As appeared in the Presence Pointers column of the July 2007 issue of “Business Watch” magazine.
The World Wide Web has brought the world closer together over the last decade. It has connected us to people, groups, businesses, products, entertainment and ideas. It has created new jobs, businesses, industries, and enabled the largest marketplace ever. Amazingly, for many businesses, the greatest impact is yet to come.
Perhaps all this talk of “world wide” hasn’t been a huge selling point for you. If your market is measured in blocks, square miles or even counties, the potential for the “world” to find you may not call for fanfare. Well, dig out your noise-makers and let’s get ready to party.
One of the biggest, most important growth areas of the web is happening right here… here being relative to where you are. The new frontier of the web is local search, and it’s not-so-distant cousin, mobile search. People have learned they can find local coffee shops, learn about their products, check prices, figure out which ones have free wireless access, determine hours open and get a map to the location just by doing a little searching online… all in about the time it takes to actually say your order at said coffee shop. This of course, isn’t limited to coffee shops though.
What does this mean for you? If you’ve been holding off on your web presence, waiting to see if this whole “Internet thing” is going to stick or not, it’s time to get moving. Already have a website? Don’t be so quick with the high-fives. Many websites fall short when it comes to delivering the goods.
The fact that people are searching more and more for products, services and businesses within their local area, or an area they are planning to be in, is huge for business. Being found for local searches connects you directly with potential customers. For many searchers though, if you aren’t on the web, you don’t exist.
10 Important But Easy Local Web Presence Steps
- Make sure your address is easily found on your website, ideally in the footer of every page. At the very least, include your city and state.
- Make sure your phone number is easy to find.
- Include your hours of operation if you are open to the public.
- Provide a contact form and/or an email address (but use encoding or other methods to obfuscate your email unless you like spam).
- Where relevant and appropriate, include information about or mention your city, neighborhood or state within your web pages.
- Add a map to your location or locations if customers or clients will be coming to you.
- Make sure you include your URL in all marketing materials and advertising.
- Be sure your URL is listed in any online yellow page directories.
- Be sure your URL is listed in any online local or trade directories, including chamber of commerce and any websites listing local businesses.
- Get listed in local.google.com and local.yahoo.com.