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Local Search Engine Marketing

In a post about local SEO with event promotion, Paul O’Brien highlights the importance of directory listings and speaks about making use of as much local/regional language as possible. While I would disagree with his statement that “more people are going through directories than directly to your website” and that local directories are more important than website optimization, this post offered some good perspectives about search marketing, in particular with regards to using events as promotion and promoting these events online.

To discuss as well as elaborate on local search engine marketing and optimization, I decided to compile my own list of tips of local search engine marketers.

  1. As Paul suggests, submitting your site to local directories is very important. They will attract some attention and traffic to your site, depending on the care you use when selecting the web directories.
  2. Get links to your site from local suppliers and business organizations. Links from reputable local sites are important and since these are people with whom you already have a business relationship, requesting link would not be unheard of. Do some research first. Find out who has a website, and then find out if they have a links page. If they do, send them an email. It can’t hurt, and these are great for helping to illustrate your integrity online.
  3. Don’t just think local, think regional. If you are in a large city and there are small towns around, make sure you include them if you offer service to these areas. People in smaller towns need things too, and I am pretty sure they have the internet.
  4. This may not be possible for everyone, but it is the best thing I know about local search marketing: if at all possible, make things “seasonal”. Would people search for your site for different reasons during different times of the year? Cash in on this and optimize pages for different seasonal needs. (ie. landscaping, etc in the summer, snowplowing in the winter… depending on your needs; this is the perfect solution for florists who can especially benefit from search marketing on a local scale)
  5. Invest in some Google PPC ads at first - depending on location and competitiveness for the terms, this need not break your budget. This is a good way to jumpstart your search marketing campaign until you find yourself in the top search results.
  6. I like the event idea: a contest is good and easy to promote if you are not in a position to host a real “event”.
  7. Do not discount on-site optimization, this is still important and a big part of a complete search marketing campaign. Lots of people “Google it”.

Local search marketing may be a little less competitive, that does not mean one’s strategies need be any less diverse. There is a lot to be gained from local SEO and online marketing. If you employ every tool in your arsenal, make sure you are prepared for the growth. ;)

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Comment from Paul
Time: September 6, 2007, 11:16 am

Wonderful perspective and I appreciate your praise and disagreement with my perspective. I should clarify though, I should have too worded the article a little better:

“more people are going through directories than directly to your website” and that local directories are more important than website optimization

My point is that a greater number of people use directories than a single businesses’ website. Certainly, one couldn’t argue that there are more people who visit than the website of a local business.

On the second point, in particular this comment “Directory listings are more important to local search optimization than website optimization” I was trying to point out that directory listings are more important for local seo than traditional seo. Not that directory listings are more important than SEO (that is certainly NOT the case). People use local directories to a far greater degree than they use website directories (DMOZ, Yahoo directory, etc.) so local SEO’s need to submit to directories for more reasons than just creating links.

If I had my druthers, I’d clean up the article so thank you for pointing out the confusion!

Comment from Danielle
Time: September 6, 2007, 4:55 pm

It was a great post - a lot of interesting info that people often don’t think about (I especially liked your tip for ranking first in directories).

But I absolutely see what you mean - there is a particular directory in my city that gets a great deal of traffic. While it was minor compared to organic search, one should definitely adopt the “leave no stone unturned” approach when marketing a site online.

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