#1 Way People Find Local Businesses? Search Engines!

Forget all of the marketing advice you’ve heard about how you have to be on social networks! While they are important ways to build relationships online, you must not forget the basics!

The number one complaint I hear from small business owners is that they feel overwhelmed by social media. They are trying to learn Twitter, Facebook, and other sites. They want to know if they should be on all or just one of these sites.

However, most of the local businesses web sites I’ve seen tell another story. I look at their title tags, the information and keywords on their site, the number of links they have, their anchor text. It’s clear that they need to focus on the basics.

Social media can be an overnight success (like the Will it Blend campaign) but it’s incredibly time consuming to do well (and/or expensive). It’s usually the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

With billions of web sites and more added every second, how will your customers find your site? Where does your web site come up when people type in words relating to your product or service? Your customers are going to a search engine, typing in words, and clicking on one of the first ten results that come up. If you’re not there, they’ll find your competitor.

People don’t necessarily know the name of a business and it’s easy to rank for your brand names (or it should be or usually is). Instead, they type in words like “Salt Lake City Internet Marketing company” or “blog designer, Seattle WA” or “Keizer OR laser hair removal”.

Ways people find local businesses online:
According to a survey from Comscore and TMP Directional Marketing, found at http://www.tmpdm.com/ourwork/whitepapers.asp, this is how people find local businesses online:

  • 31% use a search engine
  • 19% Use Internet directories – often just to find a phone number. (SuperPages.com, DexKnows.com, etc.)
  • 11% Look at local search sites like Google Local, Google Maps, or Yahoo Yellowpages, or Yahoo Local (usually to get driving directions).
  • 1% Use social media sites

Tips: Start with search engine optimization so when people are searching for a product or service that you sell, your business comes up high in the search results. Focus on local markets that you service where there is less competition. This is OrangeSoda’s specialty.

Be sure your web site gives the details people often look for… “details such as the business name, phone number, address, hours of operation, specials, promotions, products carried, payment types accepted etc.” Be sure the basic details are on every page “above the fold.”

Comments


Stephen

Excellent post. Its crazy to me that more small biz have not awakened to the possiblity of local search. Maybe the deteriorating of the economy will accelerate the migration into local digital mediums but small and medium biz.

Janet Johnson

I agree with you that most businesses should start with the basics of optimizing their sites.

However, I do think there are good opportunities to leverage tools like Twitter and Smub to raise awareness locally for businesses.

And there’s no better way to pump organic search results than a well-crafted blog. The thing about all of these social media tools are that the tools are free, but the time it takes to do it isn’t.

Small businesses can leverage social media at a time when we’re trying to preserve jobs, but to minimize cash outlays on marketing programs and promotions. As such, they can continue to market themselves when others have stopped, and that can have a big impact both during recessionary times AND when the economy eventually turns for the better.

Peter Caputa

This is exactly right. Keyword research is the critical first step of all online marketing. It’s ridiculous how many small businesses spend half their day on linkedin, and never do the basics of SEO.

Nick Stamoulis

Many local business owners still have a hard time taking their businesses online. I think local search will def. get even more intense as more and more people carry iPhones and Google phones and any other device that allows you to have internet access on the go.

Russell

Local search is about to get way more complex.
There are over 20 sites with a significant amount of traffic and local businesses cannot afford to ignore local search directories like click2connect.com

Comments are closed.