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SEO — The Next Stepping Stone

Becoming visible on the Internet is vital for any business. As search engines get more specialized and new Websites are added every day in nearly every business category, it can be tough for a brick and mortar store offering products or services to a small geographical area to be recognized on the Internet. This is why, for small businesses serving one locality, local search submission is one of the keys to success.

Once you have built your Website, telling the major search engines your site exists can speed up the indexing process and get you listed in results more quickly. For a small local business, though, search engine submission is not enough. The Internet has gotten to the point where it is no longer a proposition of "build it, and they (the customers) will come." The major search engines, while very intelligent, do not in and of themselves target specific geographical areas. This is why local search submission is an important part of the Web marketing campaign for any small business targeting specific vicinity.

According to a comScore & DoubleClick study, more than 1.7 billion local searches were conducted on search engines every month in 2007, a 46% increase from 2006. Local searches are not only frequent, but they more often lead to conversions, as 86% of local searchers follow up with a phone call or store visit, and 61% of that number end up making a purchase.

There are hundreds of local online directories and search engines, and submitting to each one can be a chore. Our Local Search Visibility package helps you connect your business with customers in your area by submitting a business listing, including your Website and physical contact information to over 100 local directories. It includes a keyword intelligence tool to help you select optimal local keywords that can be included in your listing and added to your Website too.

The listing can include useful information about your business:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Brands
  • Business Description
  • Payment Options
  • Hours of Operation

The more information local search engines and directories have about your business, the better the chances are of being found by potential customers.

Once you submit your business listing, it will be published to the Network Solutions® local directory, ThinkLocal®. At the same time, the same information will be submitted to more than 100 search engines and local directories. Local Search Visibility includes access to on-demand tracking and reporting, as well as the ability to make quick changes and updates to your published business information.

Local search submission is a good start, but a complete online marketing campaign requires a lot more work. A full local Web marketing campaign involves making sure that your Website's copy and code are optimized for local search by selecting local keywords that will bring your site to the top of search results when someone is looking for products and services in your geographic area. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO also involves improving your Website's ranking on search engines by obtaining links from other quality Websites to you. These links work like a "vote" for your site, and give it more credibility with search engines.

It is also a good idea to complement your SEO efforts with a Pay Per Click advertising campaign that targets local keywords as well. Your ads will only appear to customers entering local search terms on search engines.

Creating an online video is another way to tell a compelling story about your business. Videos can be created using existing photos of your business or by a professional film crew. You'd be surprised to know how easy and affordable it is to have a professional video for your business. You can use this video on your Website or place it on video sharing sites such as YouTube.com, which is the second most popular Website in the world.

Search engine marketing is a complex and constantly changing world. There are plenty of options available to you, depending on your business goals and budget. Local directory submission is a great way to put your toe in the water and start making your Website work for you.