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Impact of Local Search

Why Universal Search and The Importance of Local Search
Google and other major search engines are performing all of the vertical search services at once and giving blended results in the form of universal search. Blending includes Web Search, Book Search, Images, Local/Maps, News, Video, Blog Search, and Product Search. As all these vertical results are very crucial, local results appear at the top of the golden triangle – the most viewable area on the search results. Most of the time, local results appear as maps, local listings, reviews, etc. The following are some pro-tactics to help you rank high in the local searches.

Ranking Tactics For Local Search
The following are several steps businesses can take to rank higher in the local search results or on top of the golden triangle.

1. Enhance your local business listings on Yahoo, Google, and the MSN Local Business Center – Most of the businesses will have limited information listed on these channels. Claiming and enhancing your listings with more information, pictures, coupons, etc. helps to get more accurate search results.

2. Optimize your pages for local search – Make sure that page names, images, addresses and alts are utilizing local keyword phrases, including city name and state name.

3. Optimize your website content by using Keyword Phrases, including the city and state in the Meta Tags, Image Name, Body Copy, etc.

4. Update your free listings to paid listings on the major Internet Yellow Pages, such as Info USA, superpages, and business.com, etc. Enhanced and accurate IYP listings help businesses gain credibility. Updating your listings by adding features like pictures, bolded text, borders, and logos helps your business to improve conversion and credibility. Remember, the goal is to get noticed by potential customers and do things that enhance your online profile. An enhanced profile will increase your chances of attracting customers to your site.

5. Take advantage of social media, such as photo-sharing sites, review sites, social networks, Wikipedia, etc. Connect with local customers by creating and maintaining a blog, social network profile, and participating in local (city) and niche related groups.

6. Target at least 10 + local business sites to secure listings. The goal is to get links from trusted and relevant sources in your community.

7. Video Search results also show up very high in the organic searches. Sometimes these results are blended with other results. Take advantage of Video Search by creating a search engine optimized video focused on your local city, attractions, activities, etc. Make sure your video is searchable!

8. Interactive Maps and Map Mash Up – Create Interactive Maps and Map mash-ups using Search Engine API’s. Upload your maps by using KLM. Add location, pictures, tags, and comments for your business and other businesses relevant to your customers.

9. Run Geo-targeted PPC Campaigns – Use keyword research tools to find out geo-targeted keyword phrases, including the name of your town, attraction names, and nicknames.

10. Aggressive Link Analysis campaign Using SEO Tools- See which sites are ranking high on the search results for desired keyword phrases. You can use the http://www.linkdiagnosis.com/ tool and analyze which links are considered the most crucial. The goal is to make sure that you are finding, analyzing and securing the most trusted links to your site. These listings can be local CVB listings, education sites, listings on newspapers, or other relevant sources.

These are a few effective steps that businesses can take to ensure higher rankings on local searches and eventually in universal search. No matter what happens, universal search is here to stay and will continue to evolve. It is important to focus on the tools and methods that will help businesses with long term organic results.

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Contributed by: Benu Aggarwal, Milestone Internet Marketing

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