Google, in particular, has done a lot to enhance local search and you can tell it has been on their minds for years. There's Google Places which really helps with local search and since last year (2011), Google has been giving you results based on where you search from. This only makes sense since the market is flooded with mobile devices like smart phones and tablets (iPads). Service over cellular networks has greatly improved as well (yes, even with AT&T). People are mobile and have learned that they can search for things around where they currently are and get good results.
The begs the question... can your business be found locally?
Here's a good article I found recently with some excerpts:
Most People Rely on Search Engines to Find Local Businesses [Study] (searchenginewatch.com)
Some 60% of adults say they get news and information about local businesses other than restaurants and bars.
You need to market it to every local citation site out there. Sites like Google Place, Yelp, Yellow Pages, City Search, and many other sites will help boost your rankings.
There are 1000s of local Google Places like sites. When you list your information on these sites make sure that you are listing everything exactly the same. Make sure that your address, phone number, and all information is the SAME across the board.
That's good advice. What you need to do is make sure you organize your local business data. Open up a spreadsheet and keep track of every listing you know of and manage. In your spreadsheet, have these fields:
Make sure you review each listing every month or at least every quarter (3 months) to make sure that everything is accurate. You can also check for comments that people leave to make sure that the listings there are favorable (that's why we suggest looking at these every month). You don't want any bad reviews hanging out there unresolved.
It's also a good idea to do a search for your company on Google, Yahoo and Bing. See what shows up and get any inaccurate data cleaned up. Your online branding and reputation matters. Nobody else is going to maintain this but you - the business owner. Local search matters. If you're not paying attention to it, be sure that your competition is. Someone else out there sees the value in spending an hour a month managing their online branding and reputation along with making sure they have listings in Google Places, Yelp and other websites.
If you really want to get ahead, then go the extra mile and start building links. Get listings in local website directories or other web directories out there. Every link helps. Set a goal to build 20-40 links a month. Yes, you will not see the results tomorrow - it will take time (think 3 months) but if you had started this 3-4 months ago, you'd be seeing the results right now. The phone would be ringing more.
We know that most of our clients do not have the time (or maybe expertise) to update their local listings or consistently build links. They need to run their business - not learn how to build websites. We get that. We put out articles like this to help show what's truly involved with running a successful website. It's work. Doing these things take time.
There's often the myth out there that since there are programs people can download to make websites, it must be easy and therefore, it must be inexpensive. For people who think that, we often encourage them to go ahead and do it themselves and see how they do. When 6 months passes and they haven't done anything yet, they'll come back to us and have us get these things off of their to-do list because they haven't been done. Meanwhile, their competition has been fiercely working on their new website and online marketing. Well... at that point, it's too late. It's then a hard, uphill battle. Wouldn't you rather be the one that did something now and be on top of your competition who had put it off?
I don't think we're the cheapest website design company out there. We don't want to be. You get what you pay for. We're experts. Good results aren't cheaply done. When you come to Webstix for one thing, you'll get the help you need plus much more. Our goal is to be your website partner for the long haul. We'll help with updates, new designs, new solutions and search engine optimization (SEO). It all works together. If you want to rank better locally, we're there to help you - each website is different but we can get you there. We've done it for others and we can help you.
Our favorite type of client is the one that gets online marketing. They know how important it is because that's where their customers are. They know that things like great design, great website set up, great copy with calls to action (with multiple entry points) and search engine optimization all work together. They're all in and want to succeed. Sure, we can start with whatever level you're comfortable with - we get that, too, but you're really only going to get out of something what you put into it. You'll just waste money if you only do a little bit.
At Webstix, we're able to work with you however you want. If you want to spend your time running your business and let us take care of all things website related, we're there. Heck, that's why I take my car to a mechanic. If you want a more active role with your website, we can help you by giving you the right tools and pointing you in the right direction. Just give us a call to find out more.