No matter what business you are in; you just can’t ignore the presence of local search engines. Many businesses out there, believes that if they are ranking well in global search engines such as Google, yahoo or Bing; they will automatically rank better in local search results. You know what; they couldn’t get any more wrong. First of all local search engines and global search engines works on entirely different levels. Of course there are certain things that overlaps but there are lots of differences also. For example; local search engines looks at various additional factors before recommending a site to the users, such as; reviews from the customers, testimonials from the clients and so on and so forth. In other words; local search engines takes into account the local factors for ranking a website locally. It may be that your website is ranking very well for a specific set of keywords but on local page results the site is nowhere to be seen. If the situation looks familiar to you then let’s try to understand the working and functionality of local search engines because only knowledge can bring us the enlightenment and enable us to use things in a better way.
How they work: First of all, to rank in a local search engine you don’t need a website. Yes, you heard it right. You don’t need a site. Although if you have one that would be hugely beneficially for your business but on the other hand it doesn’t also guarantee that you will rank well in local search results. All you need to have is a business page and a few reviews and testimonials from your customers along with a presence a Google maps to draw all the benefits of the local search engines. If that’s sound too good and simple to be true then let me warn you; it’s not. A local search engines uses various tools and techniques to rank your website or business such as reviews from the customers, customer’s testimonials, citations etc. All of this is in addition to the usual keywords in your website and business page. That’s why it’s even more difficulty to rank in a local search engine result pages, because you have to take care of so many factors. That’s why it’s often advised to take the services of a professional agency. And don’t worry about the incurring expenses just remember that if optimization for the local listings is done properly then the returns are manifolds. On the other hand if something goes wrong the penalties are life-threatening. In fact it can ruin your business and even your whole career. That’s one of the major differences between the global search engines and the local search engines. While the former is beneficial or harmless and there is no way it can lead to the closure of your business or something. On the other hand the local search engines can be quite dangerous. The various tools that they employ to rank you in their local results such testimonials and reviews.
Beware of the Negative publicity: As already said the local search engines uses customer reviews and comments as the deciding factor for ranking your website or business. If you think these to be the harmless and the effective ways used by the search engines then think again. It just takes a single frustrated customer who is dissatisfied with your services to post a negative review on the local search engine and suddenly you become a new bad boy for the whole world. Generally, it’s a chain reaction whenever someone posts a negative review and it also encourages others for doing the same and in a matter of months, if not in days, you are ruined. And what if, your business rival uses this technique to malign your image. Just remember that people can go to any extent, in these days of cut throat competition.
How to deal with negative publicity: That’s why in your strategy for local search results optimization, you should not only considers on building a reputable image by getting positive reviews from your customers but you should also take care of the negative reviews. If it comes from a customer then you can contact him and ask for the reason of his frustration and offer various forms of compensations such refunding his whole amount etc. On the other hand, if there is a business rival behind this then you need to handle it professionally. Take the help of professional search engine optimization and marketing agency that has the required experience in handling these types of situations. Meanwhile, you can use other approaches also; such as asking your loyal customers to provide more proofs of your excellent services and ask them for posting a positive review that mentions the same things that are mentioned in the negative review to nullify the effect of that negative review. These are some of the strategies you can use to deal with the negative publicity.
How to get a solid presence in local search results: Recently Google has introduced a new functionality in its local search results called blended place search. This means that if you have a good website or a good business page on Google places and an accompanying listing on Google maps then Google will rewards you by showing the physical address of your business in the form of snippets. This is very useful in showing the user of local search engine, the directions to your business. There are very high chances that the user would prefer this result to get the services even if it’s not at the top of the listing.
Benefits: While the local search optimization has so many parts and branches that it can often leave you scratching your head rather than making any sense. However if you overcome the initial overwhelming feeling and try to look beyond that then the benefits are tremendous. The plethora of choices it offers to market your business or targeting you customers. If you want to draw all the benefits from the local search listing; you have to think beyond the search engines and you have to make your presence felt in so many other places that are so essential for local marketing. In fact there are some of the techniques that actually boost your ranking in local search results. All of these things are related to each other and all of them are working just toward one big goal and that is, how to provide more visibility to your business and thereby how to bring more and more customers to your website. Some of these places for optimization are Google maps, press releases, local directories, local city search, mobile search etc.
How to get the traffic: if your website rank well for the highly competitive local keywords and you have a solid presence in various local directories and some nationwide directories then you are bound to get a lot of highly targeted traffic. Getting links from the local websites which are relevant to your niche is also a great way to rank well in local search results. Nearly every major search engine out there has a local arm. For instance; Google has the Google places; similarly Bing and yahoo have their own local search engine versions.
Starting off: The marketing is nearly tailor made for you. At the time of sigh up you have to fill a form with the details of your business, your business address, your website and contact numbers etc. While filling these forms, whether they are related to local search engine listings or they are in a local directory; just remember one thing that you should fill the same details everywhere, in order to take any advantage in the listings. You have to write a clean and easy to understand description; which shows your business objective clearly to the users. The description should not only have the required call to action feel to it but it should also contain the required high ROI keywords to help the search engines. Try to use the same description that you used in your website. A proper keyword research is necessary to select the most appropriate keywords for the description. Because this is the most important part of the submission process and greatly influences your search engine ranking and secondly; you have to use this same description everywhere from local search engines to local directories. There are certain other things that matters, to rank well in local search engine results. One of most important of them is the country specific domain name. If you want to get successful with your business locally or nationwide then try to get the country specific domain name for your website. This strategy is found to be very effective for any kind of business that aspires to shine locally. It’s true the most of the businesses these days are trying to focus on local customers. The reason being the low competition and secondly you can always sell the goods at physical location and there is no need for long distance delivery and parcel services. Although the businesses have started to concentrate on the local markets with the hope of low competition but there is no denying the fact that with so many businesses moving to the local markets the competition is in fact increasing at an exponential rate and the survival is tough unless we incorporate some cutting edge techniques and local search engine optimization strategies.