Going Local on the World Wide Web

    There’s a lot of buzz today regarding local search; and why not? When customers are Google searching for local services, or searching Yelp on mobile for locations, companies want to be there in the results. Likewise, with the growth of smart phone usage, companies want to be on mobile in general. But from a broad, overarching perspective, just being on mobile may not be as difficult as feared.

    The mobile web today is largely composed of the websites consumers use anyway on desktop (e.g. apps Facebook, Weather, Google Maps, Pandora). Hence if a company is available or advertising on those channels, they are there. This gains in importance, as I just read, since companies prefer Facebook for local advertising today over Google.

    Yet although apps are the more user-friendly alternative on smart phones, corporate websites or landing pages can also be built and optimized for mobile web viewing. For example my contact page on this blog comes up particularly well on smart phone. Plus mobile-optimized web pages can be promoted with QR codes for mobile scanning, company info access and even texting opt-ins (see my last blog post for more on this).

    But back to local search in general. Some good paths to success in local search seem to just capitalize on existing SEM/SEO fundamentals such as keywords:

    • To appear in local search engine results, location keywords (such as in an address) can be placed in primary search areas of a web page such as the page title, H1s, meta tags and page content.
    • Likewise the company contact NAP (name, address, phone) should be prominent and consistent across the site and web.
    • The company website should be registered with (local) directories such as Yahoo! Local.
    • Generally, the more links submitted to Google tools the better for SEO. In this case Google Maps can be integrated on the company website (tied to the NAP and Google search in general) as well as Google Places.
    • Customer reviews mean a broader web presence and consequent, elevated search rankings. So companies should encourage and request customer reviews in local-friendly spaces such as Yelp, Gowalla and Foursquare.
    • And of course PPC ads can be purchased based for local.

    Finally, there are new web technology tools available to help automate and elevate a company’s local search success such as localsearchtoolkit.com.

    Somehow along the way, while looking the other direction, the World Wide Web made us think local again…

    My inspiration sources for this post: http://bit.ly/fgIfik, http://bit.ly/gkCUv2, http://bit.ly/gmc70z, http://bit.ly/h8VUir, http://bit.ly/dR3IJR.

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    Jake Aull | Marketing Strategy | Social Media | Digital & Creative
    email | @jakeaull | jakeaull.wordpress.com