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When you're in business for yourself, you're constantly looking for new ways to let people know you exist and what services or products you provide. With the mobile lifestyles we lead today and our reliance on internet searches to research the things we buy (even locally), being found in the search engines is an absolute must. And being found in Google in particular is especially critical. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you often have to do this all yourself as well. Unlike larger businesses, you probably don't have employees to dedicate to search engine or online marketing. So by learning these 3 Google local search customization tips, you'll put your business on the map in Google and put yourself ahead of your local competition. Getting Started in Google Local Search The first thing to understand about local search is that it's a completely different game than normal search engine optimization (SEO). The success of your local search efforts depends on three things. 1. Proper keyword selection 2. Proper setup in Google's Local Business Center (now called Google Places) 3. Gaining citations from major data providers Proper Keyword Selection Choosing proper keywords to optimize and compete for is absolutely essential in any SEO effort. But in local search, you have to remember who your customers are and why they buy from you. Always keep these factors in mind as you select keywords. Your goal is to anticipate what your customers will type into the Google search bar when they're looking for your service or products. The best way to figure this out is often to ask your current customers how they found you and what they would search for in Google if they were searching for your products or services. You can also use the Google external keyword tool to develop ideas, but most local search volumes are so low it's hard to choose the best ones. Finally, when you're selecting keywords for Google local search campaigns, it's best to focus your efforts on smaller groups of people (called niches in the online marketing industry). For example, rather than focusing on trying to draw people to your tire shop, focus your local search campaign around your most profitable repair...like a tie rod replacement or front end alignment. After all, most people will search for what they need done, not the type of business they need.


Proper Setup in Google Places When it comes to setting your company up in Google Places, the most important thing is to simply get it done. Don't procrastinate. If your business name doesn't include a city name or tell people what you actually do, you should include that when you enter it. For example, rather than ABC Enterprises, you should put something like ABC Enterprises - Oklahoma City's Premier Office Supply Store. When choosing the categories, you should put your keyword thinking cap on again. By the examples Google gives in their local search setup screen, it seems they want you to choose broad categories. But this is a poor strategy! You should be specific. Rather than saying you're a dentist, say you're a pediatric orthodontist for example. Finally, make sure you list a local phone number rather than a toll free (800, 866, 888) number. This is one of the primary tools Google uses to cross reference local search results. So by having a true local phone number, it helps prove you're actually located in the same city as the searcher. Citations from Major Data Providers You should think of citations in local search like backlinks in traditional search engine optimization. Except you can't really go out and get citations...Google finds them on their own. A citation is just a reference on the internet to your business. The reference often includes your name, address, phone number, and possibly your products or services. What you should do is go to the major data providers like Yellow Pages online and Yelp and make sure all your information is correct and listed the same way you have it at Google. Then, when the local search spiders find the information, it will corroborate what you put in the local business center, which will help raise your standings in the search results.

Remember, marketing an offline business on the internet is different than marketing an online business. And you don't have time to modify the methods all the online marketing "gurus" teach. Your online marketing tips await you; including our exclusive 5 Step Plan to Win Your Local Market. In it, we show you exactly create the perfect plan to use online marketing tactics to explode your offline business.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Todd_Temaat


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