As more and more users today are turning away from the Yellow Pages and opting for internet searches, local search marketing has become vital to the success of any local business. As with any online strategy, this type of local marketing involves two major categories: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). A good SEO strategy is important for achieving organic results in the major search engines, while SEM is more focused on ad driven sales.
Before any SEO or SEM campaign can begin, the person in charge needs to become familiar with the intricacies of the three major search engines. Each has its own unique nuances that need to be catered to in order to produce well-rounded results.
Getting Familiar with Google
Just about everyone on the planet has heard of the search engine giant that is Google. This is where the majority of searches are done within the US. If the marketing manager for a business has limited time for SEO and SEM, this where is he or she should focus their efforts.
Users of the local service know it as Google Maps, but on the business side of things, it is called Google Places. On both ends, it is a very user friendly service. End users just have to enter their location and type in a general term to see results in their area. On the business end, marketing managers and business owners also find it easy to add and update listings.
Google also offers a paid service that will show ads to regional consumers who are searching with relevant keywords. This service is called AdWords. There are many things that can be done from a business perspective with this service, but the most important for a local company is the fact that specific regions can be targeted.
Understanding Yahoo and Bing
Yahoo is the second most popular search engine in the US and has recently merged with Bing. This means that they share the same algorithm to produce organic results, which makes it easier to optimize for both.
Yahoo’s local search is very advanced and user-friendly. When a user lands on his or her regional page, he or she is presented with popular categories and results. With a basic listing on its Local Listings Center, a business can easily add and update its listing, ensuring accurate and informative results for the end user. Bing has a similar local feature, but it takes a slightly different approach with more simplified results.
Both Bing and Yahoo have options for paid searches, where the business will pay each time the end user clicks on their specific advertisement. Either search engine can easily be targeted to a geographic region.