As paid advertising and promotion is expensive, more businesses should be turning to the Internet and taking advantage of what can be done for free so they can be found in Google and the other search engines.
While local search engine optimisation is important you should also take advantage of the special service that Google offers with the Local Business Center and Google Maps.
Here is a 1:38 video from Google which explains why you should be listed in the Local Business Center and Google Maps
In this 2 minute video, you get a very quick walkthrough of how to set up your entry in Google Local Business Center.
It is easy and then you can have an entry that could put you at the top of the page.
Do still carry out search engine optimisation to get an organic listing on the page as well. It is better to be listed twice rather than once.
It is not very easy to read, but if you squint, you will see that for this local search for "business coach birmingham" I have the B or second place in the Google Maps list as "Paul Simister, Your Profit Coach".
It gets better because I also have the number one listing in the natural search for "Business Coaching Your Profit Coach Paul Simister".
If I was greedy - and I am - I could only improve on this by getting an indented double listing for my main website, a double listing for my blog and any directory listings I can collect that have power. For example the number 4 listing on this page is my entry in Freeindex.co.uk.
In fact I am not sure why my blog isn't listed because I know I have written a post targeted at local searches.
As a final touch, you could also stake out the page through pay per click or placement but that does cost you money.
Local Searches Are Easy Sales For Local Media Sales People
I experienced two promotions to help you to get on the first page of Google for local searches yesterday.
The first was a telephone call from someone offering me local placement for paid advertising at the top of "business coach birmingham". He didn't stay on the phone when I told him I had the number one listing for national searches for "business coach".
The second is a client who is offering a guaranteed first page listing in the natural searches. Good stuff and provided the keyword isn't competitive, the work done should keep the page one position but
- Getting on page one for local searches isn't difficult unless you are in a very competitive area (accountants london will be tough).
Standard SEO stuff based around relevancy of title, headings, page content, meta description (the bit that comes under the title in searches) and incoming anchor text links for the keywords you are targeting. (Anchor text is that I would link to business coach birmingham rather than www.plancs.co.uk as it helps to tell Google what the page is really about and you can get it by submitting to directories and forums.)
- You can get a listing on Google Local Business for free
- You need to check that searches are happening for local terms so before you pay out money, take a look at the Google keywords tool (and set it to exact searches to get a realistic indication of traffic)
If you do buy a service, make sure that it goes above and beyond what you can do with a little bit of thought and effort.