Write Articles Geared to Your Local Market to Bolster Your Local Search Visibility

The Shortest Distance to Your Home Town Enterprise is Over the Internet

Combine two dynamite online methods for bringing your business to the attention of buyers - Local Search and widely posted articles you write. Doing both gives you a jump on your local competition, plus additional credibility and exposure to your market.

Local Search occurs by adding a geographic term is added to a search engine query. Instead of results comprising millions of pages, only businesses within your specific area are included. For example, entering Florists + Boston only returns Boston florists - a small pool of available choices.

Geographic terms can be town, state, region, zip code, etc. Results appear on both a list and map, so the most convenient stand out. Today, nearly 40% of search engine queries ask for Local Search information - with that number increasing rapidly. 70% of buyers go online to conduct research before they buy, even from local merchants. So the impact is considerable.

Articles Deliver Credibility and Links

When you write articles and post them widely to Internet directories and ezines, your knowledge is spread to thousands of readers. Sites displaying your articles link back to your website. That encourages readers to seek you out. Links also increase search engine rankings, which push you higher on the results lists. Capture all the benefits http://www.promotewitharticles.com/benefits.html that come with writing articles.

You're Not Competing Against the Whole World

The widespread assumption dictates shooting to be on first page results if you can (most searchers don't look past the first page). That all depends. If you're competing against every other business and website out there, that's true. And your odds are slim. But you don't need to - only the ones competing for the same customers you are.

Besides, sophisticated search-engine optimization strategies or tracking methods are beyond the needs or skills of most small businesses. There's a danger that SEO demands can easily pull an owner away from their brick-and-mortar priorities.

There's a well-known joke about two men being lost in the wilderness, who come to the attention of a bear. One man stops long enough to put on his running shoes. His friend scoffs, "You really think you can outrun a bear?" He replied, "I only have to outrun you."

When it comes to Local Search, you don't have to outrun all the other enterprises that do what you do. You only have to outrun the ones in your local market. Those likely to show up in the same Local Search results you do.

Consider all the plumbers who could show up in a Local Search for: Plumber + "your town". Visualize three groups:

1. Those who won't appear in the search because they're not listed in the search engine data bases. See if your business is included in those databases at http://www.localsearchresources.com/listed.html

2. Those who appear in the results, but who have done nothing further. They won't show up in all the search results they could have.

3. Those adding specific information for search engines, website visitors, and their local customers: a) enhance their website, b) provide search-engine-relevant information on their pages, c) provide easy-to-find information that Internet users are looking for.

#3 lets you outrun the other guy. Your articles help you to do that, too. Of those who show up in your search results list, how many are likely to have such additional information (and keywords) for the search engines to draw upon? Your information seems more complete and relevant-leap-frogging you to the front.

Adapt Your Articles for Your Neck of the Woods

The usual method for getting better search engine rankings is to post articles widely to article directory sites and ezines interested in your topic. That's how the game's played for e-commerce topics, or products and services with a national reach.

But that's not primarily what you're after as a small business operator. Certainly, you'll benefit from links from other posting sites and links to your website. But you're interested in reaching the people who live in your area. They're the ones you want to read your articles and be moved to come to your place of business. Your priority is to build relationships on the local level.

So also post your articles to websites or portals in your community. They may not have high page rank, but they have access to your local customers. And links among local enterprises help to support each other and the local economy. Aso, print off a stack of your articles for handouts in your storefront.

Write your articles differently. Mention your town in your title or keywords. Make sure your signature file (sig) says your town and state. Use examples that are specific to your town or region. "Choosing roses that can thrive above the tree line." Refer to landmarks or make geographic references that the locals will recognize. The search engines will pick up some of those references, and they'll boost your Local Search prominence.

Learn to Make the Most of Local Search Exposure

The easier you can be found online, the more ways you appear in Local Search results. It's here for the long term, bringing customers to your door who don't respond to your other marketing methods. Articles and Local Search awareness will build on each other, and you'll gain a tangible edge in your local market.

Copyright 2005 Off the Page

--Dr. Lynella Grant An expert in Yellow Page ads and Local Search. Stand out online and offline, so you capture more Internet-savvy buyers for your brick and mortar business. Free resources http://www.localsearchresources.com 719-395-9450

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