Local Search – 8 Tips to Get Your Business Found Online

My latest column is up, at Inc Technology. This article is about the evolving area of local search.

Local search simply means the ability of online searchers to find a local business, or a business in a particular geographical area. As I note in the article:

Some small business owners don’t see the value of online advertising because they aren’t interested in attracting website visitors worldwide. Local search changes all that.

Studies show that the majority of small businesses draw customers from within a 50-mile radius. The good news is that a variety of tools make it easier for your business to be found by people searching for local businesses. And the tools are getting more precise and more intelligent as the search engine companies invest in local search technology.

For this column I had the pleasure of interviewing Bill Slawski, President of SEO by the Sea (and someone I’ve run into online for several years now).

With Bill’s expert input I was able to distill 8 practical tips to make sure that when people search online for a business in your local area, it is YOUR business that they find.

Bill has been following closely the evolution and growth of local search. He even reads search patents to detect small nuances in how the search engines treat certain types of Web pages and their content.

Read the Inc Technology column: “Local Search — How do I Use it for My Business?”


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

11 Reactions
  1. These are good tips. One more very important tip is to get listed in the various internet yellow pages. Not just Google, but yahoo, super pages, judys book, yelp, local.com, truelocal.com etc.

  2. Good point, Mike. Those are all good places to check.

    And I would add this too: not only should you make sure your business is listed in those places, but make sure the information is correct.


  3. The focus now on the local search advertising is changing the face of SEO and PPC. It is turning on the tap to the all city brand name dot coms. They stand to become the sleeping giant of Local Search. It can be http://www.lasvegas.com.lasvegas.com, http://www.paris.com.paris.com or http://www.palmdesert.com.palmdesert.com each brand name dot com if develped correctly can be the bulls eye for local search.

  4. If you own a restaurant or specialty supermarket, Yelp.com can be good, but it’s also good for your afficionados to list you on Chowhound. I recently moved to LA and at first I couldn’t find fresh turmeric root, which I use to make tasty curries. Finally on Chowhound I found a great Indian market in Culver City where I could buy fresh turmeric, and then I also got a recommendation for a wonderful Indonesian restaurant called Simpang Cafe through Chowhound recommendations.

  5. It was a pleasure getting a chance to talk with you, Anita.

    I agree with Mike, Art, and Shara that there are a lot of nice business directory and review sites online that are worth being included within.

    Google announced a change to the way that their OneBox results look a couple of days ago, and it may make being included in their local search even more important. For folks who don’t know what I mean by OneBox results, they are results from one of Google’s other search indexes that are sometimes displayed above web searches – such as news article links, or images, or local search results.

  6. Dear Anita,
    This is my first visit to your site, and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this article. An excellent primer. I came here by way of Bill Slawski’s blog, and I’m so glad to have found this resource – it looks full of wonderful information, and I’ll be visiting again soon.
    Kind Regards,

  7. Bill, thanks for the update on Google OneBox. I will be sure to check that out, also.

    And, of course, thank you for all your help on the article. Your expert insights were unparalleled — could not have done it without you.

    Everything you shared was highly practical advice for business owners (and their webmasters) trying to figure out how to get found online by searchers from their local communities.


  8. Small business firms do not have the resources like large business one that can provide advertisements on television and place large billboards in all the major cities around the world. Internet is a very effective tool and if used properly it can do miracles. You have come up with some nice strategies. Also Mike and Art have given some good suggestions.

  9. Another great place to get listed is Citysearch.com
    Most businesses, however, just have a basic listing with the address and phone number.

    As a consumer, I often look to Citysearch for information about companies. A link to a web site as well as a more detailed description about services posted on Citysearch is definetly beneficial if you want to advertise locally.

  10. Hi all, There is a lot of great information here. Local Search is the best way for businesses of all types to get found. Search Engines are starting to incorporate more of these results in the regular SERP’s. For information on Local Search please download a free white paper here: http://www.blizzardinternet.com/whitepapers/whitepaper_form.htm

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