My previous blog post introduced a new series about local search marketing. Today we\’ll dig right in!

Let\’s start with your business name. Does it say where you are located? If you operate nationwide or worldwide, it\’s not important, but what if your location is valuable for your business? Which name would help you more: \”Angel\’s Flowers\” or \”Burbank Angel\’s Flowers\”? If it doesn\’t harm your style and image, try to make it easy for anyone to understand your location right from your name.

If you are unsure of what keywords are most used to find your business, utilize keyword research tools and find a handful of terms that best describe you company\’s goods or services.

Obviously, add your location and contact information wherever possible on your website. A footer area would work well for including your business address and phone number.

Also, add your business information to all the major search engines; general, niche and local directories; maps; classifieds; and local portals. (Later I will give a list of all these websites with their descriptions.) Now, for some secrets on using these sites as part of your local marketing campaign.

First, don\’t just submit your website – keep it current and constantly update your information if possible. Moreover, in the title (and description and keywords) include your local and vertical (industry) keywords in order to be found quickly by prospects.

Most yellow pages and local directories list sites and businesses in alphabetical order. In this instance, there is no need for heavy SEO: Just change your title to something that starts with a letter that comes earlier in the alphabet, and you\’ll have a priority over other sites. It is even better to start with a number, since these usually come earlier than letters in listings\’ order.

It might also make sense to pay for priority placement (a.k.a. featured listing) on these sites in order to gain more traffic and leads.

Try to get a separate directory listing for each of the closest cities in your area where you could provide your services. Sometimes you will not qualify for separate listings for certain cities, so it might make sense to have different titles and different phone numbers and addresses for each such listing. You can even use P.O. box numbers as a solution. I also suggest that you create a different website for each location and optimize it locally. If your services are global, creating separate entities would help as well, while you can use a single toll-free phone number for all your units.

Next is more of an \”offline\” strategy, but it does have one online marketing advantage…. Remember the No. 1 real estate principle of \”location, location, location.\” It\’s vital for your local business. If nobody can find your office or shop, no matter how hard you market it, your efforts might not pay off. So make sure you are located closer to busy areas of town, even if it\’s expensive to do so. As for an Internet marketing advantage: On online maps, your listing will be more visible and will have more chances to be clicked on.

Current local directories use a system of ratings in order to provide more value for searchers. These user ratings are vital for your business. There is a way to lightly influence the rankings. First, you can ask your relatives, friends, and even colleagues to write some positive feedback for your entry. You can ask your clients to leave some comments on the local sites as well. Also, you need to respond to anyone with negative comments and try to resolve the issues raised there. This will show that you care.

You can also offer discounts and coupons within your listing(s) – perhaps ones that consumers can get via text-message (SMS) or email. This will attract them to your item rather than someone else\’s, especially in this economy.

We will continue with more local marketing strategies in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

Shavkat Karimov, Internet Marketing Manager, mobileStorm
\”Every problem comes with a solution\”
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