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Monday, November 14, 2005

Local Search Should Be Part of Search Engine Optimization

The web may be for the world, but it is also for the customer across the street. Local searches account for much of the business being done on the web, don't ignore it when optimizing your site for the search engines.

Are you ready for local search?
Google's upcoming service Google Base (see news below) shows a clear trend: search engines try to make their search results and ads as targeted as possible.

Search engines want to customize their results for the individual user based on the interests and the local region. It's likely that local search features are going to become more important than it is today.

Why is local search important to your business?
Local search is the most important trend in search marketing. According to latest estimates, 20 percent of all searches are locally oriented. As you probably know, Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines have started their own local search services to attract people who use their PC instead of the yellow pages to find local services.

Research firm The Kelsey Group forecasts that the local search market will be worth $3.4 billion in five years. This is a huge opportunity for all small businesses with an Internet presence.

How do you optimize your web pages for local search?
If you want to be found for local searches, you should include the name of your city and your region in the title tag of your web pages. If possible, include your full postal address in the footer of your web pages so that search engines can assign your web site to a special area.

There are also a variety of new meta tags for local search engines. Add these local tags to your web pages so that search engines can find out the location of the company, the zip code and the city name. For our company we entered the following:

<meta name="city" content="Richmond">
<meta name="state" content="Virginia">
<meta name="country" content="United States (usa)">
<meta name="zipcode" content="23233">

With these tags, local search services can even direct visitors to the exact latitude and longitude of the company location.

The benefits of local search are clear: it allows you to find customers in your area who are willing to purchase from your company. It's a fast growing market with a lot of money.

You should make sure that your web site is optimized for local search so that your business can benefit from this trend.

Reprinted from

If you need help marketing your site on the web, for national and local clients, please contact us at Big Oak


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