Actually, this isn't between white or black hat search marketing. It's between SEM and flat-out marketing. When it comes to local search, it winds up I'll set aside my SEM hat and trade it in for that regular ol' marketing hat. During the summer, I'll settle for any hat. I burn too easy! But I'm digressing.
When it comes to local search and search engine marketing, the difference between the two lies at the core. Search engine marketing drives targeted traffic to a Web site while local search marketing literally "drives" people to a physical business.
In local search, I'll try to think of things like "is the business accessible from freeways and public transit", "how can I entice satisfied customers to write online reviews" and "would being open on weekends help users who search online"? These users are often further along in the buying cycle.
Within the last few months, you may have noticed Google’s more prevalent local "one-box" results. These are separate from the natural listings and are independent from each other. This is good news! There’s always a possibility that your business could get listed in the local one-box, natural, and even paid results – all on the same page. That’s a lot of real estate!
Google "one-box" example
Just like in optimization, there’s no magic wand that lands you into the top listings. In the local listings, items that do factor in are physical location, accurate information in aggregate businesses listings, compelling business profiles, third party online reviews, local organization affiliations (BBB, Chamber of Commerce), and more.
In November-December 2006, Stacy Williams from Prominent Placement gave a great five-part series on how to use local search to promote your business locally. If you’re new to local search, the pieces are definitely a good read, twice.
Paul Jahn is the owner of Localmn Interactive Marketing, a Minnesota-based Internet marketing company. Localmn focuses on helping local companies large and small leverage the most out of their search marketing campaigns depending on their respective needs, including SEO, PPC, local search, and social media campaigns. Paul also runs and contributes to the Localmn local search blog.
With over ten years of Internet marketing experience, Paul has particular expertise in search marketing, with extensive knowledge of local search.
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