Local Search Engine Optimization Through Google Places and Yelp

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Today’s competitive global online markets place a huge importance on powerful SEO for organic first page search results. This overwhelming importance now also applies directly to local search engine optimization like never before. If you own and operate a locally operating brick and mortar, the value of showing up for specific search terms within your local area is greater than what has been realized historically.

One of the largest shifts since the beginning of 2011 is the fact that roughly 75% of people looking to purchase goods and services in their local area use a search engine like Google to find what they need. With the development of free platforms like Google places, Google maps, Yelp, and other regional based search networks, it’s not to difficult to see the direct value provided to local businesses who show up in results where their competitors don’t.

When web users search locally they typically include state, city, zip code and even street address in relation to the products or services they need. With the popularity of smart phones incorporating internet access on the rise, it’s more important than ever before to ensure that your local business is listed where local buyers are congregating. What’s more, using Google places and other similar platforms is free which makes it a mystery as to why not every local business out there is employing this into their overall business strategy.

Let’s say, for example, someone has locked themselves out of their apartment and doesn’t have immediate access to a computer, what are their options? Any of us who have a smart phone will immediately use its internet connectivity to search for a “local locksmith” in their surrounding area to get the help they need immediately. If you own a locally operating lock smith business it’s paramount that your listed where someone in this situation is searching. The same applies to searches for restaurants, auto-mechanics, dentists, and all other companies within a certain range.

Using local search has become one of the most valuable and simple ways to gain more leads and clients from simply being listed locally where people are searching. So how do you show up on the first page of local results? This is a question facing all local companies who are looking to build more business.

Using Google Places

Google Places allows businesses to register their company, its products and services, for free. Including information as to location, address, business hours, phone numbers and all other pertinent information that people would find use full makes this simple and effective in its delivery. If you are not listed on the first page of results where your competitors are you are losing out on new clients, it’s that simple.

Using Yelp

Yelp is a powerful marketing medium now used more and more by businesses and individuals alike. Users can get information, write and read reviews, as well as specific driving, walking, or even bus directions to the businesses their searching. This has really become an extremely powerful tool for restaurants this year as more and more users take advantage of having a vast array of information and actual customer reviews on the quality of service, food, costs, and more.

Yelp is also free to use and can provide a great direct value to every company quick enough to use it and start building a fan base over their competitors. When people search for a specific type of food or restaurant in their area, they will see lists of various companies offering what they’re looking for. If they are new or unfamiliar with the area, they tend to simply look at the “stars” and reviews to make the decision as to where they will get their meal. Many restaurants and other businesses have seen huge increases in sales and clients simply from being listed in an area where their competitors are not.

Google Maps

Being listed on Google maps has also become one of the most valuable pieces to proper local search engine optimization. As city and zip code become more widely used in search engines, it’s important to be listed and offer directions right to your place of business. Whether in a city that offers walking directions or the suburbs where driving is the main mode of transportation, people can find your company and specifically how they will there to purchase goods and services that they need.

Whenever optimizing for local search be sure to place importance on the clarity of your goods and services provided as well as offering users clear directions through Google itself. This has become one of the largest shifts to business anyone has seen this decade and continues to grow in importance as more and more businesses compete for the same clients. If you’re not using local search to your advantage, your competition is.

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