A recently completed research study by WebVisible and Nielsen's revealed some important statistics concerning the use of the Internet for local search.
63% of consumers use the Internet first when looking for local products.
82% use search engines to to find local websites.
Consumers currently use search engines 72% more than they did two years ago.
What does this mean for you? It means that while you may cater to clients and customers around the globe, you should make sure not to miss the folks in your own backyard.
Here are some things you can do to bolster your ranking for local search returns:
Make sure that the "<title>" tag includes the city name of where your business is based.
Include the city name in the "description" meta tag.
Include the city name in the "keywords" meta tag.
Include the city name as much possible in the content of your pages. Search Engines like keyword density (as long as it's not obviously overkill).
Take the time to confirm that your business is listed in the yellow pages and other similar directories with the complete address (including city) of your business. This is important, because Google - for example - uses your official address when compiling its "local business results" which appear at the top of a search results page just below any sponsored links.
Appeal to Search Engines by keeping your site clean and easy to use.
Here are some simple website to-dos that make your business more accessible to local visitors.
Make sure your site provides clear directions to your place of business.
Provide an easy-to-find and easy-to-use map.
Don't have your contact info buried within your site.
Additionally, you may want to consider taking steps to improve your presence locally:
Join local business organizations, and ask them to include you in their print materials and link to your website from their website.
Donate to local charities, and ask if they can acknowledge your donation in their print materials and on their website.
Sponsor local events, and be sure to have the event organizers include your website address in all promotional materials.
Then promote your local involvement on your website - tell people about the charities you support, the events you sponsor, the organizations that you're a member of, etc.