Internet marketing experts say that a significant chunk of web searches contain “local intent.” I’ve found figures ranging from 20 to 40 percent. In other words, lots of people are going to Google looking for products, services, and experiences in their geographical vicinity.
Starfall Graphics’ local-search listing
The big search engines know this, and in their competition to provide the highest-quality search results, they’ve created systems to provide highly relevant results to people searching with local intent. They’ve set up localized directories and made their own sites location-aware. That means that when you visit search engines, they check your IP address to get an idea where you are in order to tailor search results
Like most designers who migrated from print media to the web, I’ve always found it frustrating that the selection of fonts available for use on web sites is limited by what the site visitor has installed on his computer. The 20 or so “browser-safe” font options are a dreary collection of faces that either come preloaded in some form on Mac and Windows computers or get added by various Microsoft product installers. Until fairly recently, if you wanted to display text in beautiful fonts, the best option was to create headlines and other display text as images. But images are roadblocks to effective search engine indexing, so designers have had to learn “image replacement” tricks to preserve searchable text for headings
Getlisted.org is a portal that aggregates several leading local-search sites into one convenient interface. Plug in the name of your business and your ZIP code, and Getlisted.org will check the status of your listings on Google, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, and Best of the Web and give you a score for completeness. It also supplies links you can follow to add your business listing to those sites’ local directories or to edit your existing listings.
You can register with Getlisted.org to get a user account
Local.com is a company that specializes in local search. The company maintains a central site and 700 regional sites aimed at providing users with targeted, relevant local-search results. It provides free directory listings, paid premium listings, paid advertising, product and service reviews, special offers from local businesses, and more. If you’re just starting out in your efforts to build local-search rankings, Local.com is a quick and easy starting point.
To register your business in the directory, start by visiting Local.com and searching for your business
Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you to the workshop:
- Laptop* and power supply
- Software: web browser(s) of choice, e‑mail client of choice. (Or user name and password for a web‑based e‑mail account, if your laptop is not configured for e‑mail access. Some of the resources we’ll be exploring will require verification by e‑mail.)
- User name(s) and password(s) for your own WordPress site(s)
- User names and passwords for your accounts on any or all of the following social-media sites: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
Please give us a call at 713-562-1813 if you have any questions or need help to prepare for the workshop.
*A few computers will be available for participants who don’t have access to a laptop. Please send us e‑mail
to discuss details.
Featured Strategy: Local Search
Revisit Local.com and Getlisted.org to finish creating your free local-search directory listings or to set up new listings for your business.
Plugin: Social Media Widget
The Social Media Widget adds a set of buttons to the sidebar of your WordPress site to allow visitors to connect to you through a variety of social-media sites. Read a full review and tutorial of the Social Media Widget.
If you haven’t already installed and configured the Social Media Widget on your WordPress site, take a look at the tutorial. Install the plugin, add the widget in the desired area of your site, and fill in data for the social-media resources you’re using. Feel free to contact me if you need any help!
Feel free to post your questions, feedback, or suggestions for future workshop topics as comments at the bottom of this page, or using the Comment Wall area at right.
markCTO.com is a business venture of my Starfall Graphics partner, Mark A. Herrera. Mark already had a lifelong passion for consumer electronics before I met him, and then I got him hooked on Apple products about a dozen years ago. Now he’s putting to work his expertise and keen nose for bargains as a consultant, helping clients buy, set up, repair, and maintain Macintosh computers and networks, Mac operating systems, iPhones, storage and backup solutions, home and office audio and video systems, and more.
Web and social-media projects include:
- Web site built in WordPress.
Note the custom-made bullets in bulleted lists!:
- Facebook fan page. New blog posts on the web site are automatically posted to the Facebook page using the Networked Blogs application.
- Twitter account that tweets Mark’s blog updates
- PBworks wiki for internal communications and project management
There’s been a lot of talk in the last couple of years about “free as a business model”—the idea put forth by Chris Anderson in a 2008 Wired magazine cover story that you can build a successful business around a product or service that you give away for free. Bill Gurley presents a nice overview of the development of the idea. One of my favorite books about the Internet economy is What Would Google Do?, in which Jeff Jarvis talks about how Google has exploited the power of free services to make piles of money.
Yesterday I went looking for an image to illustrate a blog post, and I stumbled across an exciting application of “free as a business model” at FreeDigitalPhotos.net. This stock photography site offers web-resolution versions of all of its images for free on one condition: the user must acknowledge the photographer and FreeDigitalPhotos.net