Thanks to universal search, local business listings tend to rank higher than general websites in search engines, particularly in Google, the world\’s largest search engine. This is why it is so important that your local business is listed everywhere.

Previously I suggested that you include your phone number on your website, but many companies make one mistake: They place the number as an image, not as text. I suggest adding phone numbers, (and local addresses) as text, because it makes you much more easily found on the web. For example, imagine if a former client only has your number, or only remembers part of your address. Your business can still be found on the web by using this information in a search query.

Another tip I want to expand on is testimonials. Positive reviews of your services or products should be in the most visible area of your site. In addition, it would be more effective if you link to an external authority resource, such as a review site, where there is positive feedback placed for your company. This will indicate credibility and openness to potential clients. There are plenty of local review sites out there, and you can ask your current customers to leave feedback on them. (I\’ll be giving a list of these kinds of sites at the end of these series, as promised.)

Are you blogging? Did you know that a blog is probably one of the most effective SEO tools available today? Search engines love blogs because they update content frequently; they are specific to their areas of expertise; they are well-categorized and sorted; and they know the subject matter. If you have the time and resources, start blogging. This will help your business website get more traffic, show your local audience your great expertise in what you do, and will eventually result in more sales.

There is another thing to consider: The more local you are, the more successful you are. When it comes to choosing the right keywords for local optimization, remember that \”California plumbers\” is not as good as \”Los Angeles plumbers,\” which in its turn is not as good as \”South LA plumbers.\” The point is that the more targeted your marketing is, the more sales you\’ll be making. Think how you would search for anything local, and optimize your campaigns accordingly. Cities are better than states, large neighborhoods are better than cities, etc. And some people search locally with zip codes, so why not add an optimized page to target these people as well?

Think carefully when you choose the local keywords for which you will optimize your pages. The keyword suggestion tools I referenced earlier will tell you that \”things to do in Denver\” would have about 10 times more searches than \”Denver tourist attractions.\” Many sites miss much traffic by targeting the wrong keywords.

And to make sure that each locally-oriented page that you have created is indexed by search engines, add those links to your sitemap with different link anchor texts.

Social media sites can be very useful in online local marketing. People always try to find someone local through these sites. So if you are represented in many social networking sites, you get local traffic to your website from these pages. The same rule applies to local discussion groups and communities. They all contain highly-targeted traffic that you can effectively use in your favor, with almost no competition and with no budget.

Next time we\’ll talk about mobile local search marketing. Until then,

Shavkat Karimov, Internet Marketing Manager, mobileStorm