What is Local Search Engine Optimization and Who Are Your Relatives?

What is Local Search Engine Optimization and Who Are Your Relatives?
 by: Kathleen Jerauld-Brack

Your business website is finally up and now comes the task of getting found on the incredibly huge Internet neighborhood.

Where to begin?

Well, the first thing most people do is head for a major search engine like Google, or Yahoo. And while that is a good idea, there is much to learn before laying out those precious dollars on ads and clicks. Most of us become totally confused on the breadth of information we must learn in order to be savvy marketers using the search engines. And, if you are busy running your business 150% of the time, who has the time?

The first rule we all like is 'keep it simple'. So start off modestly and test the waters as you go.

Identify your market. Do your customers come from all over the country, or mostly from nearby areas?

For most brick and mortar businesses on the Internet, your bread and butter still comes from the local neighborhoods and adjoining states.

So try this:

After developing a strong list of keywords related to your specific business, look for other attractions that are geographically near your business as well.

For instance, is there a state park near you? If you sell hiking boots and there is a state park near you, wouldn?t it make sense to target those people looking for the state park? Won?t they need hiking boots? Add some ?state parks in your area? related keywords to your list.

Say you live in Jamestown and you sell fishing gear. Wouldn?t it make sense to take advantage of the presence of some of the other popular things related to the water attractions in your same area? People who are looking for fishing gear also look for boats, boat supplies, life preservers, local marinas and the like.

You won?t need to use really specific keywords like ?The Fish and Bones Marina in Jamestown? for instance, just add something general like ?marinas near Jamestown? in your keyword list. Fishermen (and fisherwomen), who are planning to come to your area to fish, are more likely type in ?marinas in Jamestown? than a specific marina name anyway if they are new to the area. Their results will not only show the marinas in Jamestown, but your fishing gear business as well, under the same keywords. Later, when they need fishing gear, they will already be familiar with your business name. Target more attractions and they will see your name again and again.

If you are a restaurant who depends on the tourist trade, you might want to consider just what other things your potential diner might be in your town for. Consider the attractions in your area. Museums, theme parks, entertainment centers, camping, are all destinations your potential customer might be looking for as well as a place to dine. Include those attractions and local products in your keyword list and expand your visibility exponentially.

Remember, most travelers won?t be looking for your particular business name unless they are already familiar with you. But your business name will pop up again and again whenever they search for those popular attractions near you.

You don?t need to pay big bucks for your search engine results, just brainstorm a little bit and consider all those ?relatives? in your area.

You may also find that some keywords are really expensive, but for the most part you won?t need them. There are plenty of inexpensive and related keywords that will bring you exactly the same results if you use them creatively.

To find more information on how people are using keywords try www.suggestiontool.com, www.wordtracker.com and Google adwords.

And be nice to your relatives.

By Kathleen Jerauld-Brack

This article was posted on April 19, 2005

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