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I write a lot about optimizing your website locally. I believe it is the easiest and most beneficial ways of promoting your business online because most of us rely on our local customers and you’re competing with local businesses rather than the rest of the world.
Searching for local businesses on Google you will find at the top of the search results a few businesses listed along with their addresses and maps to their business. (e.g. type in “auto repair alameda” into Google). What you’ll also find in the search results are listings to ‘social networking’ sites. Google seems to be placing more emphasis on these websites lately. (On a side note…you need to be a good searcher to be a great SEO expert.)
Social Networking Sites
- Citysearch: Citysearch was one of the first local networking sites, allowing you to review restaurants and nightclubs. You still can and it’s a great site for retail establishments.
- Yelp: Yelp allows you to write and share reviews of local businesses. At Yelp you cannot add your own business, a reviewer must add your business first. Ask a few of your most satisfied customers to give you a review and then update and promote your business.
- Insider Pages: A lesser known local networking site that resembles Yelp, allows you to add your own business. Just make sure to get some good reviews in there too.
The reason why theses sites work for SEO and why Google likes them is because they’re genuine and most people searching for “auto repair in alameda” are not necessarily looking for one particular shop. They’re looking for many shops and may (and will) do comparison shopping. If you’re business is not within the list to compare, you’re potential customers won’t have a reason to call. Simple as that.
Mike Swartz says, “Check ’em out”.