In part one we talked about why it's important for every business to be visible in local search engines and Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs). Today, let's talk about one easy way to ensure that every search engine is crystal clear about your geographic location.

Simply add a footer to every page on your site, listing your street address and phone number. Sounds almost too easy, doesn't it? Many sites limit their address and phone information to the Contact Us page only, which doesn't help the site get properly categorized geographically, and also doesn't help the other pages on the site rank organically for locally-oriented searches.

Here's an example. Let's say you make high-end, custom-built doghouses and ship them all over the country. You're based in Memphis, and certainly want to sell to affluent dog owners in Memphis (if nothing else, it'll save on shipping costs). You would add a line of text to the bottom of each page that reads like this:

123 Main Street, Memphis, TN 38116 - (901) 555-1212

What does this do? First, it demonstrates to any crawler-based search engine that you have a real, bricks and mortar location. Many search engines will automatically add your site to their local database once they know where you are.

Second, it can help each web page rank higher organically. Let's say you've optimized the "About Us" page for "fancy doghouses." Hopefully, you've already achieved high rankings for that broad term by following SEO best practices. Now, when someone searches for "fancy doghouses in Memphis," this page has a chance to be found for that more targeted search as well.

Note that Google does seem to prefer that the address and telephone information be on one line, as shown. Of course, you want to ensure that it's pure HTML text, not any type of graphic image that the search engines can't read. Also, if your street address is in a suburb of Memphis - say, Lenox - you can still be found for Memphis. In this case, make your address line look like this:

123 Main Street, Lenox, TN 38116 - in the Memphis metro area - (901) 555-1212

It can be that simple - or if you want to delve even deeper into on-site changes you can make to be found in local search engines and IYPs, check out more comprehensive local SEO tips from Natural Search Blog.

In addition to on-site changes, you can go right to many local sites and enter your data directly, using what's known as a business profile. Tomorrow, we'll talk about what information you need to have on hand in order to fill out these various business profiles. The rest of the week, we'll list the major local search engines, IYPs, business data aggregators and review sites where you can enter your information - again, at no cost.

Postscript: Find the rest of this series...
Part 1: So how do you ensure that your website is found for all these local searchers?
Part 2: One easy on-site change you can make to get your site into local editorial results.
Part 3: What a business profile is for and the data you should compile.
Part 4: How to submit your site to local search engines and review sites.
Part 5: How to submit your site to business data aggregators and Internet Yellow Pages.

November 28, 2006

Stacy Williams, search engine marketing specialist, is founder and President of Prominent Placement, Inc. With an extensive background in Internet marketing, Stacy offers her clients cutting edge solutions that are always rooted in sound marketing strategy. A member of the Technology Alliance of Georgia and the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association, Stacy is a frequent lecturer on search engine optimization and Internet marketing topics.

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