One of the trends that I see happening with the search engines (and especially Google) is giving us more of an opportunity to be found for localized search. We just need to know how to be aware of it, and take full advantage of it. Check out this screen shot when doing a search for something very local like "Orem Preschool" on Google.
The areas that I am pointing at in the arrows is the search phrase, vertical creep, and natural listing. The reason that local search is so huge is it gives companies the ability to have a very targeted top listing without paying for it. As long as they know how to do it. These vertical creep results in this screenshot are most likely caused by these preschool businesses signing up with Google Local. In one of the listings it has helped them attain two rankings for their website on the first page of Google.
If you have a new site and are not as lucky as the old timers (notice the #1 natural listing that I am pointing at) this is a good method to try and be noticed locally.
Local Search is huge no matter where you are at. Let's say you live in California and you are moving to Orem, Utah and are looking for a preschool in Orem. You would not just type in the word "preschool" would you? You are probably going to be typing in "Orem Preschool" or even "Utah Preschool". So if you are not trying to hit the local market then you are missing out on the most major part of your market.
Tips for helping out local search:
- Use major cities/towns in your title tag, description, keywords and content on page.
- In your content (and possible inside your title, description and keywords section) use zip codes.
- Register on all the local directories (free and paid)
- Use your phone number inside your title tag with the area code (specific to your state - hint hint)
- Submit your business to Google Local
- Make sure you create more, and better content with local keywords in it than your competition.
The funny thing about the screenshot above I showed you is that if you do a search for "Utah preschool" you will not see the vertical creep results. What does that mean? It means the more local you can get the more targeted your visitors will be and it shows that Google is truly interested in the most specific local search possible.
The bottom line here is remembering, and identifying your target market and taking advantage of every avenue of potential business.
I would love to hear any feedback, or success from others when it comes to local search. Or perhaps touch upon something I may have missed.