Increasingly, your customers find you first on the internet and then visit your store in real life. Besides general SEO to be sure they can find your web site, it’s vital your business shows up on search engine maps.
When people search the internet for local businesses and put a city or place name with a search term, they’ll see a map at the top of the list. It will show local businesses and link to their web site. If you click on the map it will take you to a Google Maps search.
Try it out. Do a Google search for a local restaurant by typing in something like “Denver pizza joint” and you’ll see local listings on Google Maps first on the list. It will also show reviews, give a link and other information about the business.
It’s vital that your business is listed so it shows up on maps like like Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, and MSN Local. But optimizing your web site for local customers is a little different than regular SEO.
To improve your chances of getting your site on Google Map’s (local) search, get a Google account at the Google Local Business Center. If you register your business correctly with keywords, it will come up for relevant keyword phrases when people search for businesses like yours.
And remember: people aren’t just finding your business from their computers at home. More and more they are using a mobile, handheld device or GPS. Read more about mobile Google Maps or enlist OrangeSoda to help.
Whether they are locals or tourists visiting from out of town, people are searching for a place to eat tonight on their iPhone, Blackberry or cell phone. They searching for other businesses too. So if you own a restaurant or another local business, you should do everything to be sure they find you.