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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Launching a small business these days can be a really scary prospect because you have to think about so many different things. Thankfully, when it comes to marketing there is a relatively simple and easy way to get found in your local area and that's with local SEO. 

Online marketing at a local level has proven to be a very effective marketing strategy for smart small businesses because it allows the people who are looking for you to find you easily.

Gone are the days where people would open the Yellow Pages to look for a dentist. Now they go straight to Google or directories like Mojopages or Manta to find someone nearby who is trustworthy.

Here are 15 tips to help you get found:

1. Get Connected
The first mistake most people make when starting out is spamming their social communities. Instead of going down this dark road get involved in your local forums and websites instead. This increases the relevance of your site with your signature links pointing to your website.

2. Distinguish Yourself with Google Places
We all want to be found on Google and Google maps and getting listed on Google Places makes this really simple. It's great for people to find your website, address, contact details and a list of your services but it can be hard to rank highly on it. So make sure the information on your listing is accurate, is exactly the same as that on your website and that you place a link to your site.

3: Keep Your WHOIS Updated
SEO experts believe that Google checks to see if your domain name is registered with your business address when ranking for local searches. So sign into your registrar account and update it today.

4. Submit to local Search Engines and Business Directories
Google is not the only player out there. Bing is also a contender and a valuable addition if you use Bing Maps. Also consider local search engines such as Yandex(Russia), Baidu(China) and Kvasir (Norway) if you're in these countries. Local business directories are also becoming more important these days. If you’re in the USA, consider submitting your local business information to these directories

5. Use Google Analytics
This is the best free tool out there at the moment. It takes just two minutes to sign up and add their code then you can start collecting your web traffic data almost instantaneously. The data harvested from this neat little tool includes number of visitors, their duration on your site, where they're located, what site directed them to you and much more.

6. Get Social Buttons
Add a link to your Google and local page in the form of social sharing buttons.Make sure your email and phone number is listed on every page of the footer too. 

7. Webmaster Tools
Identify issues with your website with Google or Bing Webmaster tools. Search engines can have issues finding your website when local searches are made and these tools will tell you if it's so.

8. Go Mobile
Mobile search traffic is going to surpass desktop traffic very soon in the future. This is why you need to optimize your site for mobile use. If your site is slow and difficult to navigate on a phone or tablet, people will switch to your competitor's site.

9. Blogging
Support your site with a blog. Blogging helps your site in three main ways: it sharpens your knowledge of your business, brings in traffic and informs your customers.

10. Google AdWords
Launch a paid traffic campaign with Google by selecting keywords, writing ads and attracting visitors instantly. Set the maximum limit of how much money you want to spend and when your ad is clicked you will pay Google a few cents. If no one clicks you don’t pay. Nifty huh?

11. Get Reviewed
Ask your satisfied customers to write you a review on Yelp or another local directory so that Google understands you are providing good quality services. 

12: Link to Facebook
Don’t forget to link your Facebook page with your blog. Adding the RSS reader application to Facebook will push your blog posts to Facebook automatically. 

13: Multiple Domains
Google checks to see if your domain is relevant to your country so set your geo-targeting with Google’s Webmaster console. 

14. Offline Community
Supporting a charity or participating in events can get you mentioned in local newspapers and other websites.This will increase your relevance and can boost traffic to your site as well.

15. Social Networking
Make your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare accounts seem more trustworthyto Google by getting your friends to like and follow your business for a quickboost.

There you have it! Now get out there and make your local presence known. This guest post is provided by Sameer Panjwani who is the CEO of Maximizer e-Services. You can visit his site DirectoryMaximizer to know more about promoting your local business using their local business directory listing service


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