Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is basically making your website visible to search engines, so that your company (or website) appears when people search for the products/services you offer on the Internet.

Why does your business need local SEO?

Having a virtual location is fantastic, enabling you to cater to all audiences living in your local area (and beyond). However if you have a traditional “goes nowhere fast” business it’s not going to cast you into the ranks (especially those tough enough to be “found” by search engines). You’ll be wasting your cash, time and efforts if you aren’t taking advantage of search engine optimization. Just think of the marketing raw power your website can bring you. If you haven’t got a leg up on your competitors having a strong online presence you are going to really struggle to keep up with them, not to mention dominate your local market. The potential increase in your customer base as a result of effective local search engine optimization will be significant.

How is local search engine optimization done?

Local optimization is generally the practice of achieving maximum visibility for your website using search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) by promoting your website through various mediums, including primary online media forums, local business directories and/or local maps listings. Local search engine optimization is also being done to ascertain how well search engines understand your nature of business and who you are (e.g. whether you’re a local pizza shop or an online retailing outlet). There are numerous mediums available to enable you to promote your business and reach your local audience. The chosen medium can either be initiative during your own spare time or, together with an internet marketing company, you can put serious funds behind an integrated approach to bring your local brand visibility to the attention of potential customers.

First and foremost you should make a local directory (if necessary Google that) that will link your business name, address, phone number and website; generally the url that’s displayed on their search results. Secondly, you can begin to claim your local business listing on Google Places, Bing and Yahoo Local in order to increase your profiles presence. Increasing your profiles presence is one of the most important things when it comes to local SEO. Adding your business to as many online local directories as possible will enable you to add your location to that listing. When people search using local SEO keywords, they will now see your business attached to the listing. Yet another step to taking advantage of local SEO is to get reviewed by your local chamber of commerce. As there’s a lot of business that start up every year, the ability to get listed as a possible partner for your local chamber is important. In many instances, your business will be listed along with their partners.

Keywords and SEO

People won’t automatically know that they can buy the local pizza if they’re looking for Chicago style pizza. With search engine optimization, you can control exactly how your business is found and who is able to find you. By adding your business name, address and phone number across the top of your site, you can optimize your listing with the addition of your primary keyword. For example, putting “pizza” in the keyword area will help you show up quicker in searches. Of course without adding your name to the keyword, you won’t show up in searches. But just as important is the placement and frequency of your keywords. If you have your business listed in several local directories, the likelihood of someone finding you will be higher. When someone finds your business in a list of local directories, they will know that you exist, hopefully in the same area as the user. If you have your business listed in an online directory, you can get found by someone using an engine. Whether it’s Google, Bing or Yahoo, they will find your business if it is listed.

Learning how to get found by people using local SEO can teach you a lot about getting listed in search engines. If your business is currently not listed in Google, Bing or Yahoo, you need to have it listed and learn how to get found by people using local SEO to find you.