Search engines open information to the entire world. But what if you’re a small business owner who merely wants to effectively market to your local audience?
If this is the case, your site probably only shows up in search engine results after a long list of national sites with big names that pose no competitive threat to your business. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop them from sapping your site traffic.
Providing information about your location and market sphere that search engines understand can help you reach only people in your business area.
First, be sure to optimize your site for local keywords. That means using your town or city name abundantly in your Web site copy, as well as in the keyword section of your site code. And if you can, register a URL that uses keywords, such as www.MasonsTampaAutoRepair.com.
Be careful when you optimize your site not to destroy its credibility by cramming it full of keywords. For more advice on this topic, read Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Mistakes.
The second step is to submit your site to local business directories. Look for the sites of local newspapers, weeklies, and chambers of commerce. Also try URLs based on the region you want to target, such as smallville.com or manhattan.com.
Next, take off your small business owner’s hat and try to think like someone who might be searching for your site. Where would you go if you were them? What searches would you run? What URLs would you type in? What keywords? Bear in mind that some cityname.com sites are little more than link farms, with no real content. Search engines give them little weight. When it comes to manipulating search engine results, content and quality are king, so exercise caution if you’re thinking of submitting to sites that are simply huge lists of, for example, hotels.
Basically, the more places and ways that your site is associated with a particular set of local keywords, the more likely it will be that your business name and site will come up in the right searches. Also read Improve Your Business’s Search Engine Ranking with Local Search for more tips and tricks.