If your business or organization or company has a business that targets customers or clients in specific geographic areas, then local search rocks! Why do I think local search rocks? Because it is one of the quickest ways to enhance your presence online, and you can “lead” your SEO effort by getting listings showing your company’s website near the top of the search engine result pages (SERPS) long before your website ever makes it to the top of the heap.
So what is local search? Local search is getting your website listed with various business directories and mapping sites that specialize in providing local results to people searching for companies that provide various goods and services. Of course, the most notorious (and important) local search tool is Google My Business. Google My Business is a free service that allows you to create an online listing for your company, complete with a link to your website. When you perform a geographic search (i.e., a search that includes a geographic specifier such as “Akron, Ohio”), the local search results show up toward the top to middle of the SERPS along with a map of your business location, hours of operation (if desired), acceptable forms of payment, services offered, etc.
Of course, there’s more to local search than simply slapping together a listing. You need to really think about what you want your company to be found for. This may involve analyzing traffic to your website to see which search terms are most commonly used to direct traffic to your site, and then to compare these search terms with the competition for similar search terms in Google My Business. You may discover that you cannot be competitive (i.e., expect to be displayed) for your highest volume search term, but that there is real opportunity for your second or third highest volume term. This is the term that you should probably go with. Better to be seen for a lower ranked term than to not be found for a higher ranked one. It’s all about trying to aggregate traffic, and local search is a great way to accomplish that.