even more prevalent in the future. Thus, largely due to the inherently competitive nature of local search results, it is important that your business is not only listed, but also well optimized, as to be prominently featured in the rapidly expanding world that is local search.

Local search is capable of offering more relevant results to searchers, and has been proven particularly useful for mobile users, as a significant number (one estimate at 40%) of mobile searches have some form of local relevance. Also playing into the local search hype is how prominently featured they are on most SERPs, in some cases overshadowing even the highest ranked Organic Search results.

So, how does one go about capitalizing on all that local search has to offer? Well, the first step is of course to ensure that you are listed with the 'heavyweights' of the field, which consists of the usual suspects Yahoo, Google, and Bing. It is free to list your business on Google Places, Yahoo's Local Listings, and Bing Business Portal (beta). Remember when listing your business, to answer all questions thoroughly and provide as much relevant and detailed information as possible, which will enable search engines to better understand the needs of your business and will help guide you towards more qualified audience exposure. Secondly, it is useful to be listed in several local online directories, for example Yelp, SuperPages, and Yellow Pages.

After those preliminary steps are taken, the optimization process can truly begin. For starters, photos, logos, and images, constitute an outstanding way to promote your brand and optimize your listing. There is also the option of incorporating Coupons or Deals, which can serve to engage potential customers and prompt users towards an action, rather than simply providing them with generic information. There is also the social aspect to consider, Google in particular strongly promotes user submitted reviews of products/services. Of course as with SEO it is always a good idea to incorporate relevant keywords and keyword phrases whenever possible as well.

If it is your desire to go beyond the basic listing options, Google offers a premium service, called Local Enhanced Listings, which besides costing $25 per month, allows businesses to make use of a wider range of features in order to more comprehensively depict their business and distinguish themselves from competitors. Simultaneously Google Adwords offers locally targeted advertising, which is more or less akin to the PPC equivalent of Local Search. Much like Google, Yahoo Search Marketing offers a premium version of their basic service, which they call Enhanced Local Listings. It also entails the activation of additional features, for the cost of $9.95 per month. Yahoo too has their own version of paid local ads.

For more information on local search optimization read: How to optimize your business for local search. Alternatively, Contact Us at WSI for all your Internet Marketing needs. 

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