Thursday, February 21, 2008

Local Search for Small Business Success

The Benefits of Local Search to Bricks and Mortar

Are you optimizing for local search? The value of local search has been discussed within the Internet marketing industry for some time. Yet, like many search engine optimization (SEO) concepts, most small business webmasters and owners don't take full advantage of best practices SEO in their website's design. This includes local search optimization.

What is local search?

Business website owners and webmasters need to insure that their web pages will show up in search results when someone types in the search box their town and product or service. That's what local search is about. Forget the Yellow Pages. With the use of mobile internet devices this concept becomes even more important.

So what do you need to do to get seen and become local? The best way is to put the address or city where the business is located on every webpage within the site. This needs to be done in plain text and not as an illustration or picture. Checking and updating your Google Maps listing is also a good idea. Another local SEO technique would be to add the business location in the alt tags of pictures if appropriate. Local picture searches should not be overlooked.

Local search provides the small business owner with a simple way to receive high rankings for his business when customers are searching for a local listing of his product or service.

If you are a small business owner reading this and you don't have a website for your business the time to act is now. Waiting does hurt you. It takes time to receive high ranking for your keywords in the search results. The clock starts ticking when your website is created.

For basic best practices SEO techniques visit Maximum Exposure SEO .

Your SEO questions and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

SEO Can Save Your Online Small Business

I consider it a given that every online small business should use basic SEO techniques on their website. If it could mean the difference between a 100th page search listing and a top 10 for your keyword phrase why wouldn't you use SEO on each page of your site? But a quick look at web search results will tell you that most small business websites, and their webmasters, don't have a clue what best practices SEO involves.

I have had a custom jewelry website since January 1999. One of the first things I realized is that a webpage needed to be ranked highly in organic search results to receive any customer traffic. The top ten listing for my keyword phrases seemed a worthy goal. That's when I discovered SEO or search engine optimization. It didn't cost a thing! This was free advertising on the web. I learned the SEO basics and changed my web pages to reflect this new found knowledge. It worked!

I have been studying SEO as part of my website's marketing strategy. It is something I truly enjoy almost as much as making custom jewelry for my customers. Since 1999 things have been in a constant state of change for the Internet marketing and SEO industry. New search engines came and went. The search engine algorithms or formulas constantly changed. The hardware keep getting better and better with faster download times.

Today there are three major search engines with Google being the top dog by far. So a small business needs to optimize for Google and let the rest fall where they may. Learn what your keyword phrases are and optimize for them on each webpage. Get as many inbound relevant (non-paid) links that you can with your keyword phrase in the text. Just those two things will increase your organic search ranking and would only cost you some time. It will be time well spent.

If all of this sounds overwhelming, or you don't have time, then get a SEO professional to help you. If they apply generally accepted SEO techniques to your web pages the money you spend will be worth what you receive in return, which is more qualified customers and conversions.

Your comments and questions about SEO are welcome!