What Is Local Search, and Why Should You Care?

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

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 to you.

If your business offers a service that’s limited by geographical range, or if you’d prefer working with clients in your area, you need to get yourself found in local searches. One way to rank high in local searches is to include some geographical terms among the keywords and keyphrases encoded in your web site. Refer to yourself frequently in your content and meta tags as a “Houston web designer” or a “Texas writer.”

Another way to make your way up the search engine rankings is to register yourself with local-search directories. At the July 23 Community & Conversation workshop, we introduced two good resources for local search: Local.com and Getlisted.org.

Are you using local search resources to promote your business? How it is working? Let us know in the comments area.

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